Dave Williams, surrounded by the Liberty football team, stood on the Williams Stadium turf with the sun beaming down on him and gladly accepted a framed No. 33 jersey to honor his 33 years of service in the program’s strength and conditioning program.
That mid-April day was a precursor for the honor he was bestowed five months later.
Williams was among five who were inducted into the Liberty athletics Hall of Fame over the weekend. He was joined by Sam Chelanga, Julius Nwosu, Katie (Phillips) Bigham and Richard Shelton.
Williams was a finalist for the 1992-93 national strength coach of the year, and he was named a master strength and conditioning coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
Bigham, a Rustburg High graduate, holds the program records for ERA (1.59), wins (62) and shutouts (23). During her career at LU, the Flames won 146 games and posted the first-ever 40-win season in 1999.
Shelton was the third player in the football program’s history to be selected in the NFL Draft when the Denver Broncos took him in the 10th round in 1989 after he set program records in punt return yardage (563), punt returns for touchdowns (three) and punt return average (12.5) that still stand today. He played with the Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1989 to 1993.
Nwosu became the 14th player in men’s basketball history to score 1,000 points and he was the first to earn a spot on a NBA roster when he joined the San Antonio Spurs in 1995.
Chelanga did not attend the weekend ceremonies since he is scheduled to run in next weekend’s Chicago Marathon. The Nairobi, Kenya, native won four individual Division I national championships during his time in the cross country and track & field programs.
Flames feature two honorary captains
Liberty had six captains go to midfield for the opening coin toss Saturday evening. Regulars Solomon McGinty, Michael Henderman, Trey Turner and Jeremy Peters were joined by Caden Bowers and Seph Ware.
Bowers and Ware were named honorary captains as part of Coach to Cure MD that is promoted by the American Football Coaches Association. The coaches help promote raising awareness and finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
“We want to recognize what we can do as college coaches to bring a little bit more national awareness [about muscular dystrophy],” Flames coach Turner Gill said Tuesday.
Bowers and his family are from Yorktown, while Ware and his family relocated to the Lynchburg area after previously living in Louisiana. The two youngsters also participated in the Flames’ Friday walkthrough.
Where did this pressure come from?
Liberty needed four games to record two sacks. It took the Flames less than 15 minutes to surpass that total against St. Francis.
LU sacked Red Flash quarterback Bear Fenimore three times in the first quarter, surpassing the team’s total of two sacks.
It was the first time this season the Flames recorded multiple sacks in the same game. Chris Turner opened the game by sacking Fenimore on a cornerback blitz, and he became the first player other than a defensive linemen to sack the quarterback.
Defensive ends Juwan Wells and Dia’Vante Brown each recorded sacks later in the quarter.
An unfamiliar sight for the Flames
The Flames are no strangers to holding opposing teams scoreless in the first quarter and held the Red Flash without a point in the first 15 minutes.
However, St. Francis’ defense did its job to keep the game tied.
LU did not score a point in the first quarter for the first time this season. The Flames scored 47 in the opening 15 minutes this season and had allowed seven points. That touchdown allowed came against Indiana State in the season’s third week.
The Red Flash have allowed three first-quarter points this season.