May 24, 2014 11:08:51 PM
STARKVILLE -- Former Mississippi Fellowship of Christian Athletes statewide director and Starkville native William "Bill" Buckner died Friday from complications associated with leukemia.
He was 69.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inductee played high school football at Starkville High School before joining East Mississippi Community College, Mississippi State University and Delta State University. Buckner is credited with throwing the first touchdown passes in the history of the Houston Astrodome.
Buckner also coached football for 20 years as an assistant and head coach in the high school, junior college and university levels, including stints as an assistant at MSU and DSU.
Mississippi FCA experienced significant growth under his leadership. He joined as state director in 1987.
"He was a great leader who was very people-oriented. He touched so many lives by serving the Lord," said Tyson Lee, a former MSU quarterback who works with the school's FCA.
"He had a tremendous impact on the lives of a lot of Mississippi's young people through FCA. In his hometown, Buckner is fondly remembered and well respected," said MSU Communications Director Sid Salter. "The university joins with the people of Starkville and the rest of Mississippi in mourning his passing."
Buckner was voted Most Valuable Player at SHS, EMCC and DSU. He was also inducted into the East Mississippi Community College Hall of Fame, the DSU Hall of Fame and the Hinds Community College Hall of Fame, where he previously served as head coach.
Visitations are scheduled from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home in Ridgeland and at 11 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Jackson. Funeral services will follow at noon.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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