Joseph “Buddy” Lex was born February 23, 1926 in Norfolk, Virginia. He was an outstanding high school athlete at Newport News High School, making all-state in basketball and football including all-southern in football.
In 1944-45, Lex was in the army during World War II and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge, the Ruhr Pocket and the crossing of the Rhine at Remagen.
Lex, a graduate of William and Mary College, was truly one of the last great triple-threat tailbacks operating from the single wing. In 1949, Lex was a runner-up to Sam Snead as Athlete of the Year in the state of Virginia. Snead won the PGA and the Masters that year while Buddy led the nation in touchdown passes, second in total offense, third in passes completed, and ninth in punting. He also found time to be the extra point kicker where he excelled. Lex’s accomplishments were against such competition as Pitt, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Houston, Arkansas, and Virginia Tech. Even with this tough schedule, William and Mary was ranked as high as 12th in the nation in 1948 and 16th in 1947.
The record of 18 touchdown passes thrown by Lex in the 1949 season is still in the record books at William and Mary. Eric Tipton, who was the backfield coach at William and Mary, has attested many times that Buddy Lex was one of the best quick kickers he has ever seen or coached. The all-southern backfield in 1949 was none other than Buddy Lex, Charlie Justice, Bill Cox of Duke and Bill Gregus of Wake Forrest. This backfield was truly a coach’s dream. Some other honors that went Lex’s way were his selection on the 1948 and 1949 all-state teams. On at least three different occasions, he was named the Athlete of the Week in the state of Virginia. In addition to his excellent football career at William and Mary, Lex also played varsity basketball and was a starter for two years.
In 1990, Lex was selected on the All-Time William and Mary team.