Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Wimbish to witness VMI’s try at history

Former kicker will be in attendance as Keydets vie for title

- BY JOHN O’CONNOR

VMI kicker Jerry Rice against The Citadel on Saturday will receive substantia­l support in spirit from an observer who knows the job and will be among Foster Stadium’s socially distanced 3,000 fans.

Lee Wimbish, a Collegiate graduate who was the kicker on VMI’s last team with a winning record — 6-3-1 in 1981 — will be in Lexington for the regular-season finale that could net the

Lee Wimbish was among the final college kickers to utilize a straight-on style of kicking while at VMI.

Keydets the Southern Conference championsh­ip, the program’s first trip to the FCS playoffs, and The Silver Shako Trophy, which goes to the victor in the Military

Classic of the South.

Wimbish played his position from a different angle.

He was among the college game’s final wave of straight-on kickers. There may have been another kickoff man in early-1980s Southern Conference competitio­n who booted straight-on, but Wimbish can recall only soccerstyl­e field-goal and PAT specialist­s around the league when he played.

“It was kind of going that way,” said Wimbish, also a standout defensive lineman at Collegiate but strictly a kicker at VMI.

He handled business with a square-toed cleated shoe, and still has a few of them in his home in the Washington, D.C., area. Wimbish for most of his time at VMI tied a shoestring from the square-toed portion of his shoe behind his ankle to stabilize his lower leg, “and that led to a stronger kick, I think,” he said.

Wimbish kicked a 52yard FG against Richmond in 1980.

Wimbish, 59, served three decades in the military following his 1984 graduation from VMI, with tours in Bosnia and Iraq, among other duty stations. He remains affiliated with the Army as a civilian.

“I enjoy working with soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” said Wimbish.

Wimbish, who has seen most of the Keydets’ spring-semester games on-line, recognized the direction of sixth-year coach Scott Wachenheim as “superb.” Wimbish will be joined by former classmates in the seats at Foster Stadium as the No. 15 Keydets (5-1, 5-1 SoCon) try to extend a historic, albeit oddly-timed, season.

 ?? 1980, TIMES-DISPATCH ?? Lee Wimbish kicked for the 6-3-1 VMI team from 1981, the last Keydets team to finish with a winning record. This year’s Keydets are 5-1.
1980, TIMES-DISPATCH Lee Wimbish kicked for the 6-3-1 VMI team from 1981, the last Keydets team to finish with a winning record. This year’s Keydets are 5-1.
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