Bill Yeisley ’57 retired as a high school football official in 2001. But he just couldn’t stay away.
“I still ended up working four games as a substitute that year. The next year, an opening came up with a different crew. I graciously accepted in about two seconds—at least that’s what my wife will tell you,” he says. “I still want to be out there on Friday nights.”
Yeisley, of Cedar Rapids, has served as an official for 39 years. He has seen a lot: He officiated in the playoffs 23 years, including five state championship games. At one time, he could count eight Iowans in the NFL that he had officiated, including Tim Dwight and Tavian Banks.
Yeisley was inducted into the Iowa High School Officials Hall of Fame in 2001. He was awarded the National Contributor Award by the National Federation of High School Officials Association in 2003.
For 25 years, he was a training coordinator for first- and second-year officials. He was a perfect hire: Yeisley still works out year round and is in excellent physical shape for his age. He has performed at each position on a five-man officiating crew, but usually works as an umpire, behind the defensive line.
“You’ve got to keep your eyes open back there. You get bumped into a lot,” he says. In his “day job,” Yeisley was a classroom teacher for 11 years and an elementary principal for 27, including 19 with the Marion Independent School District. He retired in 1995.
A Mount Vernon native, Yeisley came from—and produced—a Cornell family. His mother is Hildred Colon Yeisley ’30, and two of his sisters, Rachel Yeisley Miller ’58 and Gail Yeisley Rhodes ’62, followed him to the Hilltop. He met his wife, Harriet Clutter Yeisley ’58, as a Cornell student. They’ve been married 46 years and have two daughters, Elizabeth Hibbing and Katherine Yeisley Printy ’90.
Bill Yeisley ’57 won a national
award for his impact on the field of high school football officiating.