Bill Himebaugh

William K. "Bill" Himebaugh 

May 12, 1931 - February 13, 2021

Wichita, Kansas - Bill was born May 12, 1931 and left life to return with his wife Janet on February 13, 2021. He was preceded in death by his parents Ken and Aletha Himebaugh his wife Janet Himebaugh and his sister Donna Vickers. Bill is survived by his son Jerry Himebaugh his daughter Karen Garcia his grandchildren Christopher and Richard Garcia and 4 great grandchildren. 
Bill graduated from Wichita North High School in 1949 where he was a letterman in football, basketball and baseball. He was a starter on the 1949 State Championship baseball team in 1949. He then attended Friends University where he graduated in 1955. While at Friends he lettered in football, basketball and golf. While on the golf team he was the KCAC champion in 1954 and 1955 and the Kansas NAIA district champion in 1955 qualifying him for the National tournament in Abilene Texas. To this day he is the only individual from Friends to participate in the national tournament. While competing in the national tournament Bill captured a "horned frog" which he boxed up and brought home to his wife Janet who was petrified of frogs, for those of you who knew him well you will perfectly understand why. After graduating from Friends University Bill became "Coach" Himebaugh when he became a physical education teacher, coach and Athletic Director for the Wichita public schools. During his 30 year career in education he was recognized as the Wichita Junior high school coach of the year 5 times Wichita High school coach of the year two times, Wichita high school coach of the decade in 1979 and received three consecutive awards of achievement from the National Basketball Coaches of the United States in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Bill was awarded the Kansas high school Athletic Director of the year in 1986. After his career from coaching over the years he was inducted into 8 Halls of Fame for coaching and for his personal athletic achievements when he was in school. In 1970 Bill became the head basketball and golf coach at Wichita South high school. He walked into an underperforming basketball program and a racially divided student body and community. His first plan of attack was to change the school mascot from a Confederate soldier and the name South High Colonels which hung a Confederate flag during games. Bill and his wife Janet after much thought and research came up with the name "Titans" after the Greek Gods who stood for Heaven on Earth. It was a tremendous and highly controversial change but that's where Bill and Janet performed their best. They succeeded and the new name South High Titans and new mascot of a Titan throwing a lightning bolt which stood for power and dominance was in place where it proudly stands today. His second plan was to unite the student body at South and community as one and the third was to create a winning atmosphere and to turn the basketball team into a perineal winning program even long after he was gone. These were also huge challenges but again Bill and Janet loved a great challenge. The first 2 seasons there would be 20 or 30 students and maybe 5 parents in the stands. With the seemingly endless task of bringing the student body and South high community together as one unit and trying to turn the basketball team into a competitive product on the court things were changing. Years 3 thru 5 attendance was growing and the stands were filling with all races from the student body and community and the basketball team was posting winning seasons. Finally after tireless work from Bill and Janet and emphasizing on their philosophy and non wavering stance against racism and creating unity and togetherness between the student body and South high community the tide had finally turned. In 1976 and 1977 the stands were filled and some fans were being turned away because the gym was at capacity. During the 1978, 1979 and 1980 seasons home games were moved to Friends University to try and accommodate all the fans in the surrounding area that wanted to see Bill Himebaugh coach and the team perform their relentless full court pressure defense. Bill was once asked by Wichita Eagle sports writer Bob "The Derby Flash" Lutz when would South start pressing which he replied sharply "As Soon As They Entered The Gym" when South played Heights in 1978 and 1979 the games were moved to what is now Koch arena where there would be over 8,000 in attendance from all over the state not to mention the 25 plus College and University recruitment scouts. It was in the 1978, 1979 and 1980 seasons Bill and Janets plan all came together and South high basketball had reached its pinnacle they were State Champions all three seasons posting a 63 and and 9 record and had become known Nationally. Although most would think Bill's legacy was winning 3 State Championships in a row and leaving a 23 - 1 State Championship team to long time assistant coach dear friend and second son Greg Guice for a fourth consecutive State Championship his family and long time close friends will tell you his real legacy was curtailing racism within the South High community. After retiring from coaching Bill became athletic Director at Wichita East high school, can you imagine that all you old timers a North High grad going to East High! In 1985, He retired from USD 259 after a 30 year career. He then joined the private sector and became the executive Director of the Olympiad health and fitness center in Wichita where he worked from 1985 until 1990. In 1990 he was hired by the City of Wichita Parks and Recreation department as the General Recreation supervisor in charge of all athletic programs for the City. While working for the City in 1993 he became the Potentate of the Midian Shrine Temple where he had been an active member since 1964. While in the shrine he teamed with his father in-law Carl B Richardson to create and found the Midian Touchdowner unit which allowed high school senior football players from the Wichita and surrounding area to participate in the annual Shrine Bowl football game that raises money for the crippled children's hospitals around the country so that all expenses are paid for their care. In 1996 it was time to totally retire at the age of 65. After retiring Bill and Janet enjoyed traveling and spending their time with family and friends. He also enjoyed playing in golf tournaments around the state of Kansas with his son Jerry who he taught how to play golf. They competed as individuals in many tournaments and enjoyed playing in best ball tournaments within the Shrine. Bill would always tell Jerry while driving the van down the highway that the main goal was to have fun but we're not driving out here to loose let's go win it and win they did. Jerry won numerous calcutta tournaments across the state where it's rumored Bill may have picked up a few coins. And as far as the shrine tournaments went they were unbeatable. Bill will be sorely missed by his family, friends and former students. He had an unbelievable career and life and set a tremendously high standard of how to include all walks of people into your life and in all things you do with the highest level of respect! .


In lieu of flowers Bill requested that donations be sent in his name to League 42. 
Please send to: League 42 P.O. Box 20026 Wichita KS. 67208