On June 18, 2022, Bill Shields, beloved teacher, coach, husband, faher, grandfather and friend passed away at the age of 92 years old.After attending UCSB and receiving his Masters from USC, he was hired by the Goleta School District in 1957, where he taught 6th grade at Cathedral Oaks, drove the school bus and developed a boy's and girl's after-school athletic program. He went on to teach at Foothill, Kellogg, Hollister and La Patera Elementary Schools. He organized the Valley Elementary League, where boys and girls' teams, coached by fellow teachers and parents, competed against one another on Saturday mornings in Goleta. Bill’s school won championships in flag football, basketball, softball, volleyball and track. After 19 years, when the Valley League was no longer needed, Bill organized and coached noon leagues at Hollister and La Patera schools. What was unique was that these teams were all co-ed. He was truly a visionary coach by promoting girls to participate in competitive sports 15 years before the implementation of Title IX. His young athletes remember his love of sports and his caring attitude toward athletes and students of every ability level. Sportsmanship, fair play and citizenship were emphasized in his classrooms and on the field and court.
Bill was recognized for his coaching and teaching by being inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
From Greg and Jenny, Bill's son and daughter: Our father was a visionary when it came to flag football. He truly believed that children should not be playing tackle football until they were more mature physically and mentally. He adhered to the belief that children should learn the fundamentals of football, to fall in love and respect the sport. He didn’t support children being burdened with the apprehension of the “next big hit”. In lieu of a memorial service, we have established the Bill Shields' Scholarship Fund with Santa Barbara Friday Night Lights Youth Flag Football. His legacy will live on for generations on and off the field. If possible, please make a donation to his scholarship so that the children of Santa Barbara can continue his dedication and passion for the game. Thank you. www.santabarbarafnl.com