Jim Miller, the 49ers punter for 1980, 1981 and 1982, grew up in Ripley, Mississippi, a town in the north part of the state, a little ways southeast of Memphis. He started punting barefoot when he got to Ole Miss, led the NCAA in punting average in 1977, and launched several punts well over 60 yards. Sports Illustrated did a feature story on him back in 1978, here. He said: “I used to live on a farm, and I used to go around barefoot all the time, y’know, in the country. I’d get a ball and kick it up to myself or to my brother and I guess I just got used to kicking that way. I guess I’ve got a better feel for the ball. I had to wear a shoe in high school, they had a rule about it. If I tried it three weeks with a shoe on, I guess I could do just as good, but it feels better this way right now.”
Miller got cut by the 49ers during the 1983 exhibition season. At the end of 1982, Bill Walsh said something like, “I’m weary of 30-yard punts,” and that was the death knell for Miller’s time in San Francisco. He signed on with the Cowboys halfway through the 1983 season, then also kicked for the Giants. He’s now a teacher and coach in the Ripley schools.