Bobby Pope

Bobby Pope: Tommy Mixon did it all at Mercer

Tommy Mixon played his final basketball game at Mercer more than 60 years ago, but if you check the program record book, you will still find his name prominently mentioned.

"Tommy Gun," as he was known back in his playing days, holds the record for most points in a single game with 47 against Millsaps on Feb. 19, 1955. That was the same game when he made 21 free throws, and that also is still best for the program. In addition, his 25.7-point scoring average that season has never been topped. He also scored 35 points against Georgia in Athens. After his senior season, he was selected as one of the top five collegiate players in the state by the Atlanta Journal.

Mixon is a legend at Mercer where his No. 7 jersey was retired in 1955. He captained both the basketball and baseball teams his senior season and was named the school's outstanding athlete his final year. He is the third all-time leading scorer in Mercer basketball history with 1,801 points, without benefit of the 3-point shot. Mixon's record stood for 20 years until it was broken by future NBA player Sam Mitchell, who had 1,986 points. Mitchell's mark was eclipsed by James Florence, who finished his career with 2,286. As a Mercer baseball player, Mixon hit .392 as a senior.

Following his senior season at Mercer, Mixon signed professional contracts with both the World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers and the NBA champion Fort Wayne Pistons. He played baseball in the Dodgers organization for two seasons before a shoulder injury forced his retirement. He also spent two seasons with the Pistons-owned Detroit Vagabonds touring professional basketball team.

He later played for and coached the Macon's Cheshire Cats, an AAU basketball team.

Prior to enrolling at Mercer, Mixon led Lanier to a state basketball championship in 1951. He captained the Poets' basketball squad and also was the winning South team captain in the state all-star game played at Georgia Tech.

Following his playing career, Mixon continued to work in athletics. He coached football, basketball, baseball, golf and tennis at Willingham, Lanier and Central for 14 years while working part time as a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. From 1974 until his retirement in 1999, he worked full time for the Dodgers as a territory scout, professional scout and national supervisor of scouting.

Even after retiring from the Dodgers, Mixon continued to be involved in sports. He originated the Youth for Christ basketball program at Vineville United Methodist Church in 2000 that went from 24 players in its first year of operation to 260 in its 10th season. In 2006, he originated the concept for the Mercer Athletic Foundation, and with the support of fellow alumnus Jimmy Carnes, who made a generous gift to jumpstart the idea, it became the fundraising arm for the school's athletics program.

Mixon is a member of the Georgia, Mercer and Macon sports halls of fame. He was inducted into the Mercer hall in 1974, the Georgia hall in 1992 and the Macon hall in 2001.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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