Class of 2024

Bill Billman, Unity, St. Joseph-Ogden


A lot of people can state that they wrestled in an IHSA Individual Finals championship match, coached an individual in a state title match, officiated in an Individual championship match, coached a team in an IHSA Dual Team championship meet or officiated in a state title dual meet. But Bill Billman is one of the few individuals that actually achieved all of those high points during a 40-year officiating career in addition to a 10-year run as a head coach that followed his time competing at Unity and Illinois State University. The 1980 Unity graduate wrestled for coach Joe Summerville, a 2004 IWCOA Hall of Fame inductee, where he was the sixth of seven brothers to wrestle at the school in Tolono and was the most improved wrestler in 1979 and the most valuable wrestler in 1980 and the school's male athlete of the year when the senior capped a 26-6 season by taking second place at 119 in the IHSA Class A Individual Finals to the state's first four-time state champion, Providence Catholic junior Mark Ruettiger, a 1995 IWCOA Hall of Fame inductee. With the encouragement of his coach, he eventually went on to compete at Illinois State University and graduated from there in 1986. In 1987, he returned to Unity and was able to coach multiple sports at the school that he attended. He succeeded his coach and led Unity for four seasons during which time the Rockets went 60-31. His 1988-89 team went 21-5 and took second place to Mahomet-Seymour in the IHSA Class A Dual Team Finals. His 1989-90 team finished 22-1 and reached the quarterfinals of the Class A Dual Team Finals and his 1990-91 team lost in the dual team sectional finals. He had 14 state qualifiers, three champions, two runners-up and two third-place finishers at Unity, and he was inducted into his school's athletic hall of fame in 2019. He became St. Joseph-Ogden's head coach in 1991-92 and remained there for six seasons where he won 40 dual meets to give him 100 wins for his career and he had four state qualifiers and two runners-up. He was an agricultural and physical education teacher at St. Joseph-Ogden for 33 years, which included his four years of coaching at Unity. A licensed official since 1983 who had worked many IKWF and IWF matches during his coaching years, he became a full-time official in 1997. He worked 22 regionals, 15 sectionals and 10 IHSA Finals during his career and received 40 Year IHSA Wrestling Official Recognition.