Bill Yancy has been a friend, encourager and supporter for many years.
Bill and former Guntersville High School Principal Bill Wharton founded the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. Bill Yancy wrote the inductee biographies and helped the organization get established on a solid foundation while serving several years as vice president of the MCSHOF board of directors.
On Friday night, Aug. 30, Bill will celebrate another milestone in his hall of fame broadcasting career when he kicks off his 55th season as the voice of the Wildcats. He called play-by-play for Guntersville football for the first time on Sept. 3, 1965, when the Wildcats beat West End of Birmingham 13-3.
Bill “Brother” Oliver was Guntersville’s head coach in 1965, and Raymond Weaver was the Wildcats’ first team All-State quarterback. More than 30 years later, Raymond enjoyed a stint as Bill Yancy’s partner for Wildcat football radio broadcasts.
I don’t know of another play-by-play announcer at the high school or college level in the state of Alabama who has been on the job for 55 seasons. Another incredible thing about Bill’s years of service to Wildcat football is he’s never missed a game.
If my calculations are correct, Friday night’s opener at Boaz will be his 585th consecutive game.
Bill was there in 1967, when Johnny “Butch” Looney became the first African American to play a sport at GHS. Butch starred on the Wildcat football team and combined with fellow standouts Danny Parker and Mike Jennings to lead GHS to a 9-2 record and the first state playoff berth in Marshall County history.
In 1993, Bill called the Wildcats’ first postseason victory, a 28-15 decision over archrival Albertville highlighted by Kevin Gentle’s school-record 59-yard field goal.
In 2006, Bill described the exciting action as the Wildcats marched to a 14-1 season and the Class 4A state championship, the first football title in school and county history.
The 2014 season featured the 100th meeting between Guntersville and Albertville in the state’s oldest prep football rivalry. Bill saw his Wildcats post a 21-16 win and wrap up the program’s first 10-0 regular-season record since 1955.
Wildcat legend Jordan Bentley, an Alabama A&M senior running back, is special to Bill and his family. Bill was there describing the action as Jordan became the first player in county history to score more than 100 touchdowns during his GHS career from 2012-15.
The encouragement and support of Bill’s best friend and wife, Barbara, and their children Carol, Patti, Jeff and Morri have kept him going strong during his amazing career.
The Lord has also poured out His blessings on Bill, keeping him healthy and safe while he’s followed the Wildcats from Guntersville to Gadsden to Montgomery to Munford and many, many other cities and stadiums across the Heart of Dixie.
I salute you on a job well done, Bill, and I hope your 55th season as the voice of the Wildcats is one of your best ever.
Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.