Hall of Fame

William D. Emper

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

This two-time All-Ivy selection cornerback made his mark during his junior year. He was named the Outstanding Defensive Player in both the Columbia and Dartmouth games, held two of the nation’s leading receivers to four harmless catches, and was named captain for the 1976 season.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I am honored to be inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame. It is a privilege to be included in this select club.

I have vivid memories of our initial freshman football meeting my first week in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1973. There were one hundred of us that day. We were all trying to be friendly, yet also trying to look big and fast. Only Tom Winn looked fast and nobody really looked big. I didn’t know that, despite the competition, many of these guys would end up being life-long friends. I immediately had one hundred buddies. That helps when you’re eighteen and you’ve been transported from suburban Philadelphia to a room overlooking Harvard Square. A band of Hare Krishna, playing and chanting under my window all year long, defined the culture shock.

I was fortunate to have played on Harvard teams that competed every year for the Ivy championship. I was surrounded by talented athletes and coached by a great staff led by head coach Joe Restic and assistant coach Larry Glueck. I was a very small part of an excellent team that beat Yale for the championship in 1975 in front of 60,000 people at the Yale Bowl. Mike Lynch drilled the game-winning field goal from 26 yards. It would have been good from 27.

Football starts in August with grueling two-a-day practice sessions. We had only a nine-game schedule. Since out team was a contender it really came down to two or three big games. The intensity of those games was incredible. Win or lose, the struggle and the competition tested one’s resolve and will. I was fortunate to have had coaches and teammates to show me the way. We won some and we lost some, but we always supported one another regardless of individual effort and results.

Returning to the banquet room at the Back Bay Harvard Club will invoke special memories. I will never forget the Monday after the 1975 Yale game. I had been elected by my teammates to be the captain my senior year. My father, who along with my mother rarely missed any games, flew up from Philadelphia to join us that night. It was a great celebration and it felt good to enjoy it with my friends, teammates, and family.

My four-year stay at Harvard was a great college experience. When I arrived in 1973, I wouldn’t have dared to dream that my football career would be so rewarding. I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches, and administrators for their support. I congratulate Harvard University for continuing to allow young men and women to participate in intercollegiate athletics in a competitive environment that epitomizes the student-athlete experience.