Bill Armstrong


During his senior season of 1976, on the way to accumulating the most unassisted tackles in Wake Forest history, Bill Armstrong was paid one of his highest compliments by an opposing coach. Vanderbilt's Fred Pancoast revealed after playing the Demon Deacons that he had two of his "scout team" players wear No. 19, Armstrong's number, and had both of them on the field at the same time throughout practice the week before the Vandy-Wake game.

Using 12 men on the field?

"That's the only way to prepare for him," Pancoast explained.

Opponents and fans alike appreciated Armstrong's aggressive, non-stop play throughout the 1974, 1975 and 1976 seasons. A first-team All-ACC selection, he repeated that honor in 1976 and added to it considerably. In that season, he became Wake Forest's first consensus football All-American.

Armstrong, who began his Deacon career as a quarterback before switching to defense as a sophomore, is atop the WFU career defensive chart with 271 unassisted tackles, matching the total compiled by Ed Stetz. Armstrong is one of only four players in school history to record more than 400 overall tackles, finishing his career with 402.

As a senior, he was named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week five times while averaging nearly 12 stops per contest.

"I learned early on that no matter how big the man is, if you hit him harder than he hits you, he'll go down," Bill once said.

He received the Arnold Palmer Award as the university's outstanding male athlete, and in 1996, he was inducted into the WFU Hall of Fame. Armstrong was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team in 2002, and he was Wake's representative in the inaugural class of ACC Legends in 2005. His jersey number, 19, is retired.


Jim Simons


Wake Forest tradition-rich men's golf program is filled with individuals of outstanding ability and the honors to match. Unquestionable worthy of inclusion in that elite group is Jim Simons, who in 1971 nearly became the first amateur in 38 years to win the U.S. Open.

From the days when he would ride his bicycle at age nine to the Butler (Pa.) Country Club and play throughout the summer mornings and afternoons, to his tremendous career at Wake Forest in the early 1970s, then on to a successful stint as a professional player, Simons has known golf success.

He originally attended the University of Houston, but he transferred to WFU after one year and helped the Demon Deacons win back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference championships in 1971 and 1972. In '71, he was named the Collegiate Golfer of the Year after earning a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team, making the finals of the British Amateur and leading the U.S. Open after three rounds. He finished fifth in that event. Since 1933, only runner-up Jack Nicklaus (1960) has turned in a better performance by an amateur in the Open.

In 1972, Simons captured the ACC individual title and received Wake Forest's highest honor, the Arnold Palmer Award as the school's top male athlete. He also gained his second straight first team All-America honor.

Simons, who was legally blind, played with two contact lenses in one eye. His early professional career was slowed by physical aliments, but he recovered to win three PGA tour events and earn nearly $1 million. In 1982, he became the second player to win on the Tour while using a metal driver.

Jim Simons passed away on December 8th, 2005.

Golf and Wake Forest University have long shared a special relationship. Jim Simons has added significantly to that storied tradition and was inducted into the WFU Sports Hall of Fame on January 12, 1996.


Brick Smith


As a standout high school athlete, Brick Smith was forced to choose among his three pursuits of football, basketball and baseball. Fortunately for Wake Forest, he chose the latter of the three.

From 1978 through 1981, there was no player more productive - or more honored - in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Smith was an all-conference selection in all four of those seasons, a feat unmatched in the history of Demon Deacon baseball, and in his senior campaign he was named the ACC Player of the Year. Smith hit .410 with 18 homers and 45 RBI to earn Player of the Year honors.

All-America honors came as well during that memorable spring when Smith ranked second in the nation in slugging percentage and fourth nationally with an ACC record (at that time) 18 home runs. He completed his career as the Deacon all-time leader in runs scored, homers and runs batted in. Smith was a 1981 All-America selection by both the American Baseball Coaches Association and Baseball America.

Following his graduation from WFU, Smith entered the professional baseball ranks in the Seattle Mariners organization. As a first baseman, he battled a series of physical setbacks to maintain a path toward his goal of the major leagues. In 1986, he hit .344 with 101 RBI at Birmingham.

Finally, in September of 1987, then again the following spring, he reached the pinnacle of his profession with the Mariners. It had required much dedication, discipline and hard work, not to mention three elbow operations and overcoming a serious back problem, but he did make it. Smith was in the Majors with the Mariners for both the 1987 and 1988 seasons.

Brick Smith was inducted into the WFU Sports Hall of Fame on January 12, 1996. He was selected to the ACC's 50th Anniversary Team in 2002.

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