A native of Cimarron, New Mexico, William Morley enrolled in
the Columbia School of Mines in 1899.
During his first year on the gridiron for Columbia, the Lions played to
an 8-3 record, including a historic victory over Yale. Morley and his teammate Harold Weekes
comprised a daunting Columbia backfield that was known for exciting runs and
devastating blocks, which set the tone for Columbia's 5-0 win over the Elias,
the second-ever win over Yale in Columbia football history.
Throughout his career on the field as a player, Morley and
Columbia recorded a 23-11 mark. Morley
earned a reputation as an aggressive player, at both the quarterback and
halfback positions, while also excelling in the kicking game. His stellar play earned him the honor of captain
of the 1900 squad.
Morley's success as a brutish, yet swift, runner earned him
a pair of Walter Camp All-American awards.
He received his first All-American honor in 1900, and then again the
Morley, a 1971 National Football Foundation College Hall of
Fame inductee, became the first Columbia graduate to become the head football
coach in 1902. The summer of 1902 was
one of many changes for Morley, as he went from being slated as the 1902
captain, to leaving Columbia altogether to begin his mining career, then
returning back to the City of New York to take over the coaching duties.
In his four-year tenure as Columbia's head football coach
from 1902-1905, Morley posted a 26-11-4 record, including a 9-1 mark in the
1903 campaign. To this day, his .688
career winning percentage is still the best of any football coach in school
Outside of football, Morley also competed on the wrestling
mat. The man who created his legacy on
the football field was also recognized for wining Columbia's heavyweight
wrestling championship in the spring of 1902.
Morley needed only 14 seconds to put his opponent into a half Nelson
hold and secure a fall.