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The Ole Miss 'Mic Man'

Marcus Guinn fires up the home crowd at Ole Miss.
Uri Berliner, NPR /
Marcus Guinn fires up the home crowd at Ole Miss.

Fri., Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m.
Scruggs Hall music practice room, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.

In 2003, the University of Mississippi retired its mascot, Colonel Reb, an old man — "a Southern gentleman" — with a droopy white mustache. The official reason: He was outdated. Translation: the colonel evoked Mississippi's Confederate past, and it was time to move on. Colonel Reb has never been replaced; some of the most retro Ole Miss fans are still hoping he'll return one day.

Marcus Guinn tells people that he's not the new mascot. But if you're looking for the individual on the field who fires up the home crowd, it's Guinn. And he could not be more different than Colonel Reb. He's African-American, 6 foot 7 — even taller when he combs out his Afro on game days. That's when you'll find him at the south end of the stadium doing what he calls his "mic man" routine. He plugs in a microphone to lead cheers. He jumps around, talks to kids, rags on opposing players.

Guinn played bass drum in the Ole Miss marching band, and he plays tenor sax in the school's jazz band. But he's known around campus for his "mic man" routine.

"Entertainment is a part of a football game," he says. In recognition, a spirit award scholarship at Ole Miss has been established in Marcus Guinn's name.

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