Arnett "Ace" Mumford Selected as 2006 Trailblazer Award Recipient
Arnett “Ace” Mumford, longtime Southern University head football coach, has been named the American Football Coaches Association’s recipient of the 2006 Trailblazer Award. The award will be presented posthumously to Mumford at the AFCA Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, January 8 at the 2007 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
The Trailblazer Award was created as a way for the AFCA to honor a significant minority coach from a historically black college or university who had a profound impact on his institution, the coaching profession, student-athletes and the game of football. For a five-year period, the Trailblazer Award will be given to an individual who coached in a certain decade. This year’s winner coached from 1940 to 1949. The five-year cycle ends in 2009 with a winner coming from the 1960-1969 decade. In 2010, the cycle will start over with the 1920-1929 decade.
“I think the AFCA Trailblazer Award is an outstanding honor that is going to a very deserving individual in Arnett “Ace” Mumford,” Southern University head coach Pete Richardson said. “Coach Mumford set the standard for Southern University for many years. He is a legend, not just at Southern, but the entire state of Louisiana. Coach Mumford’s impact was the high standards he set for all his teams. He helped every student-athlete he ever coached by making sure they understood their role as a student-athlete at Southern, and made sure they reaped some of the benefits of their education after graduation.”
Mumford began his coaching career in 1924 at Jarvis Christian (Texas) College. After spending three years at Jarvis Christian, Mumford made stops at Bishop (Texas) College (1927-29) and Texas College (1931-35) before he began a 25-year career at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. At Southern is where Mumford made his name coaching football. He led the Jaguars to a 169-57-14 overall record during that 25-year span and won or tied for 11 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships and five Black College national titles (1948, 1949, 1950, 1954 and 1960). Mumford’s overall record at Jarvis Christian, Bishop, Texas College and Southern was 235-82-25, a winning percentage of over 70 percent. He won his first Black College national championship in 1935 while at Texas College.
For the decade of 1940-1949, Mumford led Southern to a 67-16-6 record with five SWAC championships and back-to-back Black College national titles in 1948 and 1949. He is the winningest coach in Southern history and the Jaguars’ football stadium now bears his name. From 1947 to 1950, Mumford guided Southern to a 42-0-3 mark, winning three of his six national titles and four SWAC championships.
Known as a strict disciplinarian and perfectionist, Mumford coached for 36 years utilizing innovative coaching styles and techniques that were way ahead of his time. He produced 35 All-Americans at Southern, but it was his concern for educating his players and preparing them for life after football that made him liked by so many.
Mumford was inducted into the Southern University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 1992, the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 2001, and is also a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Mumford died of a heart attack in 1962 at the age of 64.