Bill Van Leeuwen, a standout defensive lineman during some of the most successful years of the coach Don Coryell era at San Diego State, passed away June 10 in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Van Leeuwen, 66, was an undersized, cat-quick tackle in a 4-3 defensive alignment on the 1968 and ’69 Aztec teams that posted a combined record of 20-0-1.
Van Leeuwen concluded his four-season collegiate career having never been in a losing game.
A graduate of Anaheim Loara High, Van Leeuwen was a standout on Fullerton College squads in 1966 and ’67 that were 21-0-1.
For the last seven years, “Coach Van,” as he was known, was a volunteer assistant coach for the Wickenburg High Wranglers.
“He was one of a handful of Division I defensive tackles that played at 205 pounds,” said teammate Del Pifer. “Small man, big heart.”
“Bill Van Leeuwen was a great friend and teammate,” said Fred Dryer, who played defensive end on the ’68-69 teams before going on to a 14-year career in the NFL. “He was an inspiration to me and to his many friends. It truly is a sad day.”
No services were held. A memorial is planned.