Bill Cofield

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William Lawrence "Bill" Cofield (September 21, 1939 – June 20, 1983) was an American basketball coach and was the first African American head coach of a major sport in the Big Ten Conference when he was hired by the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976.

Background[edit]

Cofield was born and raised in Carrier Mills, Illinois.[1] He played college basketball at Casper Junior College in Casper, Wyoming and at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education in 1963. He received his master's degree in Physical Education from the University of Kentucky in 1967.[1]

Career[edit]

His first coaching assignment was at H.E. Davis Junior High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1963. After two years he was named to coach East-Technical High School in Cleveland, where his team went 20-1 in 1965-66.[1]

His first year of collegiate coaching came at Kentucky State University, where he spent one year as an assistant before being named to head the Lincoln University of Pennsylvania team. His two-year record of 38-12 included two conference championships and NAIA playoff berths.[1]

Cofield moved to Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas and posted a 57-48 record in four years. His 1972-73 squad went 19-8 and placed second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.[1]

Cofield became the nation's first black athletic director and head coach at a predominantly white institution of higher learning by accepting both positions at the College of Racine in 1973. Following a 14-15 season, the school went out of business. Cofield joined the University of Virginia staff, where he served as an assistant under head coach Terry Holland for two seasons prior to accepting the Wisconsin job.

Cofield coached at Wisconsin for six seasons.[2] His best team was his 1979-80 team, which posted a record of 15-14 and had future NBA players Wes Matthews and Claude Gregory on its roster.

Cofield is a member of the McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame. He died at age 43 in Madison, Wisconsin in 1983.

Head coaching record[edit]

NAIA[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Lincoln University (Pa.) () (1967–1969)
1967–1968 Lincoln University (Pa.) 19–3 1st NAIA Participant
1968–1969 Lincoln University (Pa.) 19–9 1st NAIA Participant
Lincoln University (Pa.): 38–12
Prairie View A&M (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (1969–1973)
1969–1970 Prairie View A&M 10–17
1970–1971 Prairie View A&M 14–12
1971–1972 Prairie View A&M 14–11
1972–1973 Prairie View A&M 19–8 2nd
Prairie View A&M: 57–48
College of Racine () (1973–1974)
1973–1974 College of Racine 14–15
College of Racine: 14–15
Total: 109–75

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

NCAA Division I[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference) (1976–1982)
1976–1977 Wisconsin 11–16 7–11 T–7th
1977–1978 Wisconsin 8–19 4–14 T–9th
1978–1979 Wisconsin 12–15 6–12 T–8th
1979–1980 Wisconsin 15–14 7–11 8th
1980–1981 Wisconsin 11–16 5–13 9th
1981–1982 Wisconsin 6–21 3–15 10th
Wisconsin: 63–101 35–76
Total: 63–101

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Wisconsin Basketball 1980-81". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  2. ^ "College Basketball Coaches: Bill Cofield". Stat Sheet.com. Retrieved 2009-07-08.