Bill Erickson

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Bill Erickson
Personal information
Born (1928-06-08)June 8, 1928
Died September 21, 1987(1987-09-21) (aged 59)
Rockford, Illinois
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school Rockford East (Rockford, Illinois)
College Illinois (1946–1950)
NBA draft 1950 / Round: 7 / Pick: 83rd overall
Selected by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks
Position Guard
Number 33
Career highlights and awards

William B. "Bill" Erickson (June 8, 1928 – September 21, 1987)[1][2] was an NCAA All-American basketball player at the University of Illinois during a career that spanned from 1947 to 1950, and then a player in the National Professional Basketball League for the Saint Paul Lights.[1][3]

High school[edit]

A native of Rockford, Illinois, Erickson attended Rockford East High School from 1942–43 to 1945–46.[1] He was a 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) guard who led the team to the final 16 of the Illinois High School Association state basketball tournament as a junior, and then a fourth-place finish in Illinois as a senior.[1] In his final year, Erickson was named First Team All-State by the Champaign News Gazette and Second Team All-State by the Chicago Daily News.[1]


Erickson chose to play basketball at Illinois after high school. He played in every single game during his four-year career and was a starter for the final three.[1] In his junior season of 1948–49, the Fighting Illini won the Big Ten Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Illinois would defeat Yale to earn a berth in the Final Four (only eight teams played in the tournament back then), but would lose to eventual national champion Kentucky, 76–47.[1] They would defeat Oregon State in the third place game, however.[1] After the season, Erickson was named to the All-Big Ten team and was dubbed a consensus Second Team All-American. He played one more season for Illinois, where once again was an All-Big Ten selection and this time an Honorable Mention All-American.[1] During his career as a Fighting Illini, every team had both winning conference and overall records.

Season Games Points PPG Big Ten
1946–47 20 61 3.1 8–4 14–6
1947–48 20 147 7.4 7–5 15–5
1948–49 25 261 10.4 10–2 21–4 NCAA Final Four
1949–50 22 229 10.4 7–5 14–8
Totals 87 698 8.0 32–16 64–23 1 appearance

Professional career and later life[edit]

Erickson was selected in the 1950 NBA Draft by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in a late round.[4] He never ended up playing for them, however, and instead played for one season in the NPBL after a stint touring with the Harlem Globetrotters (Erickson would always play for the Globetrotters' opponents).[1][3] In the NPBL he averaged 4.6 points per game.[1]

After his brief professional basketball career ended he returned home to Rockford. He coached high school basketball before starting the Rockford College men's basketball program, of which he was the first head coach.[1] Erickson also worked as personnel director for Elco Tool and Screw, and then later became the assistant vice president of American National Bank.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Gary, Alex (April 7, 2010). "College Stars: Bill Erickson goes from East to Illinois, Final Four". Rockford Register Star. Gatehouse Media, Inc. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Erickson, B William". Social Security Death Index (SSDI). 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "1950–51 National Professional Basketball League". The Association for Professional Basketball Research. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ "1950 NBA Draft". Sports Reference LLC. 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010.