Founding father of MacMurray Athletics passes away
August 7, 2014
William “Bill” Wall passed away on Monday in Bermuda Dunes, CA.
Wall started at MacMurray in 1957 as their first basketball coach and successfully led the Highlanders for 18 basketball seasons (1957-75). His most successful season was 1961 where he led the Highlanders to their only berth in the NCAA Division II basketball championships. During his time at MacMurray, Wall also served as MacMurray’s first athletic director, chaired the physical education department, and was a teacher. Additionally, he served as the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1972 and executive director of the same organization from 1973-75.
Head basketball coach Todd Creal said, “His lasting impact is on the men and women of MacMurray College, both students and staff who fondly remember their former coach, teacher and mentor. He was a passionate man that spoke out for what he believed to be right. Even through challenges his love and passion for MacMurray College persevered.”
Wall remained very connected with the MacMurray community throughout his years. Sharon Mather ’04 stated, “Bill Wall was a larger than life person who filled a room with his personality and his stories.” She also recalled receiving calls from him every couple weeks to tell stories of his time at MacMurray when she was serving as alumni director for MacMurray College.
In 1975, Wall left MacMurray College to become executive director of the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America (ABAUSA), a position he held for 18 years. During his tenure, Wall led the transition that allowed NBA players to be eligible for international competition and shepherded ABAUSA’s transition to USA Basketball. Wall’s first USA team of NBA players was the 1992 “Dream Team,” which captured the gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He became a driving force of USA Olympic basketball.
For his work, Wall was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 in a class of inductees including Larry Bird, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Jud Heathcote.
Athletic Director Scott McClure said, “Bill Wall set a standard of excellence as an administrator, coach, teacher and mentor during the formative years of Highlander athletics.” He continued, “Our current coaches and staff members continue to work hard to maintain the level of success and standards that Bill Wall established here at MacMurray College.”