I’m not even going to try to recount the deeds of one of the greatest football heroes in Rice’s history, the captain of the great 1949 Cotton Bowl team and to this day the Owls’ leading scorer. You can and should go read about these things here.
What I do want to talk about is the Froggy I knew, a regular and beloved visitor to the university archives. As many of you know he was a wonderful storyteller and on every visit he drew a crowd as we all dropped what we were doing to listen. He loved Rice so very much and he understood why it matters that we save as many of those stories as possible. Universities are strange places in many ways, combining some of the characteristics of small towns with those of large (sometimes dysfunctional) families. It’s these stories that help us make sense of our own place in the life of the institution and sustain our commitment to the place and to each other.
Froggy never forgot that and he backed it up with real effort. He was a strong supporter of the Rice Historical Society, a writer and recorder of tales and wonders, and a donor who hustled up all manner of Rice athletics memorabilia for the Woodson. Here’s a photo I love–Froggy hanging with his boys in the R Room at a party for Red Bale in 1998–that came in a box of photos and news clips that he retrieved and brought to the archives after Coach Bale passed away:
Froggy Williams, RIP.
One more thing: go watch this video. It’s only a minute long, the film is grainy and almost seventy years old, but you can still see that he was glorious. Thanks to Rice’s SID, Chuck Pool, for putting it together.