William "Bill" Downs Jr.

Induction Year: 2009

William Bill Downs Jr.

  Carl Vergamini Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics Award 

William "Bill" Downs Jr. was a Superior businessman who strongly supported community organizations and activities, particularly UW-Superior and Yellowjacket student-athletes. He is inducted into the Hall of Fame as recipient of the Carl Vergamini Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics Award, named for one of UW-Superior's outstanding and most popular coaches.

A lifelong resident of Superior, Mr. Downs attended UW-Superior from 1951 to 1953 before entering the U.S. Army. He was a businessman for more than 50 years and was active in more than 30 local fraternal and civic groups.

Mr. Downs was especially passionate about supporting his university and his Yellowjacket teams because he believed strongly in their missions and their roles in the community.

He served on the board of directors of the UW-Superior Foundation and the UW-Superior Alumni Association. He chaired the Tony Yaworski Scholarship Fund Board and received the Alumni Association's President's Award in 1993. He attended as many university events as he could and frequently donated money to support individual campus activities.

For the Yellowjackets, Mr. Downs advertised in athletic programs and attended numerous games. He revived community support for Yellowjacket football by founding and serving as president of the 'Jacket Backer Touchdown Club.

In describing Mr. Downs' community spirit, one of his many friends said, "Bill typified what Carl Vergamini himself encouraged, and that was to be involved, be loyal and be an integral part of the program - play and participate and perform at any and every level with dignity and pride and fairness, and with heart and soul."