Bearden, West Remember Coach Bill Wilson

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) - Plenty of big games on the high school gridiron in week one Friday night, but perhaps none as emotional as the Bearden/West contest.

It's the first game in a long time that legendary Coach Bill Wilson won't be on the sidelines.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has more on the man everyone seemed to love.

There is another coach named Bill that paced both the Bearden and West sidelines just like Coach Wilson. This is the story of the "two" Bills.

"You know when I read in the paper Bill WIlson coaching at Bearden, I'm kind of like what? Are you kiddin' me?" West High School athletic director Chris Lindsay said.

It was a shock when West's long-time retired football coach resurfaced in 2006 at the Rebels' arch rival, the Bearden Bulldogs.

"And I was shocked when Billy took the job, but I thought it was an excellent choice," coach Bill Young said.

The two Bills, Wilson and Young, had careers that intertwined over the years. Bill Young was head coach at West in the 70s and Bill Wilson was his assistant. Then Young went to Bearden. Wilson took over the Rebels and the friends mixed in rivalry to their friendship, but it's obvious this Bill misses the other Bill in more ways than one.

"You know I miss his spirit, just him being around. It kind of livened things up and when you see him, he was always jovial, real friendly," Young said.

But there was one thing Coach Young really didn't like about Coach Wilson and that was his five-three defense.

"It turns out he's pretty much a genius, I guess. Because everybody's playing a three-three or a lot of people are which is a variation of the five-three that Bill was running back in the 70s. So maybe he was ahead of his time a little bit," Young said.

So, this Bill will be back at Bearden High Friday night, not for the Bulldogs, or even his one-time Rebels, but for the other Bill. The Bill he
calls friend.

"I will be at the game tonight with Bearden and West, and so it's going to be kind of strange not seeing him on either sidelines," Young said.


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