Former Jacksonville Dolphins basketball coach Joe Williams gone at age 88:The man who brought Artis Gilmore(Gardner-Webb) to DI hoops has left us


Joe Williams, who coached Artis Gilmore(Gardner-Webb Junior College Bulldogs) and tiny Jacksonville University to the 1970 NCAA tournament championship game against mighty UCLA, died Saturday. He was 88.

Williams, who also coached at Furman and Florida State, died in Enterprise, Mississippi, while in hospice care after a lengthy battle with cancer, his son Joe Williams Jr. said.

The Dolphins were one of the true Cinderella teams in NCAA tournament history. Led by the 7-foot-2 Gilmore and unranked to start the season, they beat Western Kentucky, Iowa, Kentucky and St. Bonaventure on their way to the championship game. They scored more than 100 points 18 times that season, including three times in the tournament.

In the final, they faced a Bruins program in the middle of coach John Wooden’s dynasty. UCLA won 80-69 for its fourth consecutive national championship and sixth in seven years.

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