By Tim Petermann, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) - Billy Noss will receive the 2018 Jim Mueller Blugold Spirit Award posthumously.
The award will be presented to Noss' caregiver Dave Hanson at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall of Fame banquet Friday, October 5. The banquet is open to the public and tickets, which are $25, can be obtained by contacting the UWEC Alumni Office at 715 836-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The awards program will begin at 6:30 p.m. preceded by a social at 4:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Noss was a fixture at countless Blugold athletic events for many years due to his association with Dave Hanson, who serves as the Blugold public address announcer for football, basketball, hockey, gymnastics and softball. Billy could be counted on to shag foul balls at Blugold softball games. He also did that and helped with traffic control at several NCAA Regionals hosted by UW-Eau Claire and six national tournaments at Gelein Field in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2010 and 2013. In basketball, he normally filled a seat at the northeast corner of the gym and retrieved balls headed out of bounds on that end and kept fans from walking across the endline. He also took care of corralling basketballs at the end of warmups.
Noss befriended scores of Blugold athletes, coaches and staff members over the years as well as visiting players and coaches. "You could always count on Billy to lighten the atmosphere at Blugold events," said former UWEC Sports Information Director Tim Petermann. "Anytime he encountered me at a Blugold event, I would hear 'How's it going Timmy'," chuckled Petermann.
Gary Bartlett, the former Parking and Transportation Coordinator and Athletic Facilities Coordinator, called Billy "such a spark for everything he got involved. While he loved Blugold athletics and was always happy to be part of the action, it was also very important to him that everyone abide by the rules—including athletes." He recalls that Billy worked with him during his time as Crowd Control Administrator at basketball games in Zorn. One of the things they did together was issue $5 guest parking tickets in the former reserved lot behind Zorn for those players and officials who did not have the proper permit. "With a huge grin, Billy would start asking me shortly after the game started, 'Are we giving tickets tonight.' My reply was 'yes, but not until after halftime.' After the second half started, I would get Billy and he would come running to the door where I was standing. Out we would go into the cold night—me with ticket book in hand and Billy running from car to car. He was in his glory when he called out 'ah ha—I got one'. Then I would proceed to the car and he would run to another vehicle to see if they had the proper permit. It was our fun time away from the game. He would be so happy that he had been a big helper that when he finished, he would run back into Zorn and look for Tim Petermann to tell him how many tickets we had issued," explained Bartlett.
"Billy may have been the most well-known person in the community," claimed Petermann. He was called the "Unofficial Mayor of Eau Claire" and in 2014 was given an honorary lieutenant designation by the Eau Claire Police Department in recognition of his 75th birthday. Noss's love of sports included competition with the Eau Claire Adults Special Olympics Program of which he was very proud. He died May 8, 2018 at the age of 78.
The Jim Mueller Blugold Spirit Award, named in honor of its first recipient Jim Mueller, recognizes a non-staff individual or group for long-term support of the Blugold athletics program. The recipient must have demonstrated exemplary interest in and concern for Blugold student-athletes and coaches. Their pride and spirit as a friend and ambassador of the Blugold program epitomizes the true meaning of a Blugold.
Since Mueller received the first award in 2010, the previous Blugold Spirit recipients have included Milt & Marci Siker, Bill Arnsdorf, Dave Hanson, Mike Sullivan, Ron Buckli, the Indianhead Kiwanis Club, Bob Bradovich, Gregg Brandrup and Dave Lorentz.