Inducted 2007. Winningest Football Coach in School History.
Followers of the Quincy Notre Dame football team are gettting used to annual trips to the playoffs, but it wasn’t that long ago that the football program was closer to extinction than distinction when it hired Bill Connell as head coach in 1992.
Connell, a native of Plant City, Fla., started 39 out of 40 games he played in at Culver-Stockton College, serving as a middle linebacker, a three-time all-Heart of America Athletic Conference performer and a two-year captain. His first job was inheriting a football team at QND that was low on numbers and even lower on victories, and the idea of discontinuing the program was being tossed around. Things didn’t get a lot better in Connell’s first year when the Raiders won just one of nine games.
Now, Connell is the winningest football coach in the history of the school, compiling a record of 109-59 in 16 seasons. He has guided the Raiders to the playoffs 12 times in the past 14 years, including a quarterfinal appearance in 1995 and a semifinal appearance in 2004. The Raiders have won at least 10 games in a season three times. More than 25 players have gone on to play college football after playing for Connell.
Connell also has served as the school’s athletic director since 1996. During his tenure, many of the athletic facilities have been improved or built, such as the softball complex, the baseball field and the football/soccer field.
Connell lives in Quincy with his wife, Jayme, and their two children, Shelby and Jackson.
“Being inducted into the Quincy Notre Dame Hall of Fame is very humbling for me, considering the number of greats preceding me. I can’t completely accept the honor myself as many individuals have been a large part of my success. As a football coach, I must thank all the players I have coached, all of the assistant coaches I have worked with and all of the parents and fans who have been supportive. I am also thankful for the great support of the football committee, including Dale Venvertloh and Larry Weiman, who have served as presidents of the committee. As athletic director, I am grateful for all of the coaches who have given themselves to make their teams and the athletic department among the best in the state. I thank the administration, especially Ray Heilmann, for giving me a chance to do what it takes to succeed. I thank my parents, Jim and Judy Connell, for giving me the proper rearing and support to succeed in an occupation I thoroughly enjoy. And I thank my wife, Jayme, and my children, Shelby and Jackson, for their support and for greeting me with love when I arrive home every night.”