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Bill Bates
  • Charter Inductee KSHOF 1961
  • First athletic director at what became Wichita State
  • Led Southwestern College to national prominence on the hardwood by posting a 62% winning percentage.
  • Coached fellow Hall of Famer Art Kahler.
Bates, Bill
Inducted 1961

Graduated: Brown University, 1900


Known simply as "Coach Bill" to the students at Southwestern (Winfield, KS) College, Willis Sherman Bates coached the school to national prominence in basketball, winning 62 percent of his games (164-61) from 1914-26.

Career Highlights

Following his graduation from Brown University, Bates became the first athletic director and coached all sports at Fairmount College (Wichita State). He transferred to Southwestern College in Winfield in 1914 where he guided the team into the national spotlight. His Southwestern basketball teams were among the finest in the country from 1920-1922, reaching the finals of the AAU National Tournament, known at the time as the most prominent tournament in the country. His 1921 team finished second in the AAU tourney and the 1923 team placed third. From 1918-1920, Bates' teams won 27 of 28 games. The 1920 team finished as undefeated state champions. Bates coached four All-Americans at Southwestern including fellow Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Art Kahler.