2019 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAMER
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Wallace “Waldo” Williams was with out query top-of-the-line all-around athletes to ever grace a Brevard County sports activities subject. He was an integral a part of what many contemplate one of the best highschool soccer staff to ever step on a Brevard County gridiron, the 1972 Merritt Island Mustangs undefeated state championship staff.
‘We Had been Particular With Waldo’
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (Area Coast Sports activities Corridor of Fame) – Wallace “Waldo” Williams was with out query top-of-the-line all-around athletes to ever grace a Brevard County sports activities subject.
Throughout a time when civil rights laws and Supreme Court docket rulings desegregated faculties and different public amenities, Williams, with the encouragement of his father, Waldo Williams Sr., would change into the primary black athlete to take part in a number of sporting leagues in Brevard County.
Williams realized to be a fantastic athlete by listening to his father and tagging together with the elder Williams to any and all sporting occasions at segregated Monroe Excessive Faculty in Cocoa the place legends akin to 2014 Area Coast Sports activities Corridor of Famer Dick Blake coached.
William’s excellent athletic potential was apparent at a younger age.
“Waldo was nice at no matter he did,” says childhood pal and frequent teammate of Williams, Tommy Cook dinner.
“We had been particular with Waldo. We had been particular in elementary college successful championships and ribbons. We had been particular in junior excessive successful at basketball and a bit league state championship as 13-year previous All-Stars, after which go to highschool and win a state title in soccer.”
Williams’ athletic potential got here to the forefront in a nationwide competitors on the age of 10.
One Sunday morning Williams’ father occurred to see an advert within the paper asking for youths to come back and check out for the native Punt, Cross and Kick competitors.
Waldo not solely tried out for the competitors, however he gained, and for the subsequent a number of years, would journey the nation representing Brevard County and Florida within the competitors.
Williams broke and tied information and even competed on nationwide tv within the finals. He didn’t win after shanking a punt, however he did get a possibility to go to the White Home and meet sports activities legends like Vince Lombardi and Richard Petty.
“Williams was a fantastic particular person participant, however he was a fantastic teammate as nicely,” mentioned Cook dinner.
He was an integral a part of what many contemplate one of the best highschool soccer staff to ever step on a Brevard County gridiron, the 1972 Merritt Island Mustangs undefeated state championship staff.
With fellow 2019 Area Coast Sports activities Corridor of Fame inductee Jimmy Black at quarterback and 2012 Corridor inductee Leon Vivid, the 1972 Mustang juggernaut scored 426 factors, outscoring opponents by a mean of 42 to six.
Williams was a bruising, highly effective runner who cleared out defenses and made it unimaginable for opposing coaches to game-plan for only one operating again.
Each time he noticed defenses attempting to wrench a knee or get in an affordable shot on Vivid on the underside of a pile, Williams would make them pay the subsequent time he bought the ball.
Whereas Williams is greatest recognized for his play on the gridiron, he might have been a greater baseball participant. He was the primary black baseball participant in Merritt Island and Babe Ruth League baseball.
Not solely was Williams an All-State first-team choice in soccer however he earned the identical designation as a catcher in baseball at Merritt Island Excessive.
Williams was ultimately chosen seventieth general within the third spherical of the 1972 Main League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
After being named the consensus No. 1 participant within the state of Florida, Williams signed to play for the Reds however didn’t like the best way his profession was headed and some years later, he determined he needed to go to varsity and play soccer.
Nonetheless, the NCAA mentioned he wasn’t eligible, that he was now an expert. Williams employed an legal professional and fought the ruling.
Williams contested he was solely an expert in baseball, not in soccer. He ultimately gained the ruling setting the precedent that has since allowed athletes like John Elway to compete professionally in a single sport and as an newbie in one other.
Williams would attend Florida State the place he would be a part of fellow Merritt Island teammates Jimmy Black and his childhood pal, Leon Vivid.
He’s married to former Melbourne Excessive standout athlete Jackie Thorpe-Williams and his satisfaction and pleasure are his daughters Kendria and Kasmin, two sons Travis and Trae and 4 grandchildren.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, name 321-615-8111 or e-mail [email protected]
CLICK HERE TO SEE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS