Remembering an IC Legend

Remembering an IC Legend | William D. “Bill” Merris ’56 H’01

Coach Merris once said: “I think the people are what make IC unique. The people at Illinois College are the most important part.” For students, staff, faculty and friends, Bill embodied the kind of life-changing people that are found at Illinois College. The beloved coach died on June 13, 2023, just a week short of his 93rd birthday on June 20.

Memorial tribute gifts 
Help us remember the legendary coach who made a difference on the Hilltop for so many people with his stories, humor, generosity and love for the Illinois College community. Coach Merris was a lifelong IC athletics fan, and it was his hope and the wish of his family that memorial gifts be made to support athletics at Illinois College. When you make a gift to the Illinois College Varsity Club in Bill’s memory, you are supporting over 400 student-athletes on the Hilltop. Join the Illinois College Varsity Club today.

Thank you to the following alumni and friends who have made a gift to Illinois College in memory of Bill. 

Terry and Mary Airsman
Airsman-Hires Funeral Home
Douglas Awe
Daniel Beard
Gerry ’78 and Mary Ann Beard 
Joy French Becker ’67
Rebecca Birdsell ’85
Daniel ’72 and Vickie Ware Brooks ’72
Jim ’66 and Kaye Bruner
Rick ’81 and Sue Conner Bystry ’84 P’16 
Katie Carls 
Amy Pearson Carriger ’92 P’23
Jill Bergschneider Copeland ’96
David ’88 and Lucy Chipman Earhart ’90
James and Marilyn Engelbrecht P’99
John ’61 and Doris Gustine Fairfield ’62
Barbara A. Farley
Terry Geirnaeirt
Frances Goetze
Evelyn Gonzalaz
Elizabeth Becker and Alban Haxhinasto ’02
James ’73 and Nancy Heafner P’99 P’04 P’06
Kristan Becker Hoffman
Amy Rourke Jones 
Linda Longergan
Greg ’88 and Liz Airsman May ’91
Bob Merris ’53
David ’72 and Ellen Rammelkamp Miller ’72
Dan ’73 and Anita Nash P’07
Gray ’99 and Lauren Noll
Todd and Maribeth Oliver P’26 
Ted Pardo ’69
Bob ’71 and Dee Dee Erwin Pearson ’70
Glen ’71 and Rebecca Duncan Phillips ’74
Phil ’86 and Nancy Pohlman
Winston Rogers ’82
Meghan Roman
Jim ’69 and Mary Marshall Scheider ’72
Kris and Amy  Robson Schwiderski ’91 P’22
Marcia Short ’86
Les Stevens
David ’10 and Ashley Yates Stewart ’10
Russ ’78 and Kate Vidakovich Taylor ’78
Rebecca Virgin
Dean Welch
Jeff ’77 and Gale Weglarz Wessler ’77
Patrick ’78 and Lynn Clancy Whalen ’78
John Williams P’06
Larry Zettler and Elizabeth Rellinger Zettler

Interested in honoring Coach Merris in another way?
Please contact Katie Carls, executive director of the Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement at or 217.245.3832