A.J. Holloway, long-time Biloxi mayor and University of Mississippi football star, died at the age of 79 on June 5.
At an early age, he moved to Biloxi from Ocean Springs because he wanted to become a football star. Holloway became a local legend on the gridiron and earned a scholarship to the University of Mississippi to play for the Rebels.
During his time as an Ole Miss Rebel, he earned the nickname “All The Way Holloway.” Holloway helped lead the Rebs to two Sugar Bowl appearances, a Cotton Bowl appearance and Ole Miss’s one and only national championship.
His impactful nature only grew with age. In 1989, Holloway served on the City Council of Biloxi before being elected just four years later in 1993. In his tenure, he was re-elected six terms which spanned twenty-two years to become Biloxi’s longest serving mayor.
During his time in office, he brought life back into the city of Biloxi not just once but twice.
One year before taking office, casino gambling was legalized in Mississippi, and he capitalized on this to rebuild a failing economy. Turning the dying city into a revitalized tourism destination filled with casinos and hotels, Mayor Holloway created over 15,000 jobs and correctly managed millions of dollars of revenue from the casinos to rebuild the cities schools, roads and government buildings.
When Hurricane Katrina was causing destruction to the Gulf and citizens were abandoning their homes to seek refuge, A.J. Holloway refused to leave his beloved city of Biloxi. He rode through the devastating storm on the second floor of City Hall even when the first floor was rushing water through it. Mayor Holloway was relentless to rebuild his city from the devastation that laid before him. His push for federal funding and volunteer work led to a huge federal grant, allowing Biloxi to bounce back and start anew.
In 2015, due to health issues, he stepped down from his position as mayor after 22 years.