Feb. 9, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — The UVa football program was well-represented, as would be expected, at the memorial service for “Bullet” Bill Dudley in Lynchburg on Monday.
Among those in attendance at Holy Cross Catholic Church were head coach Mike London, assistants Shawn Moore and Anthony Poindexter, and Gerry Capone, UVa’s associate athletics director for football administration.
There were sad moments, London said Monday night, but the service celebrated Dudley’s life and accomplishments.
“It was really neat to hear his son talking about all the things his dad accomplished,” London said.
Dudley died Thursday at age 88. His son, Jim, gave a moving eulogy that included this passage, according to the Lynchburg News and Advance:
“As a boy and throughout my life, I was asked how it was to be the son of a famous man,” Jim Dudley said. “He was always Dad to us. There was nothing fancy about him. He went to work every day, came home and gave us love, gave us spankings. He was a dad.”
During their illustrious playing careers at UVa, Moore and Poindexter each won the Dudley Award, given annually to the state’s top college player. Moore, in fact, was the recipient of the first Dudley Award, in 1990.
London got to know Dudley in recent years. They’d see each other at the Dudley Award banquet in Richmond each winter, and one year, after London guided the University of Richmond to the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision title, they sat at the same table.
“He was always witty, really a neat guy,” London said. “When you think about him being in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, you realize how unique he really was.”
In December, when London was introduced as the Cavaliers’ coach, Dudley attended the press conference at John Paul Jones Arena. In his remarks, London noted Dudley’s contributions to UVa’s football program.
Dudley is still widely considered the greatest football player in school history.
At UVa, Dudley wore jersey No. 35. He rarely came off the field and as a senior had a part in 206 of the 279 points scored by the Wahoos, who finished 8-1. He was the first UVa football player to have his number retired.
He left the University as the Cavaliers’ career leader in rushing, passing, total offense and punt returns. He spent nine seasons in the NFL — three each with the Steelers, the Lions and the Redskins — with a break in 1943 and ’44 for service in the Army Air Corp during World War II.