Special ceremony honoring pilot of space shuttle Columbia held at Commander William McCool Academy

The Lubbock ISD magnet campus named in his memory honored his legacy Monday morning.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 6:55 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Willie McCool, a Coronado high school graduate, was one of seven astronauts on the STS-107 mission that ended catastrophically 16 minutes prior to its scheduled landing upon re-entry, killing all 7 crew members. The Lubbock ISD magnet campus named in his memory honored his legacy Monday morning.

“Too many times names on buildings and parks become something people just say, and don’t even think about the contributions that those people made to get it.” Dale Somers said.

Dale Somers is a childhood best friend and former classmate of Willie McCool. He remembers Willie as a man who always had a smile on his face.

“Classmates talked about their memories of Willie and the one thing that was universal was his smile,” Somers said.

His legacy wasn’t just shared through friends but also his family. Willie’s father, Barry McCool, spoke on his son’s legacy and the impact the Lubbock community felt with the McCool family 20 years ago.

“It is very important to us that as long as all of these astronauts are remembered... all of them... that their legacy will be carried on to future generations,” McCool said.

Commander McCools’ widow owns a video dedicated to the life of her husband, never before seen until Monday morning. It was the first time commander McCool’s father saw it, leaving him speechless. He later told us the best example of his son’s legacy was the outpouring of support from around the world after his son’s death. Commander William McCool believed in a world without borders and considered everybody equal.