Dale Willis is humble Hall of Famer

Dale Willis

Longtime Laurel Hill baseball coach and Okaloosa County educator Dale Willis, the starting third baseman on William Carey's 1969 national champion baseball team, is one of the school's newest Hall of Fame inductees.

Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 at 07:56 PM.

LAUREL HILL — If asked, Dale Willis will tell you that baseball has been good to him, but don't expect him to toot his own horn about his accomplishments.

From playing baseball as a boy in Ohio to playing the sport on a national championship team at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, coaching at Laurel Hill School and, in retirement, watching his grandson, former Crestview High School standout Roman Donofro, Willis has enjoyed his baseball journey.

That journey didn't take him to Cooperstown, New York, and the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it did take him to the William Carey Hall of Fame.

Willis, a hard-hitting third baseman for the Crusaders and a member of the school's 1969 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship team, is among William Carey's nine newest Hall of Fame members.

'Very appreciative'

"I didn't really think a whole lot of it until I went back to the induction ceremony itself and got to spend time with my teammates," he said. "At the time it seemed a lot more important to them than it was to myself, because I've been around baseball all my life, coaching and watching my grandson play and that kind of thing.

"It was a real good experience. Once you're there and your name is called out, you are with your buddies and you remember the really special times you had.

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