Willie Deckard, legendary track and field athlete, passed away on May 6, after a brief illness. He was 72 years old.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, June 2, at 11 a.m., in The Living Room at Faithful Central Bible Church, 400 West Florence Avenue in Inglewood.
Willie graduated from Dorsey High School in 1969. He was inducted into the Dorsey Hall of Fame this past October at the school’s 85th Anniversary Celebration.
During his time at Dorsey, he had a stellar track career highlighted by winning the League and City Championships in the 100, 220 and 440–yard relay as a senior. He went on to win the 220–yard dash and finish third in the 100–yard dash at the California State Championships. As a high school senior, he qualified for the 1968 Olympic Trials (21.2). He was also selected to represent the USA in a Pre-Olympic Meet in Mexico City.
Willie then attended Los Angeles City College where he set several records and made several USA National Teams. He set school records in the 100–yard dash, (9.4 seconds) and the 100-meter dash in (10.3).
He accepted a full track scholarship to the University of Southern California where he continued to set school records in the 100–yard dash (9.2) and 220–yard dash (20.2) in 1971, as well as the 100-meter dash (9.9) in 1972. He ran third leg for the USC record 880 relay team (1:20.7) in 1972. He was a Pac-8 Champion in the 100 and 220–yard dash and 2-time NCAA Outdoor 440–yard relay champion.
Willie’s numerous awards included Scholastic Magazine All-American, four time Junior College All-American, six time all American at USC, and 10 time USA National Competitor. In April 2009, Deckard was inducted into the USC Dual Meet Hall of Fame.
After competing as an athlete, Deckard was a longtime coaching fixture in the Los Angeles track and field scene, beginning his coaching career at Crenshaw High, where he coached for over two decades and developed several All-Americans. He then moved on to North Torrance High and most recently, Redondo Union High.
“Willie Deckard was one the greatest sprinters in the history of Dorsey High School. We are pleased and honored to have inducted him into the Dorsey Hall of Fame, ” said Willard Love, esteemed Dorsey Alumni – class of 1959, retired administrator, community liason and Dorsey Hall of Fame chairperson.
Funeral Services are pending