Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 1 Bill Woodhouse, Abiliene Christian University R.I.P.

One of the great sprinters of the mid twentieth century Bill Woodhouse passed away yesterday, January 11, 2014.   Bill was the eighth man to run 9.3 seconds for 100 yards.  He was on many of the Abiliene Christian relay teams anchored by Bobby Morrow.  Not a likely looking sprinter, nevertheless he was a keystone on those great ACC teams.

Below are some tributes from the ACC Alumni journal and a citation from the Iowa Association of Track Coaches Hall of Fame.

 ACU Remembers: Bill Woodhouse

Bill Woodhouse 500x790Bobby Morrow (’58) has deservedly received accolades too numerous to count for his performances on the track at Abilene Christian University in the 1950s. But he ran with other talented Wildcats on the multiple world record relay teams that made headlines. One of them was Bill Woodhouse (’59), who died yesterday at age 77 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
At 5-8 and 155 pounds, Woodhouse was an atypical physical specimen, as his head coach, Oliver Jackson (’42) described in 1959 in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram story:
“If I was going to shoot a sprinter, Bill Woodhouse would be the last man in the crowd I’d aim at. He looks like a running guard on a Class B single-wing team – short and squatty – and anything but the way you would picture a sprinter. As a matter of fact, I took him sight unseen upon the recommendation of Drake (University) track coach Tommy Deckard, and when he got off that train I said to myself that if he ever ran as fast as 10.2 I’d be surprised.”
But surprise he did, becoming the eighth sprinter to run 9.3 in the 100-yard dash and tie a world record – joining others from Oregon, Southern California, Northwestern, California, Duke, San Jose State and ACU (Morrow) – when he recorded that time at a meet in Abilene on May 5, 1959.
Bobby Morrow, Bill Woodhouse, James Segrest and ______ were a world-record-setting 440-yard relay team at Abilene Christian.
Bobby Morrow (’58), Bill Woodhouse (’59), James Segrest (’59) and Waymond Griggs (’58) were a world-record-setting relay team at Abilene Christian.
He ran a wind-aided 9.1 in the 100 (the third person ever to do that) during a quadrangular meet April 18, 1959, in Abilene between ACU, North Texas, Texas Tech and Arizona State, the same day he became the second runner to ever run below 20 seconds (19.9) in the 200-yard-dash.
Woodhouse was a member of the ACU Sports Hall of Fame, Drake Relays Hall of Fame and Penn Relays Wall of Fame. The latter honor came in 2004, when he was inducted with 10-time Olympic medalist Carl Lewis, four-time Olympians Joetta Clark and 1941 Sullivan Award (honoring the top U.S. amateur athlete) winner Les MacMitchell. He won four Penn Relays titles as a Wildcat.
. A memorial service for him is planned for Jan. 14 at Seaside Funeral Home (4357 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412, 361-992-9411).

From the Iowa Association of Track Coaches Hall of Fame

William "Bill" Woodhouse

Bill is a 1955 Graduate of Mason City High School. “Heed the advice of your parents, teachers and coaches!” Former Mohawk and Abilene Christian University sprinter Bill Woodhouse was inducted into the Penn Relays Hall of Fame during the 110 running of the Penn Relay Carnival at the University of Pennsylvanial. The Outstanding Collegiate performer of 1959, Woodhouse set a Carnival record of 9.5 in the 100 yard dash and anchored Carnival-record teams in the 440- and 880-yard relays. Woodhouse won four Penn Relays championships during his ACU career, running the third leg on the 1958 440-yard relay championship team, and then anchoring the winning 880-yard relay team in 1958 and the 440-yard and 880-yard relay teams in 1959. Woodhouse twice tied the world record in the 100-yard dash (9.3 seconds) in 1957 and 1959 during his career at Abilene Christian. He also ran on Wildcat relay teams which set world records in the 440-yard and 880-yard relay events. Woodhouse ranked fourth in the 220-yarrd dash and 10th in the 100-yard dash in the world in 1958. That season he finished fourth in both the 100 and 220 at the NCAA Division I National Meet. He also finished fifth in the 100 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1960 to become an alternate member of the U.S. Olympic Team, and he ran on the gold-medal-winning 400-meter relay team for the U.S. at the 1959 Pan American Games. Woodhouse is also a member of the Drake Relays Hall of Fame, and in 1991 he was inducted into the Abilene Christian University Sports Hall of Fame. Bill wants all to, “help those who are less fortunate or in need.” Bill Woodhouse believes his faith and relationship with God has been the key to his mental confidence and peace in the environment of competition in his track career and in the business world. Bill is in Corpus Christi, Texas and has been an insurance agent for State Farm. He is a true civil leader and is involved in many projects working with your including coaching. Bill’s honors with State Farm Insurance include the Millionaire’s Club, the Legion of Honor and the Bronze Tablet Award.

"He was one of the few world class sprinters who wore glasses."    Phil Scott

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