Bill Atkinson
Coach, Athletic Director, Mentor
​Inducted in 2003
The contributions a coach makes to his school and community are not only measured in wins and losses and such is the case with Bill Atkinson. While his teams achieved significant successes on the playing field, “Mr. A” will be equally remembered for the high ethical principles he practiced in his daily life and instilled in the hundreds of students whose lives he touched.
A graduate of Springfield College, Bill had his first contact with Suffield High School when he practice taught here in 1949-50. He returned in 1954 to become athletic director, coach of the soccer, basketball and baseball teams, and to teach physical education. His soccer teams won six conference titles and went to the State Tournament Semi-Finals on five occasions, sharing the State Title with Hale-Ray in 1958 and winning it outright in 1960. The latter win broke Hale-Ray’s 56 game unbeaten streak! SHS also won its first ever State Basketball Championship in 1960 under the tutelage of Stanley Meila who had served as Bill’s assistant coach (three sports) for several years.
To help develop a feeder system for basketball, Bill conceived the Saturday Morning league for seventh and eighth graders using his varsity players as coaches. A similar arrangement was later established in soccer. He was instrumental, too, in establishing the North Central Connecticut Conference, a 12-team league that is still flourishing today.
During the summers, Mr. A (first as a staff member and later as owner/operator) conducted camps for boys. The early ones were primarily basketball camps and featured NBA players. Many Suffield boys attended his camps or served as counselors.
In 1964, he was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church (serving for five years in Suffield’s Calvary Church) and in 1971 was ordained an Episcopal Priest. He is to this day in constant demand to officiate at baptisms, weddings, and sadly, funerals for his many Suffield friends.