Bill Buckner touched thousands of lives
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.
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.