FOOTBALL: Former Bumble Bees Williams, Mitchell, Leopold to enter PVILCA hall in July

Published 6:37 pm Friday, April 13, 2018

A longtime Lincoln football coach and two of his protégés will be inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame in July.

Dick Williams coached football at Lincoln for 41 years and was head coach from 1994-2001. He, along with current Port Arthur Memorial Principal Glenn Mitchell and Memorial economics teacher Bobby Leopold have been selected for induction, which will be held July 21 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio.

“We feel extremely fortunate to have been chosen to become members of this grand fraternity of outstanding athletes, all of whom were a part of the only athletic conference for Texas African-American schools during the segregation era,” Mitchell said. “Many fine athletes once participated in the old Prairie View league.”

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Williams played on the R.L. Posey-coached 1955 Lincoln football team that won the PVIL state championship along with his brother Edgar and Leopold’s father Leroy.

Williams then played quarterback at Southern under A.W. Mumford but was honored as an All-American receiver and punter. He graduated in 1960, when the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him. He went on to play with the Boston (now New England) Patriots and San Diego Chargers.

According to information provided by Mitchell, Williams was a stellar defensive strategist under Alva Tabor and A.Z. McElroy at Lincoln. He continued coaching with Joe Washington Sr. and replaced him as head coach.

“Many athletes recognize Coach Williams as the strategist for many of the defensive battles that were won by the Lincoln High Bumble Bees,” said Mitchell, who is Williams’ nephew.

Mitchell played offensive and defensive end and kicked off for Lincoln, where he graduated in 1966. He ran track at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, in 1970, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health and later earned his master’s degree in urban education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1973. He earned a specialist’s degree from UNO in 1975.

A 1980 recipient of a doctoral degree in alternative schools from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Mitchell coaches and taught in Omaha Public Schools for 30 years before retiring. He came out of retirement and went to work as assistant superintendent for student personnel services in the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools and became Memorial’s principal five years ago. His wife Carol is a retired University of Nebraska professor and is a renowned publisher of science materials for elementary students.

Bobby Leopold, a 1976 Lincoln graduate, played professional football for seven seasons (1980-86), winning a Super Bowl as a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 season. The 49ers’ quarterback, Joe Montana, was his college teammate at Notre Dame, where the two helped the Fighting Irish in the 1977 season by beating Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

Leopold intercepted four passes and recovered six fumbles in his four seasons with the 49ers. After two years with the New Jersey Generals in the U.S. Football League, he played one season with the Green Bay Packers, finishing with a 21-yard interception return and 1.5 sacks.

Before joining the Memorial staff four years ago, Leopold worked for a process servicing company and built affordable housing complexes including a senior center in Houston.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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