On Saturday, December 1, the Ferrum College community bid farewell to the coach who started the institution’s first competitive football program.
Samuel “Sam” Webb, hailing from Bluefield, VA, was born on February 12, 1926. He graduated from Concord College in 1951 and arrived at Ferrum College in 1955 as the head coach of the intramural six-man football team. Webb began the competitive football program by making recruiting calls from then-Ferrum College President Ralph Arthur’s office. The College also received generous donations of football equipment from University of Richmond; Virginia Tech; Virginia Military Institute; and Washington and Lee University; and Panther football was born.
During his time at Ferrum College, Webb also served as head basketball coach, head baseball coach, and athletic director. Health concerns forced him to resign after the spring of 1957 and he began a career in masonry and sales at Riverton Corporation in Salem, VA. Tom Berry, a 1957 Ferrum College alumnus, described Webb as “a mentor, friend and father figure to us all. He wore so many hats: football coach, basketball coach, baseball coach and athletic director. I don’t know how he did it all. It’s hard to describe the impact he’s had on my life. He was such a good person.”
Gary Holden, Ferrum College’s sports information director, along with President David Johns, visited Webb in Salem two days before he passed. “I got to know Sam fairly well a couple of years back when I was writing a book,” remarked Holden. “He was so humble and cared about others. I was able to talk with him privately a couple minutes before we left. I needed to say some things to him and I’m glad I did.”
Webb is survived by his son, Charlton Webb of Knoxville, TN, and his daughter and son-in-law, Whitney Webb Maddox and Rob Maddox, of Vinton, VA.
Read more about Coach Webb on Ferrum College’s athletics page here: https://www.ferrumpanthers.com/general/2018-19/releases/20181201gi3cb2 and at The Roanoke Times here: https://www.roanoke.com/sports/colleges/founding-father-of-ferrum-football-passes-away/article_a367d610-5fc4-5ad6-b4f6-19d104d89eee.html.