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The Guy Who Just Showed Up to Stuff for People

Bill Quinby is a name most Central Iowans are not familiar with. Cedar Rapids may be a bit outside of our normal footprint, but it’s my hometown where he’s a legend. I recall meeting Bill who was as an NFL official, mostly at side judge. Truly a remarkable man with many accomplishments. He was also the principal at Kennedy High School when I saw him speak in the early ’80s. He was a school administrator at several high schools in that area. Highlights of his colorful career include:

  • Big Ten football official
  • NFL side judge – 17 years, retired in ’95, Super Bowl XIX
  • Amateur boxer – Golden Gloves
  • Hawkeye football player under Forest Evashevski (1 year)
  • Student manager for the Hawkeye football team (3 years), including an incident where he had to punch a Minnesota Gopher fan who took a swing at Evy (Bill tells the story video in the Gazette story below).
  • Hawkeye baseball player
  • Coe College athletic director
  • Original board member for CR’s minor league baseball team (Reds, Kernals, etc.)
  • Longtime advocate for The Special Olympics, and a board member
  • Volunteered his time to mow the baseball fields at Coe (now Bill Quinby Field) for nearly 20 years

Mike Hlas of The Cedar Rapids Gazette published this article almost a year ago about Bill Quinby and this includes several video clips from their interview. Bill is still going strong at age 92, sharp as ever and lives in a Robins, Iowa retirement home.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve met Bill Quinby and have similar stories of your own.

UPDATE: Bill Quinby recently died on April 20, 2024 in Cedar Rapids. Gazette Editorial here.

Obituary here.


Bill Quinby with Walter Payton
Bill Quinby with Walter Payton

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