A long-time teacher and coach, William Fortin has devoted much of his life to helping others reach their potential. For both Bill and his wife, Nanci, who is also a soccer referee at the high school and collegiate levels, retirement is really not an option. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1954, William went on to participate in track and field and also play basketball for coach Bill Detrick at Central Connecticut State University (known as New Britain Teacher’s College at the time), graduating in 1961.
Fortin settled in at Ellington High School, serving as Varsity Coach for Softball from 1981-1993 and Varsity Coach for Basketball from 1982-1997. In his tenure as softball coach, he won 4 NCCC championships and 2 state titles and had an overall record of 215 wins and 61 losses. In basketball, he gathered 12 NCCC titles and 1 state championship, ending his career with 305 wins and 71 losses. His most memorable moments as a basketball coach are winning the state championship against Northwest Catholic High School in three overtimes and coaching Jenn Monti, a Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year.
In addition to his tremendous coaching skills, Bill is known for his gracious service to athletics in the state of Connecticut. He has served as Director of Athletics at Ellington High School and has also been active as a soccer official, serving as a soccer officials’ assignor, supervisor and evaluator at the high school and college levels, including work as the ECAC Director of Soccer Referee Development. Fortin officiated two NCAA D-III National Soccer Championships and served as a NEISOA Soccer Referee Evaluation Chairman in his years as a coach and teacher. Bill is also Past-President of several associations, including the National and New England Intercollegiate Soccer Officials’ Associations, the Connecticut Soccer Officials’ Association, and the IAABO Board#8 Basketball Officials to name a few.
Bill has received several awards for his outstanding skills and service as a teacher and coach, including, most recently, induction into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005. He has also been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame (1992) and the Manchester, CT Sports Hall of Fame (1992). Fortin served on the CIAC Girls’ Basketball Committee from 1989-1998 and was honored with the CHSCA Outstanding Girls’ Basketball Coach Award in 1996. Bill received the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association 300 Victory Award in 1998, shortly after his retirement. He was also honored with the Ed Ferrigno Distinguished Service Award for Basketball.
In 1998, Bill received the CCSU Harrison Kaiser Alumni Service Award and he has also received Distinguished Service Awards from the Central Connecticut Soccer Officials (Bernie O’Rourke & Hugh Greer Awards, (1978 & 1985). He served as Past President of the CT State Board of Baseball Umpires and was honored with the Manchester Connecticut Approved Baseball Umpires Al Cowles Distinguished Service Award (1988). He is a life member of the National and New England Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Associations and the Central Connecticut Soccer Officials Association, for which he served as the Commissioner from 1964 until his retirement in 2009.
Fortin continues to work as a soccer official and he has officiated 29 CIAC state finals here in Connecticut. He also still serves as a NISOA National Soccer Referee Assessor and National Clinician. In addition, Bill works as the clock operator for UCONN Men and Women’s soccer matches and basketball games, as well as men’s and women’s basketball games at Trinity College, Springfield College and St. Joseph’s College.