MVSU Announces Second Annual Trailblazers Gala Honorees

August 31, 2017

ITTA BENA, Miss. – Mississippi Valley State University's Department of Athletics will host the second annual Trailblazers Gala from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15. This year’s celebration will honor three Mississippi legends in Archie “Gunslinger” Cooley, Willie “Satellite” Totten and Jerry “World” Rice. The program will take place in the R.W. Harrison Complex and is a black-tie event. Tickets are $55 and tables are $400. Please RSVP by Sept. 12 to the athletics department at 662-254-3550.

 The purpose of the Gala is to honor those who paved the way for the current MVSU administration and student-athletes. This year’s honorees are no strangers to “The Valley.” They served the university with athletic exploits; from coaching on the sideline to setting records on the field.

Archie Cooley was born in Sumrall, Mississippi and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, where he attended Oak Park High School. He played college football at Jackson State University under John Merritt. Cooley graduated in 1962.

Coach Cooley’s success at Mississippi Valley State is attributed to the design of his innovative "Satellite Express" passing offense, which was a no huddle offense featuring five wide receivers. Cooley led the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils to their only Division I-AA playoff appearance in 1984. The 1984 Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils football team set different passing, receiving, and scoring records that featured Jerry Rice and quarterback Willie Totten. To this day, Cooley is the winningest coach in the history of the Delta Devil football program. He also served as an associate professor of physical education at Mississippi Valley State.

Willie Totten was born in North Carrollton, Mississippi. A 1986 graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, the former standout quarterback- who is partially credited with bringing Mississippi Valley into the national spotlight – continues to strive to return the Delta Devils to the “Golden Age”, an age when he earned the nickname “Satellite” by passing himself and MVSU into the NCAA national books while embedding their feats into the hearts of the Valley faithful.

Born in Crawford, Mississippi, Jerry Rice did not start playing football until he was a sophomore in high school. Despite becoming an All-State player, Rice was not recruited by many major college football programs and attended Mississippi Valley State University, a Division I-AA school, from 1981-1984. Rice finished the 1983 season with a I-AA record 102 catches and 1,450 yards, with a record 24 catches and 279 yards coming in one game. As a senior in 1984, Jerry Rice broke his own Division I-AA records for receptions (112) and receiving yards (1,845). His 27 touchdown receptions in that 1984 season set the NCAA mark for all divisions.

For more information on reservations, please contact the Department of Athletics at (662) 254-3550 or