Basketball 04

William "Bill" Louis Stephens

October 15, 1941 ~ October 23, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old

William "Bill" Stephens Obituary

William “Bill” Louis Stephens, 82, of Winfield, Kansas passed away October 23, 2023 at Cumbernauld Village in Winfield.

Bill was born on October 15, 1941 in Walnut, Kansas to parents Andra Pat Stephens and Ernestine Olive (Kusel) Stephens. He graduated from Erie High School before going to Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas on an athletic scholarship.

While at Southwestern, he lettered all four years in football, basketball and track and was later inducted into the Southwestern Sports Hall of Fame.  

After graduating from Southwestern, he taught and coached at the high school in Coldwater, Kansas and then worked as an assistant basketball coach at Friends University in Wichita. While at Friends, he met the love of his life, Paula Brown, and the couple was married in the University Friends Church in 1969.

In 1969, Bill returned to his college alma mater with his new wife Paula, as assistant basketball coach under Bob Hower. While working at Southwestern he finished his Masters of Science at Pittsburg State University in Emporia, Kansas in 1970. Stephens was named head basketball coach, taking on the athletic director position when Hower was killed in a car accident in 1972.

Bill remained athletic director at Southwestern until 2007. Over the years at SC he coached basketball (11 years), tennis, football, and golf, and despite numerous conference championships (three in basketball and 14 in golf) the achievement of which he was the most proud was the graduation rate of his basketball players.

Bill also spearheaded the 1998 completion of a 1.5 million dollar, three-phase renovation to update Southwestern’s Stewart Field House into a modern athletic facility. Built in 1924, it is the oldest field house still in use for its original purpose.   

Bill loved coaching, gardening, growing flowers, and vegetables, keeping his yard pristine, and golfing. But most of all, he loved his family.

Bill is survived by his wife Paula Stephens, son Andy Paul Stephens (Becky), daughter Jill Ann Schiltz (Matt), grandchildren Alec Paul Stephens, Grace Olivia Schiltz and Annabeth Rose Schiltz, and sister Mary Stephens O’Neil of Parsons, Kansas. He is preceded in death by his parents and sister Patricia (Patty) Lou Hinshaw.

According to Bill’s wishes, there will be a private family interment at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Southwestern College Athletic Department, contributions may be left in the care of the Shelley Family Funeral Home in Winfield.  

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