Billy Wilson, former assistant principal at Sebastian River High School and well-known sports coach, has died, according to Vero Beach police and Sebastian River High School.
Wilson, of Vero Beach, was in his late 50’s. Further details on Wilson’s death or funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
Wilson’s death comes less than a month after his father William Henry Wilson, a well-known Hall of Fame track and field coach for Vero Beach High School, died at 81 years old. The younger Wilson coached track alongside his father at the school when the teams won back-to-back state championships in 1989 and 1990.
Master Officer Darrell Rivers, spokesman for Vero Beach Police Department, said Wilson was a long-time friend and a great family man. In a Tuesday Facebook post, Rivers described Wilson as a “great pillar of the community gone too soon.”
“May God comfort your family during their time of sorrow. You will be missed, but not forgotten,” Rivers said in the post. “Rest easy until as you would always say, until ‘DRock’ will see you again.”
Rivers said Wilson gave him the nickname “DRock.” The master policeman said Wilson’s death left him devastated.
“He touched a lot of lives,” Rivers said. “He will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Rivers said he remembered hugging Wilson during Wilson’s father’s funeral. “I called him coach,” Rivers said.
Tributes poured in on Facebook, with many describing Wilson as a great man, teacher, mentor and legend. Several people described his sudden death as “shocking” and “heartbreaking.”
Sebastian River High School Touchdown Club officials said coaches were devastated by Wilson’s death. The club left their condolences in a Tuesday Facebook post.
SRHS Football is devastated at the loss of this great legend Mr. Billy Wilson. For many of us you watched us graduate…
“For many of us, you watched us graduate and then you watched our kids graduate from SRHS. You loved and took care of us all,” the club said in the post. “You were a great leader, friend, and mentor. Missing you doesn’t even begin the void that is left by your absence. Rest in peace Mr. Wilson. We love you.”
The School District of Indian River County held a moment of silence at its Tuesday evening board meeting to remember Wilson.
Billy Wilson and his father coached a countless number of athletes in Indian River County for several decades. The elder Wilson led the track and field teams at Vero Beach High School to win 19 consecutive district championships, seven regional championships and back-to-back state championships.
Wilson previously described his father as a hero after the family patriarch died Sept. 20. Wilson said his father coached him in football when he played as a receiver on the football team at Vero Beach High School.
“He set a great example for me,” Wilson previously said.
Wilson started coaching track and field with his father in 1986 at Vero Beach High School. Wilson also coached basketball at the campus.
Like his father, Wilson was also an instructor and taught physical education and driver’s education for eight years. Wilson became an assistant principal at Sebastian River High School in 1994 and retired July 31.
The father-and-son duo coached together for a youth basketball team that won the Amateur Athletic Union State Basketball Championships in 2000 and 2002 in Orlando. Wilson’s sons, William Wilson IV, 29, and Wesley Wilson, 27, played on the winning team.
Wilson’s death has left many in the community heartbroken.
“Shark nation really needs the community’s prayers and support,” Sebastian River High School Touchdown Club officials said.
Photos provided by Sebastian River High School Touchdown Club
This story will be updated.