William Dennard (Football, Track and Field)
Earning the praise of a coach takes hard work and is often very humbling. To do so from coaching legends is indeed, quite a feat. Dr. William "Bill" Dennard did just that from both his Football and Track & Field coaches while at the University of New Mexico. "Dennard is the finest all around athlete I have ever seen," said UNM Football Coach Gwinn Henry Sr.. A football and track letterman, Dennard made his mark in UNM Athletics.
Originally from Florida, Dennard came to UNM in 1932. His athletic accomplishments were nothing short of impressive. As a halfback for the football team, his accomplishments include being named all-conference and being part of the 1934 Border Conference Champion team. A leading rusher for the team, Dennard also split time as quarterback with fellow Hall of Honor inductee, Abie Paiz. Many of Dennard's teammates have been recognized throughout the years as being some of the top athletes to ever come out of UNM. Dennard more than stands in their company. Another teammate and Hall of Honor inductee, Ralph Bowyer said "Bill Dennard was the best football player I ever saw."
Dennard's most impressive accomplishments came in Track and Field. He was the first UNM track athlete to run the 100-yard-dash in under ten seconds. Running the 100-yard-dash in 9.7 seconds - the world record was 9.4 seconds - he held UNM records in the 100, the 220-yard-dash and the 220 low hurdles. Dennard's record for the 220 low hurdles (24.0 seconds) stood for more than 23 years. Roy Johnson, one of the patriarchs of UNM athletics and Dennard's Track & Field Coach, stated that Dennard was in a class of his own in both the 100-yard-dash and the 220 low hurdles.
After graduating from UNM in 1936, Dennard went on to be a highly successful oral surgeon. He practiced for more than 42 years, five of which were in the U.S. Navy. He was a leader in the dental profession in New Mexico and was a mentor for several UNM Athletes that followed him. According to Gwinn "Bub" Henry III, Dr. Dennard was known as "the father of Oral Surgery in New Mexico". He was the first New Mexican to be accepted into the American Society of Oral Surgery in 1965. Dr. Dennard used his dental skills to help give back to the community by providing thousands of hours of dental work and oral surgery pro bono to those unable to pay for such services.
Dr. Dennard had a passion for giving back in all facets of life. Among his many accomplishments and volunteer work he served as the President of the State Dental Association, the President of the New Mexico Booster Club (now known as the Lobo Club), and the President for the UNM Lettermen's Club (now known as the Alumni Lettermen's Association. Long time friend and fellow Hall of Honor inductee, Bob Barney said that Dr. Dennard was "a man for all seasons" and that he was a great athlete, leader and family man.