Bill Talley Named DeVos College Of Education Distinguished Alumnus

Monday, November 18, 2013 - by Jillian Ellis, Lee University
Dr. Jim Bilbo, left, former professor and chair of Lee’s department of education, with Professor of Education Dr. George Nerren, holding a photo of Bill Talley, who was honored in absentia.
Dr. Jim Bilbo, left, former professor and chair of Lee’s department of education, with Professor of Education Dr. George Nerren, holding a photo of Bill Talley, who was honored in absentia.

Bill Talley was named distinguished alumnus of the Helen DeVos College of Education at a Lee University Homecoming departmental breakfast.

Mr. Talley, a native of Cleveland, was part of the first class of students to earn a Tennessee Teacher’s License from Lee College in 1968. 

“He is the biggest little man I have ever known,” said George Starr, director of Sports Information at Lee and life-long friend of Mr. Talley. “Though he was born with a severe handicap, he has never let it slow him down.”

Mr. Talley began his sports career as manager of a Bradley Central High School athletics team. While at Lee, he coached a Dixie Youth baseball team and took a group of All-Stars to the Dixie Youth World Series.

“He challenged his players to play with intensity,” said Lee prof George Nerren, friend and former player of Mr. Talley. “He gave his best and expected his players to give their best.”

After his graduation from Lee, Mr. Talley was hired as a football assistant and head baseball coach for Cleveland High School.

“Those teams were among the best in the state,” said Mr. Starr. “To this day, I don’t know if there has ever been a more respected coach and teacher at CHS.”

Since his time at CHS, Mr. Talley served as academic counselor for the Texas Tech football team in Lubbock, Texas, coached high school football and served as an athletic director before retiring. 

Mr. Talley raised his family in Texas, where he currently resides. He has three daughters: Gracie, Jim and Susana, a son, Bryant, and nine grandchildren.

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