By Tilman “Tillie” Bishop
Awesome! Amazing! Incredible! Unbelievable! That’s how people described William E. “Bill” Noxon during his 33 years of coaching football and baseball in Western Colorado. After becoming one of Colorado’s most successful high school coaches, Noxon went on to lead the Gunnison-based Western State College Mountaineers to eight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships and three National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) post-season playoffs.
From 1971-1984, Noxon was one of the winningest small-college football coaches in the
nation as his Mountaineer teams posted an 84-43-2 overall record and were ranked third in the nation on two separate occasions.
During his 15 seasons at Fruita High School and four seasons at Grand Junction High
School, Noxon’s football teams compiled a 133-54-4 overall ledger. For the two high schools
combined, his teams won 11 conference titles, captured one State championship and were
runnersup in the State finals five times. He became one of only a handful of high school coaches in Colorado to achieve more than 100 victories. With the performances of his high school and college football teams combined, Noxon’s 217-97-6 overall record is one of the most impressive career marks in the state of Colorado. He also was head baseball coach for 12 years of his Fruita tenure, and three of his teams there earned second-place honors in the State playoffs.
A native Coloradan, Noxon played football, basketball and baseball at Denver North High
school. He attended Fort Lewis Junior College at Durango on an athletic scholarship in 1948
and 1949, lettering two years in football and basketball, and one year in baseball. In football, he played both offense and defense in the backfield and led the team in scoring both years.
Transferring to Colorado A & M College in Fort Collins (now Colorado State University), Noxon played football for the “Rams” and earned two varsity letters.
Noxon’s outstanding prep coaching career earned him the 1966 Colorado Scholastic Coach of the Year Award; an honor bestowed upon him by coaches throughout Colorado. He also was named Coach of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and Southwestern League. He received NAIA District VII Coach of the Year recognition for his Western State achievements in 1977, 1978 and 1979, and the American Football Coaches Association named him Kodak College Coach of the Year in 1978.
Noxon was inducted into the Fort Lewis College Hall of Fame in 1994, both as an individual football player and as a member of the 1949 football team that played in the “Texas Rose Bowl” game at Tyler (TX). In 1995, he was inducted into the Western State College Hall
of Fame as a coach, and in 2007, he was the first coach inducted into the Rocky Mountain
Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
Respected during his career as a true gentleman — both on and off the field of competition
— Bill Noxon today is known as a proud and quiet gentleman who plays a lot of golf. He and his wife Carolyn (“CoCo”) reside in Grand Junction, CO. The couple have two grown children, Linda Goolsby and Bill Jr., both graduates of Western State College.
Awesome! Amazing! Incredible! Unbelievable!