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.

Celebration of Life | Sunday, October 15 | 10 to 11 a.m. | Sherman Gymnasium, Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center
Join us to celebrate the life of the longtime coach, professor and director of athletics who maintained strong ties to his alma mater throughout his life. The memorial will be held the Sunday of Homecoming Weekend. RSVP below. We invite you to share your favorite stories, memories and photos of Bill in any format using the form linked below. Any contributions may be featured on our website or as part of the tribute to Coach Merris during the event. 

RSVP for the Celebration of Life | Share your memories and photos of Bill

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.

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