Former Jacksonville University Final Four Coach Joe Williams Dies From Cancer Complications

Death: Joe Williams, a former Jacksonville University Final Four coach, has died at the age of 88 – Joe Williams, the coach who led Artis Gilmore and Jacksonville University to the 1970 NCAA championship game against powerhouse UCLA, died on Saturday. He was 88 years old when he died. Williams, who previously coached at Furman and Florida State, died in Enterprise, Mississippi, while in hospice care, according to his son Joe Williams Jr., after a long battle with cancer.

According to, The Dolphins were one of the NCAA tournament’s great Cinderella stories. They upset Western Kentucky, Iowa, Kentucky, and St. Bonaventure on their way to the title game, led by the 7-foot-2 Gilmore, who started the season unranked. That season, they scored over 100 points 18 times, including three times in the tournament.

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They faced a Bruins team that was in the midst of coach John Wooden’s dynasty in the final. UCLA won the national championship for the fourth time in a row, and the sixth time in the last seven years, by a score of 80-69.

When Williams took over the Jacksonville team in 1964, he was an assistant coach at Furman, and the school remained in the NAIA for one more season before switching to the NCAA, where it immediately climbed to prominence. Obituary is unavailable

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