Ovie Mughelli, a four-year letterman, was a member of the Wake Forest football team from 1998 to 2002. As a fullback, he made 35 career starts for the Demon Deacons with 530 career rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 137 carries. During his senior season, he scored 12 touchdowns and still ranks sixth in program history. He was a member of the 1999 Aloha Bowl team and 2002 Seattle Bowl team. After graduating from Wake Forest he was a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens and spent nine years in the NFL playing for the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons.
When did you graduate from Wake Forest?
What was your major and/or minor?
Majored in Health and Exercise Science
What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
Being a Deac means that I get to hold my head up high whenever people ask me where I went to college because it’s one of the top academic institutions in the country. From the athletics side, being a Deac also gives me pride because being a smaller school and a program not known for football, it seemed like I always had something to prove. And while I was at Wake, we proved it, upsetting team after team. I feel like going to Wake made me stronger and added to my character. Also, having the privilege to be coached by Jim Caldwell and Jim Grobe made me better as a football player and person. Everything from the campus to the professors to the students was first class and made my time as a Deac special.
Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
I remember having several past Wake football players come back and talk to the team and give us words of encouragement as well as help us steer clear of mistakes they made while they were student-athletes. Their words helped me maximize my time at Wake and realize the opportunity before me. I want to do the same for the current crop of student-athletes. You are always told at Wake that this school will give you the tools to accomplish great things but when you see the end product of it through alumni student-athletes coming back and speaking on their experiences, it makes that goal even more attainable. I just enjoy showing the world that just because Wake is a small school, its athletes don’t think small or play small, and I love helping that fire that our athletes have continue to burn.
Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
Giving back to the University is the only way to keep the tradition of great Wake athletics alive. Wake gave so much to me, and it’s only right that I return the favor. Whether it’s with your time or talents, there is always a way to support your school, and I want to do so. Plus, just knowing that you can positively impact a student-athlete’s life through your words or actions is important enough to take the time to give back. As athletes we don’t always see what goes on behind the scenes that helps us do what we do. But there are so many people in so many areas that are essential to our success. I feel like it’s important for everyone to play his or her part.
What is your current occupation?
I am a studio analyst for FOX Sports South ACC Gridiron Live. I’m also a color analyst with Raycom for ACC games and a radio host for 680 The Fan in Atlanta. Finally, I’m a professional speaker.
What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
It’s easily my redshirt freshman year when we beat Georgia Tech to go to the Aloha Bowl. It was something out of a movie. We had to beat Duke (which was horrible at the time) or top-ranked Georgia Tech. Somehow we ended up losing to Duke, so how the heck could we beat Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Hamilton and Georgia Tech? Being the only freshman starting on offense, all I wanted to do was to not be the reason we lost. Instead, I was a part of the reason we won when Morgan Kane, the offensive line and myself held the ball in the fourth quarter by running almost every play. While watching the goal posts get torn down and the fans rush the field, all I could think was ‘THIS is what college football is all about’.
What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
I am proud of the academic excellence that comes with the letters WFU. I’m most proud that Wake doesn’t cut corners like other places and allows its athletes to get the full benefit of a Wake Forest education, which I feel is one of the best in the world. Even though I played almost 10 years in the NFL, it’s my Wake education that will help me truly succeed at life.
When you come back to Wake Forest, you always…
Go see Big Daddy. Coach Faircloth is a staple of WFU football, and he knows everybody and everything around the sport. I also go to the practice field to reminisce on all the fun and tough practices I had that helped shape me into who I am today.
I was there when…
We beat an Oregon team that everyone said was unbeatable in the Seattle Bowl.
Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
Jim Caldwell gave me a chance when no one else would at this level. He was the only D1 coach to recruit me. I remember him sitting in my living room telling my mom that he would turn her boy into a man. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. 🙂
(Note, this article was originally published in the February/March 2016 issue of Gold Rush.)