As an attorney, husband and father, former naval intelligence officer, and founding member of the Ole Miss rugby alumni organization James “Doc” Halliday is redefining what it means to be a “good Ole Boy.”
If you ask Halliday what he most remembers from his glory days at Ole Miss, get ready to hear about rugby. In the early 80’s as a member of the Ole Miss Rugby team Halliday helped establish the sports popularity and increased university and fan-based support. A tradition steeped in the heritage of its European origins, this dynamic contact sport provided Halliday and his teammates with continuous antics and action both on and off the field.
A nickname is something all rugby players are afforded by their teammates. Between his bold playing style and a name reminiscent of a famous gunslinger, the nickname “Doc” was only fitting.
Of the many customs associated with Rugby, Halliday recalls his most memorable to be the post game festivities.
“After the game the home team always hosted a party for the visiting team. There was a lot of camaraderie and getting to know the other players off the field,” he says. “It was part of the sportsmanship of rugby.”
Years later Halliday was a founding member of the “Ole Boys”, an alumni organization dedicated to supporting the current rugby team.
Thrilled with the support of the university, Halliday has watched as the enthusiasm and popularity surrounding Ole Miss rugby continue to grow.
“Support from the chancellor, university, and alumni as well as the dedication of time and energy make any program at The University of Mississippi work, and that is what has happened with Rugby,” he says.
While at Ole Miss Halliday was a member of the Navy ROTC, Kappa Sigma fraternity, and various honorary societies. Since graduating in 1977 with a BA concentrated in English, History and Naval Science, and again in 1983 with a JD from the UM School of Law, Halliday went on to become an intelligence officer specializing in special warfare and counter terrorist security.
Halliday and his wife Ginger Walton (BS 87), an alumna of Phi Mu sorority, currently make their home in Gulfport where he now practices law. They have two children Katherine, 12 and Bailey, 5.
A lifelong resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Halliday and his family were devastated by the events surrounding hurricane Katrina.
“The home I grew up in, every house I ever played in, lived in or owned was destroyed,” he says. “We are all just busy rebuilding.”
The Halliday’s current home was not damaged too badly though and quickly became the “Halliday Hotel” to family and friends in need.