William Ellis Atkins (November 19, 1934 - November 5, 1991) was an American football defensive back and punter from Auburn University who played for the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League, and in the American Football League for the Buffalo Bills, the New York Titans/Jets, and the Denver Broncos. He was an AFL All-Star in 1961.
On January 8, 1966, Atkins was named the head coach of the Troy State Trojans football team. In 1968, he coached Troy State to an NAIA National Championship and was named the NAIA Coach of the Year. Atkins finished at Troy State with a 44-16-2 record before leaving in 1971. He is the second-most winningest coach in Troy history, only behind Larry Blakeney.
Atkins' son, William Ellis Atkins, Jr., better known as Ace Atkins www.aceatkins.com, also played football at Auburn University on its 1993 undefeated team. Today, Ace Atkins is a New York Times-bestselling author of more than a dozen novels.
By Dean Hanley
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