William "Bill" Yeoman '49 August 13, 2020 11:20 AM updated: August 17, 2020 9:55 AM
Coach Bill Yeoman
DECEMBER 26, 1927 – AUGUST 12, 2020
Bill Yeoman, our Dad, and Coach to most everyone else, passed away on Wednesday, the 12th of August 2020, leaving behind a lifetime of wonderful memories and great accomplishments. He was 92 years of age.
He is now with our Lord Jesus Christ and the person he loved most on Earth, our mom. He always said that getting her to say yes when he asked her to marry him was his greatest accomplishment. Bill was born on the 26th of December 1927, in Elnora, Indiana, the youngest son of Dr. Claude Allen and Anna Lillian Yeoman. From Indiana, the family moved to Glendale, Arizona, where he excelled both athletically and academically. Bill lettered in five different sports and was an All-State football player. Beyond his athletic prowess, he was also had a gift for languages being fluent in both Spanish and Donald Duck.
After graduating high school, Bill accepted a scholarship from Texas A&M University where he played both varsity football and basketball as a freshman. The following year, he accepted an appointment to West Point where he also played football and basketball, lettering all three years in both. During his junior year, he was selected captain of the varsity football team by his West Point teammates and earned All-American honors. During his senior year, he served as a member of coaching staff under head coach, Colonel Red Blaik. In addition to Coach Blaik, the staff included such football luminaries as Vince Lombardi and Sid Gillman.
After graduating from West Point in 1950, Bill served in the United States Army for three years in Germany before reaching the rank of Captain and then retired to private life. In 1954, he was hired by Duffy Daugherty as head assistant coach for the Michigan State University Spartan football program, and his career as a football coach truly began. Eight years and two Rose Bowl Championships later, Corbin Robertson and the University of Houston came calling to offer him the position of head coach.
Bill kicked off his first season in 1962 by sharing a philosophy he learned at West Point. “Everything is for the good of the school. It was about service.” For Bill it was a crusade. During his tenure at the University of Houston, Coach Yeoman won 160 games and 11 bowl games. After securing a place for his Cougars in the Southwest Conference, he won 4 of 10 conference champions games. He also had the profound privilege to coach 46 All-Americans and 69 NFL players. But beyond putting points on the scorecard, he changed the face of football in the South initiating the integration of major intercollegiate athletics by successfully recruiting Warren McVea in 1964. In 1965 the triple option and the triple option offense was introduced to college football by Coach Yeoman along with zone blocking and this revolutionized college football then and now.
Owing to Coach Yeoman’s success and leadership on the football field, he was inducted to the University of Houston’s Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame, the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Athletic Hall of Champions. He was also awarded the Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award for coaching, and the Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to College Football. In 1976, the National Associated Press named him the Texas Coach of the Year and the National Coach of the year. And for his service off the field, he was presented with the President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush Community Impact Award in 2015 and the Houston Touchdown Club’s Touchdowner of the Year. Just recently he was voted one of the top 150 colleges football coaches of all time.
Bill Yeoman was preceded in death by his loving wife of 64 years, Alma Jean; his eldest brother, Elmer Yeoman; and his grandson Joshua Yeoman. He is survived his middle brother, Wayne Yeoman; his four children, Bill Yeoman, Gary Yeoman and Sherri Vance, Kathy Yeoman and Carrie Prewett, and his son-in-law, Bill Prewett. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Erin Yeoman, Lander Yeoman, Audrey Yeoman, Trevor and Lauren Prewett, Logan and Sarah Prewett, Bethany and Preston Sauer, and Clayton and Kristen Eddy; and his great-grandchildren, Isla Prewett, Liam Prewett, Piper Prewett, Kendall Prewett, Presley Prewett, and Reagan Sauer.
The Yeoman family would like to thank Sheila Bolden, Kelsey Jones, Aleta Wood, Regina Rando, Dominque Campbell, Sarah Walker, and Brenda Hackle for their devoted care to our dad these last few years, the University of Houston Alumni Association for all their kindness, as well as Horst Paul, Larry Zerlien, and Jim Elam for their support and steadfast friendship.
The family will gather for a private interment at Forest Park Westheimer in Houston. Arrangements for a public memorial service and celebration of life are pending for when attendance restrictions are lifted and will be announced once scheduled. In the interim, you may opt to receive updated information by selecting the "Receive Notifications" icon below.
If you would like to pay tribute to Coach Yeoman and the University of Houston that he loved so dearly, contributions can be directed to either the “Bill Yeoman Football Scholarship Endowment” or “Bill and A.J. Yeoman Fort Bend County Endowed Scholarship.” In Memory gifts can be made online at the following link: https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Yeoman, or by texting “Yeoman” to 71777.
Bill Yeoman Football Scholarship Endowment
Bill and A.J. Yeoman Fort Bend County Endowed Scholarship
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