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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Memorable Red Mitchum

With the Georgia-Florida game on the horizon, Red Mitchum came to mind. He remains one of the funniest men I’ve ever met.

Mitchum played football for Florida during the “Golden Era” (which really wasn’t golden) and later used his personality and humor to become a sought-after speaker. He regularly worked the quarterback club circuit, using his down-home delivery to spin tales that made audiences roar.

One of my favorites was his recollection of the Gators going to their first bowl game after the 1952 season — the year after he graduated. Years later at a reunion of that Gator Bowl team, Mitchum was asked to speak, and according to Mitchum, he received a small plaque with a football helmet on it. The inscription read: “Red Mitchum contributed more to that Gator Bowl team by graduating than J. “Pappa” Hall, who was voted Most Valuable Player in the game.”

Mitchum noted he was named the Gators’ starting offensive tackle and upon noticing that fact, Angus Williams–the team’s starting quarterback and Sara’s Mulder’s father as you Tampa people know, asked to be moved to defense. And for good reason. Mitchum took credit for inventing the “lookout block.”  He’d miss his block and yell look out!”

Finally, I can’t remember what team the Gators were playing, but Mitchum said they were losing a lopsided game and getting stomped physically. At one point he returned to the huddle and suggested to his teammates: “Let’s go to the line and tell them something really ugly, even if we have to take it back.”

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