Happy 46th, Darrin Fletcher!
Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Greg Williams
Today marks the 58th anniversary of the birth of Greg Williams, an Illinois football player fatally shot Nov. 9, 1974, during an early-morning scuffle at a campus fraternity party. Williams, 20, a junior from Miami, and Carl Belser of Maywood were shot on the front steps of the Kappa Alpha Psi house at 2:30 a.m. Williams was shot in the head, and Belser suffered a thigh wound. Williams normally would have been with the team at Monticello’s Allerton Park, where the Illini stayed before home games. However, two weeks before, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound defensive end suffered an ankle injury in a game against Iowa. UI coach Bob Blackman and sports information director Tab Bennett, a former star defensive end and current sports information director, rushed to Burnham City Hospital and stayed with Williams from about 3 a.m. until 9 a.m., when he died. That afternoon, following the playing of the national anthem, the public address announcer asked the crowd of nearly 61,000 to observe a moment of silence for Williams. “Taps” was played, then the emotionally charged Illini team fought fourth-ranked Michigan throughout the game but eventually lost 14-6. In a 1975 trial, four men — David C. Kelly, Stephen G. Dorsey, Jeff Davis Jr. and Romie Hunter — were acquitted June 13 on charges of Williams’ murder. The prosecution accused Kelly of being the shooter. The defense, however, accused Robert “Rap” Williams (no relation) to be the shooter, but he was never charged. A letter winner in 1973, Greg Williams was the son of a disabled veteran. Majoring in liberal arts and sciences, he planned to go into dentistry.
Sunday: A.J. Jenkins, football (23)
Monday: John Sullivan, football (56)
Tuesday: Trulon Henry, football (28)
Wednesday: Darrin Fletcher, baseball (46)
Thursday: Ben Bruce, golf (42)
Friday: Virg Jacques, football (60)
Saturday: Marc Spicijaric, tennis (26)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore and assistant athletic director at Miami (Ohio)
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