Basketball & Football
We know the term student-athlete can be used rather loosely.
For some, the classroom takes a back seat.
Not so with Billy McBride, who feels every bit as comfortable in art museums and on the lecture circuit as he once did on the football field and basketball court.
It wasn’t always the best of times for ‘Billy the Kid.’ And yet, he overcame a tough upbringing – being homeless at times - to become not only a successful athlete at the professional level, but a public speaker and author.
At Central Tech (Class of 1974), McBride was first team all-City in football and basketball. He was named the 1972 YMCA Youth of the Year and won the coveted Ormie Spencer outstanding scholastic athlete award named for the late Parochial League standout and Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Famer.
Collegiately, he graduated in 1979 from Tennessee State, where he was a two-sport star. A member of the school’s NCAA Division II Final Four basketball team, he was drafted by the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers.
Billy spent six years in the Canadian Football League as a defensive back, wide receiver, holder, and punt/kickoff returner. He played in the 1983 Grey Cup for the British Columbia Lions. He also played with Sashkatchewan and Ottawa, and was a defensive star of the game selection on multiple occasions.
Following his playing days, he served as athletic director at New York’s Allen Stevenson School. He also held several assistant coaching positions at Amherst College, where he was head women’s basketball coach for 15 years. His 2000-01 team won the NESCAC regular season crown and Billy was named conference and Russell Athletic WBCA Northeast Regional District I coach of the year.
McBride is now the Assistant Athletic Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Amherst.
In 2006, Billy earned his Master’s degree from Smith College. While he may have grown up in tough surroundings, today McBride is not only a sought-after public speaker but published author, as well, with Amherst’s Mead Art Museum College Collection Guide at Amherst.
And now, Billy McBride becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.