Bill Buckner touched thousands of lives

Posted on: May 23,2014

Services have been set for Hall of Famer Bill Buckner. Visitation will be at Wright Ferguson Highland Colony from 5 until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Another visitation will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church of Jackson, followed by the funeral service at noon.


Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Bill Buckner, who touched the lives of literally thousands of young Mississippi athletes, died this morning (Friday, May 23) after a long, courageous battle with leukemia. He was 69.
Buckner, inducted into the MSHOF in 2013, made his mark on Mississippi sports as a football quarterback, as a coach and as an administrator and he did it at the high school, junior college and college levels. But it was as state director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he found his life’s calling.

Bill Buckner

Buckner oversaw FCA staff growth in Mississippi from just Buckner, himself, to 21 full-time staff members and six part-timers and helped the organization spread to 390 campuses, up from 100 when Buckner came on board in 1987.
Bill was one of the finest individuals I’ve ever known,” Mississippi baseball legend Boo Ferriss said. “I was head of the FCA at Delta State when Bill became a leader in our chapter. We’ve been close ever since. He had really made a difference in Mississippi. I am so thankful he went into the Hall of Fame last summer and was recognized for all his great contributions.
Ferriss continued, “Bill had that easy way about him. He was full of kindness. He was soft-spoken and always had a smile.”
A native of Starkville, Buckner holds the distinction of being his team’s Most Valuable Player four times in five years — at three different schools Those schools included Starkville High, East Mississippi (Scooba) Junior College and Delta State. He was an All American at East Mississippi where he played for Hall of Famer Bull Sullivan.
Buckner also played a year at Mississippi State (1965) and threw the first touchdown pass in the Houston Astrodome, then known as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Buckner has also been inducted into the Mississippi Community College Hall of Fame, the East Mississippi Community College Hall of Fame, the Delta State Hall of Fame and the Hinds Community College Hall of Fame.

13 responses to “Bill Buckner touched thousands of lives”

  1. Therese Apel says:

    Bill Buckner was one of the most important mentors in my life. Through high school and college I was involved with the state FCA, and Bill befriended my family. He stayed in touch with me through the years, through all the gory phases I grew through and all the crises of faith. I last spoke with him a month or so ago, and I wish I would have told him more how I appreciate everything he did for me and my family and people all over the state, the country, and the world. Bill will be deeply missed, and now it is up to us to carry the torch that he has passed us. What a great mission, and he was a great leader. What a celebration in Heaven today. 🙂

  2. Rick Cleveland says:

    Therese, so many folks have stories just like yours, concerning Bill.

  3. Jimmy says:

    What a huge loss for us but what a great gain for Brother Bill. He will surely be missed. Praying for comfort for all his family and friends.

  4. Rick Fremin III says:

    Bill Buckner impacted my life as a student athlete, as well my professional career. I thank God our paths crossed. He will be missed.

  5. Mack Heidelberg says:

    One of the kindest men I have ever known. He had time for everyone that passed by him. There are thousands of people out there whose hearts are as hollow as mine with this news. Thank you, Lord, for Bill’s life and legacy.

  6. The life of Bill Buckner can be summed up in this way, he was a great athlete and coach, but he was a better person. His work on the field earned him the Hall of Fame, but his mission to save souls earned him Heaven! The reason why thousands are mourning his loss is because he invested and touched thousands. May we all live our lives like Bill Buckner did, for Christ alone!

  7. Randy Rigdon says:

    I have lost a true FRIEND and Brother in Christ. Bill, was an amazing man. He fought a great fight and has won the Victory he deserves. Will always love you brother. Rest in Peace

  8. I met Bill mid-summer 1987 while working in Jackson MS. I worked 80-hour weeks, outside, meeting strangers every day. Being from Montana, I was asked on a regular basis one of two questions: “Yer a Yankee, ain’t ya?” or “Are you a Christian?” Bill asked me something different when I met him. It was later in the evening and he asked “Have you eaten?” I hadn’t. He fed me, grew to know me, and then answered a question for me, “What IS a Christian?” He explained the message of salvation to me and asked if I was ready to accept it. I wasn’t. I respectfully left, but it was only days later when I gave my heart to the Lord. Bill was the first person I sought out and told. He changed my life because of his bold kindness. We lost touch for over a decade, but I would eventually find him via the Internet and the FCA. It was my privilege to again break bread with him several years ago in Jackson where I hugged and thanked him for sharing the gospel and seeing to my personal salvation. His caring saved me, my wife (married in 1996) and my son (born 2001). I am a living testimony of Bill’s work. You left a legacy, Bill!

  9. Big Vic Sullivan says:

    I learned today that Bill Buckner died on May 23rd. Bill may have been the best player that Daddy ever coached but for sure he was the finest person to ever wear the Lions uniform.
    He will be missed.

  10. ROBB COLSON says:


  11. In November of 1965 I was working in the Sports Information Department where I met Bill Buckner. On November 15th I found myself in a real crisis and was looking for someone to talk to. I was in Memorial Hall and ran into Bill. We went in Room 207 where Johnny Woitt and Tom Abernathy lived. Bill led me to Christ that night while others on the team prayed for me. A couple of weeks later Bill invited me to give my testimony at a little Methodist church in Meridian. That’s the night I realized God was calling me into the ministry. That was nearly 50 years ago and I have served Pastors and churches ever since because Bill cared enough to listen and share his faith. He is missed!

  12. bill was amazing.he got me to fca camp when I got saved.he always called me paul Anderson and would grt me to leave fired up motivational speeches for the f.c.a.staff and play them.he was one of the most humble and spirtial man I ever knew.

    • I am a better man of god because of bill buckner.he shared with me fca.we became close.he had me shared motivational fired up voice messages and played them on speaker for his staff.refered to me as paul Anderson.

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