Track & Field | May 11, 2023
Two-time USC NCAA 4x100m relay champion Willie Deckard passed away at the age of 72 on May 6 after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the his home in Inglewood, Calif.
Deckard came to USC after two years at L.A. City College and became know as “Mr. Anchor” as he ran the final leg for USC’s two-time NCAA champion 4×110 yard relay team which won the title in 1971 and 1972. The Trojan team of Lance Babb, Leon Brown, Edesel Garrison and Deckard won the 1971 NCAA relay title with a time of 39.3 and the team of Randy Williams, Brown, Garrison and Deckard won the 1972 title with a time of 39.4. Deckard is tied with Don Quarrie for the fastest 220-yard time ever by a Trojan of 20.2, set at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet on May 8, 1971. Deckard’s 1971 and 1972 USC teams finished second at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and won the 1972 NCAA Indoor title. Deckard finished fifth in the 220-yard dash at the 1972 NCAA Championships and was also the 1971 Pac-8 100m dash champion.
Deckard graduated from Dorsey High in 1968 where he was the city champion in the 100m and 200m and the California state champion in 200m. He began his collegiate career at L.A. City College where he was the state JC 220-yard champion.
Deckard placed second in the 220-yard dash at the 1971 USA Track & Field Championships and fifth in the 200-meter finals at the 1972 USA Track & Field Championships.
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 and served as the sprints coach under head coach Sal Rodriguez. When Rodriguez moved on to Redondo Union High, he lured Deckard to serve as the co-head coach at RUHS the last three seasons.
Willie is survived by his wife Lora, who he married in 2021 after his first wife, Juanita, passed away in 2019. He is also survived by his sister Mary Mucker. Wille had seven children Darren, Xavier, Tyler, Gina, Aaron, Alexis and Taelur.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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