CHAMPAIGN — One of the standouts in Illinois men’s track and field history has died.
Willie Williams, inducted this past fall into the second-ever class of the Illinois athletics Hall of Fame, died at the age of 87.
Illinois athletics spokesman Kent Brown confirmed the passing of Williams on Wednesday afternoon, but did not have other details. Brown said Williams was in poor health and had been getting care in the Chicagoland area.
Williams attended the Illinois Hall of Fame Gala last June, and Brown said Williams’ health prevented him from speaking at the ceremony.
At Illinois from 1952 to 1954, Williams was a two-time NCAA champion in the 100-yard dash and a nine-time Big Ten champion.
In 1956, he earned the title of the world’s fastest human after running the 100-meter dash in 10.1 seconds at the National Military Track Meet in Berlin.
Williams was an assistant track and field coach at Illinois from 1982 to 2000.