Leigh  Williams

Leigh Williams

Leigh Williams, who died of Leukemia in 1940 just a day short of his 32nd birthday, was one of those rare breeds of athletes who starred in several sports.  At W & L, from 1927-32, he earned 16 letters, four each in football, basketball, baseball and track.

Basketball and track were his best, however as a 6-3 center for Coach R.A. (Capn Dick) Smith’s basketball squads, Williams led the Generals to seasons of 11-0 as a freshman, 16-2 as a sophomore, 16-4 as a junior and 11-6 as a senior.  During that era of the center jump and low-scoring games, Capn Dick’s W&L squad was known as the “Point-A-Minute” team and usually beat the Southern Conference opponents by scores of 57-12, and 65–20.

During the 1928-29 season, for example, the Generals defeated Maryland by scores of 44-22 and 42-18, Virginia Tech by 44-25, 45-17, and 36-17, and the University of Virginia 47-19 and 50-30.  The only regular season loss was by one point, 31-30, to Kentucky.  The following year, teams led by Williams defeated Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Maryland twice. 

In track, a sport in which Williams had never competed before enrolling at Washington & Lee, he reigned as Southern Conference champion in the 440-yard dash as a junior and won the race every time he ran it as a senior.

In baseball Williams played first base, but Capn Dick would call on him occasionally to pitch.  He once shut out Virginia Tech.  Williams was a team captain three times in two sports, the freshman basketball squad, as a senior on the varsity basketball team, and as a junior in baseball.  He also served as President of the Monogram Club and Vice-President of the Athletic Association.