Passages: Bill Stetson, Honored NISCA Swim Coach, Passed Away Peacefully At Age 85


William (Bill) Clark Stetson, Jr , most commonly known as Coach Bill Stetson passed away peacefully in the presence of his wife Jane on Mar 1, 2019 at age 85 in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Bill was married to Jane (nee Collins) for 63 years and is survived by his four children: Brad (Judy), Todd (Kathy), Lynn (Kathleen) and Jody (Mike) Nolan.  He leaves 16 grandchildren with two more on the way.

Bill was a standout high school swimmer for New Trier High School in Illinois where he became an Illinois State Champion in 1952.  His success earned him a swimming scholarship to Northwestern University, where he earned his Masters.  After graduation he became a teacher and coach at the Handy High School in at Bay City, MI where he coached All-Americans and a National High School record setting freestyle relay.

In 1962, Bill and Jane moved to Glenview, IL, where they became very visible and active community members. Bill was one the the original teachers at Glenbrook South High School when it was first built.  He went on to coach the swimming teams for 26 years.  Along the way he earned national recognition as the nation’s top contributor for scholastic swimming.  For his efforts, he received the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame award for his leadership and service to national high school swimming.

Bill’s legacy contribution will be his “Learn-To-Swim” program where he instructed high schoolers on how to teach toddlers and grade schoolers to swim. His creation and leadership of this program is responsible for tens of thousands of lessons providing young children with a critical life skill. His daughter, Jody, now leads the program in its 57th year.

In addition to his impact on the sport of swimming, Bill was a natural athlete winning the Glenview Men’s Tennis championship and enjoying his late night matches with friends and family.  A talented craftsman, Bill built furniture and remodeled homes. An outdoorsman from his youth camps in Wyoming, Bill also delighted in camping with his family across the country. More than anything, he believed in providing young people direction and then letting them find their way.

Bill will be missed by all those who enjoyed his energetic and outgoing personality.

Bill Stetson – Master of Ceremonies For NISCA Awards Banquet

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Hilton Head Firefighters’ Association, PO Box 23107, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925.

Island Packet contributed to this article