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William Dixon | Honorary | Inducted 2017

It would take a long memory to recall a time the fabric of the City of New Haven has not been tied to William L. Dixon.

The current Deputy Director of the New Haven Parks & Recreation Department, Bill has also served as a city firefighter, directed New Haven's efforts in coordinating the 1995 Special Olympics World Games, founded the New Haven Summer Basketball League which has been ongoing since 1980 and is a member of the Quinnipiac University Athletic Hall of Fame as an assistant coach on the 1983-84 women's basketball team which qualified for the first NCAA tournament in program history.

“It is unbelievable,” Maria Conlon, a former member of the UConn women's basketball program and a longtime participant in the New Haven Summer League said on the occasion of the league's 30th anniversary in 2010. “It keeps kids off the streets and in here playing. He deserves credit for being able to do it for this long. He really does run a tight ship. He is really well respected in the area. It goes to show the work he has done.”

Bill graduated from what was then Southern Connecticut State College in 1979 with a degree in recreation and leisure education and began working at the Dixwell Neighborhood Corporation developing youth programs in that area of the city. He was hired as part time assistant women's basketball coach at Quinnipiac, remaining in that capacity for six seasons before serving as head coach for nine seasons from 1986-95. It was during his time as an assistant under head coach Ron Hanson that Quinnipiac rose to prominence, finishing 28-3 during the 1983-84 season with a New England Collegiate Conference championship and the first of three straight Division II NCAA tournament bids (the program now competes at the Division I level). The team finished 27-4 in 1984-85 and 25-4 in 1985-86.

Bill also became a fireman during that time, earning the New Haven Fire Birds Society's Firefighter of the Year Award in 1986, as well as several meritorious service awards during his 20 years with the department. His retirement from firefighting brought him to the parks department in 2001 and his impact there has been nothing short of life-changing for so many young people and adults across the city.

Bill's tenure has seen the construction of the Floyd Little Athletic Center, formerly the New Haven Athletic Center, as well as a planned indoor velodrome, the Centric Sports and Cycling Center, within the city. He was appointed by the governor to serve as the commissioner for the state's Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission (2000-13) and founded the Midnight Basketball Association for boys and girls to have a place to play during the evening hours. He was the recipient of the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association Heroes Award in 1997. Bill is a member of the Greater New Haven NAACP, takes part in the First Tee program to teach golf and its values to young people and is a member of the mayor's City of New Haven Youth Council.

A native of Bridgeport, Bill is the father of William Brandon Dixon and Darrin L. Dixon and the grandfather of 4-year-old William Tobias Dixon.