Hometown: Lexington, KY (High)
Date of Birth: October 7, 1894
Date of Death: January 28, 1946 [Georgia Tech - 54 - 26]
Legal Name: William Rodes
Nickname: William "Black Doc" Rodes (More)
Additional Photos: (1) (2) (3)
Game by Game Statistics
Kentucky Career Notes:
Multi-Sport Player [Football and Baseball]
Brother in-law of Richard Barbee
Post-UK Career Notes:
Served in the Military
Obituary - 'Doc' Rodes Dies Suddenly at Hearing in Frankfort, Lexington Herald (January 29, 1946)
William (Doc) Rodes, 51, vice president and treasurer of the Union Transfer and Storage Company and prominently associated with the trucking industry in Kentucky, died suddenly in the gallery of the House of Representatives at Frankfort at 9:30 o'clock last night.
Mr. Rodes was in Frankfort in the interests of passage of the bill to increase weight and length limits on trucks and was seated in the gallery listening to the heated discussion of the measure to liberalize Kentucky's truck regulations.
When he felt the fatal attack coming on he called for help and another spectator interrupted the debate by calling, "Doc Rodes is dying up here."
The House went into recess and a call was made for water. Rep. Edward F. Prichard Sr., Paris Democrat, asked the sergeant at arms to unlock the balcony door and get fresh air into the balcony.
Drs. R.M. Coblin and F.M. Travis of Frankfort attended Mr. Rodes and soon announced that he was dead. They expressed the belief that he was stricken by a heart attack.
Not Ill Recently
Members of his family said last night that he had not been ill recently and was believed to be in excellent health. He had been traveling extensively in Kentucky in the interests of the trucking measure.
Mr. Rodes had been engaged in the trucking and storage business in Lexington since 1919. He and O.B. Murphy acquired the Murphy Transfer Company in that year soon after receiving his discharge from the Army in which he served during World War I. A few weeks later the Murphy firm was merged with the Farley Transfer Company, headed by Dr. A.A. Crosby. The new firm was called the Union Transfer and Storage Company and its operators developed it into one of the largest trucking companies in Kentucky.
Mr. Rodes was a director of the Kentucky Trucking Association and served as an office of the organization.
Star U.K. Athlete
Long interested in athletics at the University of Kentucky, he was a football star at the school for three years before entering the Army in 1917.
After he was graduated from Lexington high school, he played on the U.K. freshman football and basketball teams in 1914 and was varsity quarterback on the 1915 and 1916 teams. Described by University officials as one of the greatest football players who ever performed in a Wildcat uniform, he was chosen as All-Southern quarterback in 1916.
Member of the 1916 Team
The 1916 Wildcat football team, still remembered by U.K. fans for its outstanding players, upset Tennessee in a scoreless Thanksgiving game and defeated Centre 68 to 0, but lost 45 to 0 to a great Vanderbilt team that was quarterbacked by "Rabbit" Curry and coached by Dan McGuglin.
The 1916 U.K. team was coached by Dr. John J. Tigert, now president of the University of Florida. Among the players were Congressman Earle Clements of Morganfield, Ernet McIlvain of Cynthiana and Howard Kinne, who was killed in action in France and for whom the University athletic field was named before it became known as Stoll Field.
Mr. Rodes, in addition to calling the signals for the Wildcat team did the punting and was widely known as a broken field runner. After the 1916 Vanderbilt game Coach McGugin said, "If you would give me Doc Rodes, I would say he was a greater player than Curry."
Besides football, Mr. Rodes played basketball and baseball at the University.
With practically all other members of the 1916 football team, he entered military service in 1917 and was a member of the first Army officers' training school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and served with the American forces overseas.
After returning to Lexington, he coached the University freshman football team and in 1923 served as assistant coach under Jack Winn. Later he became a member of the University's athletic council and served until 1938.
He was a son of the late J. Waller and Betty Powell Rodes and was born Oct. 7, 1894. His father, who died in 1912, was a prominent Lexington banker and a Fayette county Democratic leader. Mr. Rodes was a member of the Maxwell Street Presbyterian church.
Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Margaret Gore Rodes, a native of Bardstown; three daughters, Mrs. Robert Taliaferro and Misses Sarah and Carolina Rodes, all of Lexington; three brothers, J. Waller Rodes and Robert M. Rodes, Lexington, and Brig. Gen. Peter Powell Rodes, Camp Dix, N.J.; three sisters, Mrs. William Leaphart, Missoula, Mont., Mrs. Stanfield Arnold, Dansville, N.Y., and Mrs. Richard Barbee, Lexington, and two grandchildren, Robert Ryland Taliaferro Jr. and Sallie Cornell Taliaferro.
The body was removed to the C.A. Baker funeral home.
Newspaper Article - Rodes Was Greatest UK Football Player, 'Bo' Tells Optimists, Kentucky Kernel (June 14, 1938)
William "Doc" Rodes was the greatest football player ever turned out at the University of Kentucky.
That is what Alvin "Bo" McMillin, head football coach at Indiana and member of the Summer Session coaching school faculty, told members of the Lexington Optimist club when he spoke at their luncheon-meeting last week.
McMillin, former Centre college grid star, related his youthful ambition to be as good a player as was Rodes.
Also selected for special mention as University of Kentucky football "greats" were John G. Heber, head coach at Henry Clay High School, and the Downing brothers, "Gip," "Dad" and Dewey. . .