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Joe and Eloise Agee to lead 2009 Homecoming Parade

  • 2009 Grand marshals
    2009 Grand marshals  Joe '52, M.Ed. '56 and Eloise Agee '53 will serve as the grand marshals of William & Mary's 2009 Homecoming Parade.  Photo courtesy of the W&M Alumni Association
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Joe '52, M.Ed. '56 and Eloise Bryant Agee '53 have seen William & Mary from every possible angle: courtside at basketball games, from the baseball dugout, the football sidelines and even the golf course. But there's one angle that will be new in 2009: Homecoming Grand Marshals.

"It's such an honor and a thrill to be selected because I feel like it's somebody who's really special and outstanding who's selected for this," says Eloise. "We certainly don't feel like we're in that category, but we are very flattered that somebody thought we were."

It's not hard to think so. Joe Agee played baseball and basketball as a student and came back to campus in 1958 to coach football and basketball. The litany of sports continued: he went on to coach baseball, took the head soccer coach job when it was in danger of being dropped and even served as interim director of the athletic fundraising effort. Agee served as head golf coach for 35 years-from 1964 to 1999.

"I try to spread myself so that I can say I'm truthfully involved with everything that's going on," he says. "Not only athletically, but academically."

Eloise was an Alpha Chi Omega during her time at the College and has fond memories of staying up all night working on their Homecoming floats. Since then, she stayed home with their children-Gayle '79, Joe Jr. '78 and Mark-and then taught second and third grades in the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools for 22 years. She's also served as advisor for William & Mary's Alpha Chi Omega chapter, returning to the sorority house every year after the parade.

"[Homecoming] was a big event," she says. "From the time school started, you would look forward to Homecoming. It was always worth it-a very special and memorable occasion."

Joe remembers the 1983 Homecoming fondly, as it brought the family to Zable Stadium to watch father, son and grandfather be recognized for three generations of membership in the Order of the White Jacket. "That gave me the greatest pleasure," Joe Sr. says.
For the Agees, Homecoming 2009 will be another milestone for a family whose William & Mary roots go back to Joe's uncle's graduation in 1909. He considers that history "ivy on the wall."

"We're just looking forward to a great day and all the fanfare, being with all our old friends and meeting new ones," Eloise says. "We feel very appreciative and very flattered."

"I look forward to the pride we'll have in leading the parade down Duke of Gloucester Street," says Joe. "I've watched many of them. I don't have any tricks I'm trying to pull; otherwise keeping my mouth shut and waving."

With 55 years of marriage between them, Eloise only laughs. "That'll be a miracle!"

The HOMECOMING PARADE starts at 9 a.m., beginning on Duke of Gloucester Street, running down Richmond Road past the Alumni House, down Brooks Street and finishing at William & Mary Hall.