William S. Busik, 85, a U.S. Naval Academy football star before World War II, its athletic director in the 1960s and the alumni association leader in the 1970s and 1980s, died of complications from cancer Oct. 16 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was an Annapolis resident.
Capt. Busik, known during his playing days as "Barnacle Bill," was a triple-threat halfback and all-American whose career punting record lasted 60 years. He also starred in track and basketball.
He was one of four athletes from the 1941 Army-Navy game that took place eight days before the attack on Pearl Harbor who were profiled in "The All Americans" (2002) by Sports Illustrated writer Lars Anderson. The game, which drew 98,897 spectators, was won by Navy, 14-6, largely on the strength of Capt. Busik's punting, passing and running game. He also played safety on defense.
When World War II broke out, the 6-foot midshipman, who had served in the Marine Corps Reserve, graduated early and spent most of the war as an officer aboard the USS Shaw. The destroyer was involved in the Guadalcanal campaign, the Saipan-Tinian-Guam operation and the Philippines occupation. His awards included the Legion of Merit and a Purple Heart.
He also was awarded the Naval Academy Athletic Association's Sword, described at the time as "the most coveted of all Navy sports awards."
A native of Pasadena, Calif., he was a high school and junior college teammate in four sports of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in professional baseball.
"In baseball, I was the second baseman and he was the shortstop," Capt. Busik told the Baltimore Evening Sun 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."
After World War II, Capt. Busik served in the Pacific fleet, at the Naval Gun Factory, as executive officer of the USS Willis A. Lee and commander of the USS Hanson. For nearly a year in 1959, he was personal aide to the chief of naval operations, Adm. Arleigh Burke, until returning to sea as commander of the USS Mahan.
In 1962, he became director of athletics at the Naval Academy, a position he held for three years until assuming command of a destroyer squadron and flotilla. His last active-duty position was in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He retired from the military in 1971.
Capt. Busik was appointed executive director of the Naval Academy Alumni Association in 1971, a position he held for 23 years. Under his leadership, the organization doubled in size to 34,000 members and raised $17 million for construction of Alumni Hall, where a wing bears his name.
He chaired First Night Annapolis, an annual alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration, and was a board member of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. He was chairman of the Robert Means Thompson Society, an academy fundraising association. And he was a national director of the Navy League and a 33-year member of the Annapolis Rotary Club.
His wife of 24 years, Margaret K. Andrus, died in 1967.
Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Virginia Read Busik of Annapolis; three children from his first marriage, Susan Busik Kern of Allentown, Pa., William Busik of Annapolis and Thomas Busik of Bend, Ore.; two stepchildren, Leslie Wilmott of New York City and Robert Wood of Incline, Nev.; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
for 23 years.