One of my dear friends in coaching, Bill Wall, former head basketball coach of and “founding father of MacMurray College athletics,” died on August 4. He was 83.
Bill had an amazing career that spanned four decades and nearly every area of basketball, from small college to global, from coach to executive, and his work influenced basketball as we know it and compete in it today.
He was MacMurray’s first basketball coach and, during his two decade tenure, served as head coach and as the school’s first athletic director, chaired the physical education department and taught.
Bill was president (1972) of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and also served as the NABC Executive Director from 1973-75 while he was still at MacMurray. He was one of the first small college representatives on the NABC board.
Bill Wall led USA Basketball as executive director from its 1975 beginnings as the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States, the first organization to include representatives of all basketball organizations. He led the transition allowing NBA players to compete in the Olympics, most notably our 1992 Olympic Dream Team.
His achievements and service brought him prestigious lifetime recognition:
- Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award — 1994
- FIBA Order of Merit for his lifetime service to the game – 1994
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame — inducted 2004
- Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame — inducted 2009
Bill Wall is certainly a legend of the game.
I knew him best as a fellow Marysville Monarch from the Class of 1949 (Marysville, Ohio.) When I would see him at the national finals and other basketball events, he would call out to me, “Hey ‘Ville!” and I would respond, “Go Monarchs!”
I like to think that Marysville, Ohio may be the only town in the United States to produce two NABC presidents.
Rest in peace, Bill Wall. You served faithfully and well.
I appreciated being able to find factual information for this post from the following organizations:
- MacMurray College
- Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
- Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
- USA Basketball
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Photos: MacMurray College Athletic Department, USA Basketball