By Nelson Coffin
Though it is a cliché, the saying that “a good coach can change a game, and a great coach can change a life” aptly describes William “Billy” McRoberts to a tee, according to St. John’s Catholic Prep athletic director Peter Strickland.
“Billy coaches our cross country runners with a devotion that, even when measured against the extraordinarily high standard of devotion displayed by coaches in general, grades out in the absolute top percentile.”
It starts with MvRoberts’ nurturing of freshman class after freshman class, Strickland said.
“By sheer force of his good will, Billy recruits, then instructs, then prods, then challenges the newcomers every fall,” Strickland added. “Without Billy’s line of influence – summarized best by the words ‘care’ and ‘love,’ many of our freshmen would simply not feel like SJCP was for them.
“Billy just will not let them not like their first year at SJCP, and he just will not let them not like running. When I hear a freshman is on the cross country team, I relax, knowing that that student-athlete is going to be a-okay.”
As for upperclassman runners, McRoberts mentors them equally as well, Strickland said.
“Billy’s practices are a sight to behold and a true living workshop in building young leaders where they didn’t exist before,” he said.
McRoberts said that he is humbled and blessed to be honored by the IAAM.
“Coaching alongside some of the finest coaches who truly understand how to motivate, encourage and generate amazing athletes in the young women of IAAM is a privilege,” he said. “Every season is a new adventure with the young ladies.
“Being a role model of faith and hard work at Saint John's Catholic Prep is the most important thing to my wife and I as we have coached. I am a better coach with the support of my family and most especially my wife, Beth Ann. We call ourselves ‘Team McRoberts’ and our most special reward is having runners tell us how we have changed their lives for the better.”