‘Fast Freddie’ Williams, star ASU back in 1970s, dies

Freddie Williams twice topped 1,000 yards for ASU and finished his career with 17 games of 100 or more rushing yards.

TEMPE, Ariz.–"Fast Freddie" Williams, a star running back on the 1975 Arizona State team that capped an unbeaten season with a program-defining win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl , died on Wednesday, May 14.

He was believed to be 58, according to ASU. The cause of death was not revealed.

Williams lettered in four seasons for Arizona State, playing for legendary coach Frank Kush from 1973 through ’76. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the eighth round of the 1977 NFL Draft but never played in the NFL.

Williams ranked seventh nationally in rushing yards in back-to-back seasons — running for 1,298 yards and eight touchdowns in 1974 and 1,427 yards and nine TDs in 1975.  The 1975 season was a memorable one for the Sun Devils, as they stamped themselves as national powers with a 12-0 record and a dramatic 17-14 Fiesta Bowl win over Nebraska. The Sun Devils were the nation’s only unbeaten team and finished second to Oklahoma in the season-ending polls.

He was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection and two-time honorable mention AP All-American. Williams finished his ASU career with 3,424 rushing yards on 648 carries. He had 17 games with 100 or more yards — second in the ASU record books to Woody Green’s 21. He was inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.  

A memorial service will be held Friday, May 23, at 2 p.m. at Best Funeral Services, North Central Chapel,  501 E. Dunlap Avenue in Phoenix.