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Red Cup adds a new staff member who is Mississippi made

You gotta have thick skin to be one of the Ole Miss faithful

I’m the new guy in this virtual town, so I thought I should introduce myself.

I’m John Macon Gillespie, originally from Vardaman, Miss. — the Sweet Potato Capital of the World (so we say). I still moonlight as Vardaman High School’s football public address announcer on Friday nights, a post I’ve held since my junior year of high school, and even though my hometown is unbelievably small, I never shy away from where I grew up. I graduated from VHS in 2016 and finished my undergrad in journalism at Ole Miss last May. I’m currently enrolled in the journalism master’s program at Ole Miss as well because FOUR YEARS WASN’T ENOUGH TIME TO GET THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN OXFORD OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

I’m also the sports writer at the Calhoun County Journal in Bruce, Miss., and do some writing for another Ole Miss related site, so if content is what you need, by God I’ve got it.

I grew up infatuated with Ole Miss. My parents graduated from the university, so it’s kind of in my blood. Growing up an hour south of Oxford helped too as did becoming a football fan during the Eli Manning years on campus. The earliest football season my tiny brain can remember is 2003 when Manning and current-Duke-legend David Cutcliffe made it to the Cotton Bowl and knocked off Oklahoma State in the first of like 1,000 meetings between the two schools in bowl games over the last decade and a half. Still in that season, Ole Miss lost to Memphis, Texas Tech and LSU (pain you can’t drink away), which should have given me an indication of what was to come in my Ole Miss fandom. Eli didn’t win the Heisman and left for a Hall of Fame NFL career, and then everything blew up in flames at least from my perspective.

End of Cutcliffe, Ed O, Houston Nutt, Hugh Freeze, Matt Luke and Lane Kiffin are all things that have happened and have taken years off my life in the process. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything (editors note: yeah, I’d trade it for at least like an SEC championship but you do you JMG).

I guess that’s why I’m at Red Cup now. One, I’m thrilled because I love the #brand these guys have produced over the years, but I’m also excited to just get to write for a community that enjoys Ole Miss and Oxford as much as I do and has been through just as much if not more pain as I have. Even through the pain, Ole Miss is a special place, and I think that’s why we all stick around. It’s fun to write about and has produced some great minds in the past. Just ask William Faulkner (if you decide to visit his grave and take a shot there or something). Having been through J-school, I have typically played my writing “by the book,” so to speak, but I’m excited to let my creative juices flow through the veins of the Red Cup community.

Hopefully you guys will enjoy what I bring to the table, and hopefully we can have some fun.