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Ellerbee, Williams to enter Cheyney University Hall of Fame

Philadelphia Tribune Reporter Donald Hunt

October 16, 2013

Bill Ellerbee

Bill Ellerbee

Bill Ellerbee and Ed Williams top the list of outstanding sports people going into the Cheyney University Hall of Fame. Ellerbee, a 1970 graduate of Cheyney State, was a sensational basketball coach at Simon Gratz High School. Williams was a huge basketball star for the Wolves and later an administrator for the School District of Philadelphia.

Ellerbee and Williams will be inducted with other Cheyney standouts such as Ronald Ford (basketball), Vernon Greer (basketball), Jimai Springfield (basketball), Darryl Cohen (football), Patricia Ann Bartley-Walker (basketball) and Tanya Slayton-Barnes (basketball). Ford and Greer will be inducted posthumously. 

The ceremony will be held at the Concordville Inn, Baltimore Pike and Route 322, Concordville, on Friday, Oct. 18. The banquet will start at 7 p.m.
 
Ellerbee spent 20 years as head basketball coach at Simon Gratz. His 1990-91 team posted a record 27-1 and was named the national champion in the final ESPN high school poll. In the 1992-93 season, the Bulldogs finished with a 31-0 record and were again named national champions by USA Today.
 
Among his many accomplishments of his program at Simon Gratz was the Bulldogs’ 107-game regular season Public League winning streak and a 134-game overall winning streak, including the playoffs. He guided Simon Gratz to a 452-100 record. He made 20 consecutive playoff appearances, qualifying for 12 title games before capturing six league championships.
 
He coached some great players such as Rasheed Wallace, Aaron McKie, Levan Alston and Lynard Stewart. Ellerbee was named the Philadelphia Public League Coach of the Year in 1991, the State of Pennsylvania Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1997 and the National Coach of the Year by ESPN in 1993. After retiring from Simon Gratz, he coached four more seasons as an assistant coach at Temple on the staff of Hall of Fame coach John Chaney.
 
“It’s a great honor and a great feeling to be inducted into the hall of fame,” Ellerbee said. “We have some great people going in the hall of fame. They’ve done some great things over the years. I’m happy to be able to go in with them. You know a lot of great people have come out of Cheyney. I’m sure there will be a lot more in the future.”
 
Williams played basketball for four years at Cheyney. In 1962, he was the team captain and broke the conference scoring record as well as the record for field goals and foul shots in a season. He tallied 381 points in 15 games. He averaged 25.6 points a game that year.
 
Williams has a lot of good memories from his playing days with the Wolves. He still has a newspaper clipping from the night and Russ Hopewell from East Stroudsburg State where Hopewell broke the ESSC career scoring record and Williams shattered the Pennsylvania State College Conference.
 
“The night I was able to break the conference scoring record,” Williams said. “There was a ballplayer name Russell Hopewell. He played for East Stroudsburg. Russell scored 46 points that night. I ended up scoring 37 points. The news media people at the arena took a picture. So, I’m sitting at home one day. I get the mail. In the mail, Russell had sent me a photograph that we had taken 51 years ago. That was really a good feeling. I had not seen Russell or have spoken to him in 51 years. We played that game in February 1962. It was good to see both of us. They had taken a picture of both of us.
 
“I’m really excited about going into the hall of fame. It’s a really nice feeling. I’ll get a chance to see lot of people I’ve known over the years. I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Williams was named to the All-State team. He was named the Wolves MVP. After graduating in 1963, he had a great career as an educator. He was the first Cheyney alumnus to hold the high ranking administrative position of chief academic officer in the School District of Philadelphia.
 
Ford played basketball for Cheyney from 1959-63. As a point guard, he was the team’s captain his final three years. In 1964, he played in the Baker League and played briefly in Eastern Professional Basketball League. Ford was also the head basketball coach at Overbrook High Schoool for several years.
 
Greer was a member of the Wolves basketball team for two seasons. He was instrumental in leading Cheyney to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship during the 1971-72 season. Greer went on to become a teacher and assistant women’s coach at Camden High School in Camden, N.J.
 
Springfield, a Chester High product, graduated from Cheyney in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation and leisure studies. He was a four-year starting guard (1993-97). He led the team in assists. In 1995, he was named PSAC Defensive Player of the Year while leading the conference in steals (3.5 spg). He also led the Wolves to the PSAC championship during the 1995-96 season.
 
Coates played football for the Wolves in 1981 and 1982 earning All-PSAC honors as a wide receiver in 1982. He is currently serving the Philadelphia community as the executive director of the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network.
 
Bartley-Walker played basketball for Hall of Fame coach Vivian Stringer during her days at Cheyney. She was a three-year starter and captain during her senior year. She was also an marvelous tennis player. Bartley-Walker graduated from Cheyney in 1976. She operates the Society’s Promise program, a mentoring program in Chester.
 
Slayton-Barnes, a 2003 alumnus, earned varsity letters in four sports (basketball, volleyball, track and tennis). As a senior, she received the Presidential Award.