William S. Busik, 85, Navy sports head

October 19, 2005|By JACQUES KELLY | JACQUES KELLY,SUN REPORTER

William S. "Barnacle Bill" Busik, a former Naval Academy athletic director and alumni association head, died of heart failure Sunday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was 85.

Born in Pasadena, Calif., he was a teammate in four sports of Jackie Robinson, who would later break major-league baseball's racial barrier. They were together during junior high school and for a year of football at Pasadena Junior College.

"In baseball, I was the second baseman and he was the shortstop," Mr. Busik told an Evening Sun reporter in 1991. "We were both long-jumpers in track. In basketball, he was a forward and I was a guard. In football, when I was at fullback, he was the tailback."

His nickname at Navy was Barnacle Bill, a spinoff from the ditty, "He's rough and tough and knows his stuff, he's Barnacle Bill the sailor."

On Nov. 29, 1941, as a halfback he helped Navy defeat Army, 14-6, before 98,000 spectators in Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. He ran, passed, punted and played safety on defense through his final game, eight days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

He was a 1942 Naval Academy graduate and during World War II he served aboard the USS Shaw when it was attacked by Japanese dive-bombers in 1943. He participated in the battle of Santa Cruz Island, Guadalcanal, the landings at Cape Gloucester, the Saipan-Tinian-Guam operation and the Philippine Islands occupation. He attained the rank of captain and was awarded a Purple Heart.

After the war, he returned to the Naval Academy as an assistant football and basketball coach and later became a personal aide to the chief of naval operations, Adm. Arleigh Burke. In June 1960 he assumed command of the USS Mahan and was named director of athletics at the academy and physical education head in 1962, a post he held for three years.

He retired from active duty in 1971 and was appointed director of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, a job he held for more than two decades. He led a $17 million fundraising campaign to supplement a $13 million congressional appropriation for the construction and outfitting of Alumni Hall, where a Bill Busik Wing was dedicated in 1991.

He was a former chairman of First Night Annapolis and was a past president of the Annapolis Rotary.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Naval Academy Chapel, Annapolis.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, the former Virginia Read; two sons, William Busik of Annapolis and Thomas Busik of Bend, Ore.; a daughter, Susan B. Kern of Allentown, Pa.; a stepson, Robert T. Wood of Incline, Nev.; a stepdaughter, Leslie Wood Willmott of New York, N.Y.; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. His wife of 24 years, Margaret K. Andrus, died in 1967.

Jacques.Kelly@baltsun.com

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