TRIBUTE to Coach Wilhelm

Tribute to Coach Bill Wilhelm – Clemson Baseball Legend                                                                                    A Gentle Giant

On December 24, 2010, Coach Wilhelm quietly passed from this life into the arms of Jesus.  He was what baseball is all about.  He loved the game.  I cherish the times I had with him over the years talking baseball and getting updates on players.  The twinkle in his eyes spoke volumes of how he felt about them.  It was like a father talking about his son as he told of the latest endeavors of what they doing.  So proud.

At his “Celebration of Life” January 8, 2011 in Jervey  Gym,  Coach Jack Leggett paid tribute to Coach B  with this poem:


Be ready up there, open your hearts, and open the gate,                                                                                    Because you are about to welcome our #38.

You may not always like what he is go to say,                                                                                                      But in the end he will make it a better day.

He’ll be wearing an orange uniform with all his pride,                                                                                  Before it’s all over, through tough times he’ll be on your side.

You won’t always understand, sometimes he will be gruff,                                                                                              But the plan will be to teach you lessons and make you tough.

He’ll like a good game, but will want to win,                                                                                                                        If you earn his respect, he’ll always be there through thick and thin.

His friends, his network, his influence will spread wide,                                                                                                      If you look closely, everything he touches will be filled with pride.

He’ll love to play golf, not always hitting the ball straight,                                                                                           He’ll play cards, laugh with you, maybe show up at home late.

He’ll tell you he’s a three-handicap with a smirk, a smile, and his eyes will flutter,                                           What are they you’ll ask, he’ll say, “My driver, my irons, and my putter”.

He’ll have the best memory of anyone you will see,                                                                                                        He won’t forget what you did, your name, or your story.

He’ll tell you about his team through a half-empty glass,                                                                                               But before the nine innings are over, he’ll be kicking your ***.

He might change a call, to give you a fair shake,                                                                                                    Something that’s not his, he will never take.

So you’ll see that he’s a man of integrity and principle,                                                                                              He’s going to embellish stories and it will never be dull.

He will talk about Michael and Randall, his heart full of pride,                                                                                      His love for them he won’t be able to hide.

Then he’ll tell you about Sara Jane, his lovely wife,                                                                                                       She’s the piece of the puzzle that completed his life.

So buckle your seatbelt up there and be ready for the storm,                                                                                   Because you’re about to receive a man who’s influence and touch will be greater than the norm.

Treat him with respect and your tender touch,                                                                                                         Because this is a man we are going to miss so much.

When he arrives, he won’t want any special welcome of fuss,                                                                                        But please tell him none of us will forget what he’s taught us.

We’ll miss you Coach Wilhelm.

Then Coach Leggett asked that:

If Coach had had any influenced your life positively,  If you have thought about something he has said to you on a daily basis,  If you respect all he has done for you, Clemson baseball, and college baseball,     If you have taken some lessons from your experience with Coach and passed it on to others to make this a better place, If you miss him,  If you recognize the value of all he has given us,     I would like to have you stand and give him a 38-second standing ovation and let him hear us and how much we appreciate what he’s left behind.

Side Note:   No one was sitting, a very moving time for all that were there and Coach B will be greatly missed.  From the first time I met him years ago in bringing my son to baseball camp until the last time I saw him at the hospital…he was, and will always be thought of as, a Gentle Giant of a true Southern Gentleman.  I will miss talking baseball with him on games days especially, I will miss that smiling face and twinkling eyes, I will – just plain and simple – miss Coach B.





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