1919 - 2013
Bill Koller was born April 20, 1919 in Hastings, Oklahoma to John William and Grace Koller and died of natural causes on August 1, 2013 in Round Rock, Texas. Mr. Koller was married to Sammie Louise Floyd on August 23, 1941, who preceded him in passing in 1998. He is survived by his daughter Karen Kaye Hallmark, granddaughter Alecha Kaye Stackle and great granddaughter, Avery Ann Stackle...plus his wonderful extended family and friends that remained close to him and in his thoughts throughout his long and productive life.
Mr. Koller graduated from Hastings High School in 1937. He attended East Central State Teachers College on an athletic tuition scholarship and lived and worked as a fireman for room and board at the Ada Fire Department. Mr. Koller earned his BA in Education in May 1941 with emphasis in History and Social Studies, which he accomplished without the financial resources to buy a single textbook. While there, he also excelled in basketball and track. He began his teaching and coaching career at Wanette, Oklahoma and 2 years later joined the staff at Byng High School and enjoyed a 43-year career in education as Teacher, Basketball Coach and Principal. Along the way, Mr. Koller earned a Masters in Education degree from Oklahoma University, and was inducted into the East Central University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame.
During his coaching career at Byng High School, Mr. Koller’s boys won state championships in 1947, 1954, and 1958. According to Ray Soldan, Special Sports Correspondent with The Daily Oklahoman News, during the 1957-59 periods Mr. Koller’s teams recorded 95 victories and 1 loss, including 67 consecutive victories, thus becoming the holder of the state record for the longest winning string in boys’ basketball. During a 4 year span his teams accumulated 125 wins and 4 losses.
Although he clearly had a love of sports, as a teacher and Principal he positively influenced many students and served as a mentor throughout his career. His retirement quote tells you what he held most important – which was helping kids reach their full potential: “Awards and trophies don’t mean much, but when a former student makes the effort to come back and say ‘thanks’ that means a lot.”
A memorial reception is planned in the future. Mr. Koller wished any remembrance be in support of innovative teaching programs and college scholarships for students at Byng High School. Donations can be made in his memory to the Byng Excellence in Education Foundation, Box 922, Ada, OK, 74821.