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Bill Willis


William Karnet  Willis

Inducted 1971

Date of Birth



Columbus, OH


Ohio State University (1942-1944)


Fast, quick and powerful in clearing the path for the runner - Bill Willis was all of this as a tackle on the Ohio State national championship team of 1942. A sprinter's speed made Willis one of the greatest linemen at running interference. Buckeye fans who enjoyed those championship years remember the sight of Heisman Trophy winner Les Horvath slipping off the shoulders of Willis picking up yardage. In 1942, the Buckeyes won nine of ten games, upset only by a surprising Wisconsin team, 17-7. After a mediocre 3-6 season in 1943, Willis and the Bucks rebounded for a perfect nine-game season and another Big Ten crown. That year he was a first-team All-America. Willis was also a top student, holding a high class ranking in Business Administration. In 1945, Willis was head coach at Kentucky State. In 1946, he joined the Cleveland Browns. He played eight seasons and was all-pro four times. In 1963, he was named director of the Ohio Youth Commission. He took charge of the state's juvenile institutions. His work was so outstanding a school, the William Willis High School, was named for him.


Height 6'2

Weight 199

Career Highlights

  • 1944 All-Conference
  • 1944 First Team All-America
  • 1943 All-Conference
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