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Lincoln grad, UW legend and NFL receiver Dave Williams dead at 78

One of Tacoma’s all-time finest prep athletes has died. Dave Williams, a 1963 graduate of Lincoln High School, passed away on Wednesday at his home in Amelia Island, Florida after a long illness, according to his youngest son, Steve Williams. He was 78 years old.

Williams was a football, basketball, track and decathlon star in his youth and is regarded as one of the top high school athletes in Washington’s history. He was a star athlete at Lincoln before going onto an All-American football and track career at the University of Washington. He was drafted in the first round of the 1967 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 16th overall pick.

Williams earned 12 varsity letters at Lincoln: three in football, three in basketball, three in track and field and three in the decathlon. He was an All-City, All-Conference and All-State football selection in both his junior and senior years and an All-American his senior year.

At the UW, Williams was a second-team Associated Press All-American tight end in 1965 under coach Jim Owens and a four-time track and field All-American. At the time, he set the UW single-season record for receiving yards with 795 in 1965, averaging 79.5 receiving yards per game and set a Husky record with 257 receiving yards in a game against UCLA in 1965.

He played five seasons as a receiver in St. Louis after being drafted in the first round in 1967. He was signed by the expansion Seahawks in 1976 but suffered a season-ending knee injury in an offseason track meet that ended his career.

Williams was inducted into the UW’s Husky Hall of Fame in 2014 and is also in the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame.

After his football career, Williams worked in the commercial real estate industry. Funeral service details are pending.