ALBUQUERQUE - Former record-setting Iowa State quarterback Bill Weeks, who as head football coach at New Mexico won more conference championships - three - than any head coach in the history of Lobo football, passed away Tuesday night at an Albuquerque hospital. Funeral arrangements are pending. Weeks' total of 3,028 career passing yards still ranks 10th on the all-time ISU passing list.
Taking over for Marv Levy as New Mexico head coach before the 1960 season at the young age of 31, Weeks' early teams set the standard by which all other New Mexico squads are measured. After starting his head coaching career 5-5 in 1960, Weeks and the Lobos embarked on the most successful four-year run in school history. In 1961, UNM finished 7-4 and won the Aviation Bowl with a 29-12 victory over Western Michigan.
Outright Western Athletic Conference titles in 1962 and '63 followed and the Lobos tied for the crown in 1964. From 1961-64, the Lobos won 29 games against just 12 losses and one tie for the best four-year record in program history.
Weeks spent eight years (1960-68) as head coach at New Mexico, compiling a career record of 40-41-1. He was the school's winningest football coach until current head coach Rocky Long surpassed him in September of 2005. Weeks was inducted into the University of New Mexico Athletic Hall of Honor in 2005, while his 1961 Lobo team was inducted in 1990.
Weeks graduated from Hampton, Iowa, High School in 1947 after an athletics career that included three football letters as a halfback (all-state as a senior), three basketball letters and two track letters.
He continued his career at Iowa State where he was starting quarterback for Coach Abe Stuber for two seasons (1949-50). Weeks was an all-Big Seven Conference choice in his junior and senior years and finished third in the nation in total offense in 1950. He led the Big Seven in passing as a junior and as a senior. Weeks' favorite target was another small town Iowa product (Beaver), All-American wide receiver Jim Doran. Iowa State went 5-3-1 in 1949, including an inspiring draw at highly-touted Illinois in 1949. Weeks passed for 155 yards in Champaign, Ill. as Iowa State, a four-touchdown underdog, fought to a 20-20 draw. The game ended with ISC on the Illini 10-yard line. Later that season at No. 3 Oklahoma, Weeks hit on 18-of-27 passes for a school record 281 yards in Norman, Okla. Doran was his go-to guy, catching eight passes for an NCAA record 203 yards, including an 87-yard bomb from Weeks. The Iowa State quarterback hit on 79-of-176 passes for 1,247 yards in 1949, breaking the previous conference single-season passing yards mark held by Missouri's Paul Christman.
As a senior in 1950, Week hit on 116-of-220 passes for 1,552 yards and nine TDs, breaking the Big Seven passing mark he set the previous season. Weeks was the first Big Seven quarterback to finish his career with more than 3,000 passing yards.
After his senior season, Weeks played in the East-West Shrine game and in the Hula Bowl. He was scheduled to play in the College All-Star Game in Chicago in the summer of 1951, but was called to active duty with the Marine Corps and was forced to miss the All-Star Classic. Following graduation from Iowa State in 1951, Weeks was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and signed a contract with them, but an automobile accident in which he nearly severed an Achilles tendon ended any possibility of a professional football career.
Upon completion of active duty with the Marines, Weeks returned to Iowa State for graduate work where he received a master's degree in psychology. He worked as a graduate assistant in 1953, coaching the Iowa State freshmen for one year (2-0).
Weeks' first full-time coaching job came in 1954 at Grinnell, Iowa, High School, a Class-A school playing football in a Class-AA conference. His first year record was only 4-5, but it marked the first time in 10 seasons that Grinnell had won a conference game.
Grinnell improved to 5-3-1 in 1955. After that year, Dick Clausen, then Lobo head football coach, called Weeks to join him at New Mexico.
Weeks was ends coach and chief scout on Clausen's staff for two years (1956-57), then took over as backfield coach under Levy in 1958-59. Weeks mentored fellow Iowa native Don Perkins, who rushed for 2,001 career yards and was named a third team All-America by the Associated Press in 1959.