|Year of Graduation:||1961-1965|
In the early 60’s, the MC faithful loved their football. The lights would shine on Honaker Field on Saturday nights and Coach Boydson Baird’s teams highlighted many local hometown heroes. From 1961-1964 the Scots posted a record of 25-8, the second best four year span in the 114 years of Maryville College Football.
The spirited play of the offensive and defensive lines during this period was a big reason for their success. A powerful young man from Loudon, Tennessee would be a steady, consistent performer in the trenches for the Scots as a four year starter. Bill Napier moved into the starting line-up early in his freshman campaign.
Along with fellow offensive linemen Pete Stafford, Gary Dutton, and Art Fairchild, this blocking brigade opened hole after hole for the scampering backs of the orange and garnet. By controlling the line of scrimmage, the Scots finished the year with a 6-2 record, which included impressive wins over Centre, Georgetown, Bridgewater, and Millsaps.
The successful season revived the spirit of former gridiron glory at MC. Coach Baird’s talented highlanders of 1961 marched to the most successful season of football in over a decade.
“Big” Bill had a year under his belt and was excited about his sophomore year.
The 1962 season got off to a promising start with a 22-0 shellacking of Mars Hill.
Bill would open gaping holes for running backs Roland McClanahan, Ken Berry, and Jim Renfro. The second game increased the Scots’ fan excitement with a 33-14 victory over Centre College. Mother nature played a big part in the Scots 9-0 “sloshy” loss to Georgetown despite one of MC’s best defensive efforts. The Chilhowean reported that 4,000 homecoming fans saw the Scots beat Hanover 27-6. Injuries to key players forced the Scots to a 4-4 effort to close the 1962 season which included a 17-7 loss to Carson-Newman. The even mark did not set well with the competitive Napier. He was motivated to lead his team to winning records for his final two collegiate seasons.
Behind the leadership of captains Wilbur Ramsey and Charlie Thomas, Head Coach Boydson Baird would prepare for his last season at the helm. With the return of 18 lettermen and the entire line and backfield in tact, this team was very optimistic. Coach Baird had found the key to success- a potent offense and a stingy defense.The Scots started the season with victories over Mars Hill, Centre, and Georgetown. According to the Chilhowean, “Only a pass that was juggled and then dropped in the end zone in the last minute of play against Emory & Henry stood between Maryville and a perfect season.” This included the Scots overcoming a 17 point deficit at half time to rally back to defeat Hanover 19-17.
The cardiac kids saved their best team effort for the last game of the 1963 season. Fighting back from deficits of 7-0 and 14-6 against Carson-Newman, the Scots would pull out the victory with a 20-yard Benny Monroe field goal. Maryville would end the 1963 season with an outstanding record of 8-1.
Napier was the rock on the offensive and defensive lines making play after play in every game.
Bill’s senior season was full of great expectations. Howard “Monk” Tomlinson would bring his hard nosed disciplinarian approach to the hill. He felt that a solid defense was the key to any successful season. Captain Napier was more than happy to comply with Coach Tomlinson’s directives.
“Big” Bill’s game plan was simple:
Lead the way for Benny Monroe, Mike Dalton, and Roland McClanahan to make things happen on offense and crush anyone who came his way on defense.
The formula worked like a charm throughout the season. The offense averaged over 25 points a game, and when it came down to a key stop on defense, #72 would deliver!
Against Mars Hill, MC’s offense could only produce six points, but the defense stepped up and posted their first shutout in eight games!
The 1964 Scots finished with a record of 7-1. They won every game during the season except Bill Napier’s final collegiate game against Carson Newman, a 24-14 loss.
At the conclusion of his athletic career, Bill graduated in the spring of 1965. He received a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee, and University of Alabama. He traveled to Ohio to obtain his PhD from THE Ohio State University. He served the Buckeyes as Executive Assistant to Four Presidents at Ohio State and was secretary of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees. Dr. Napier presently serves as a member of City Council and Vice Mayor of Upper Arlington, Ohio. He is the Senior Advisor to the President at Cleveland State University.
Please join me in honoring one of the top offensive and defensive linemen in the history of Maryville College Football, Dr. William Napier.