May 13, 1942 – April 2, 2018
William Stiles "Bill" Rademacher, of Williamston, MI, went to his eternal reward on Monday, April 2, 2018. Born May 13, 1942, in Menominee, MI, to Walter and Helen Rademacher, Bill was educated in Menominee private and public schools. He attended the former St. John's Catholic Grade School and was a 1960 graduate of Menominee High School.
He earned 12 varsity letters in four sports at Menominee High: three each in football and basketball, four in baseball and two in track and field. He once held the school record in the high and low hurdles. He played quarterback on the Maroon football team and played in the defensive line, a rarity for a team star quarterback to play in the trenches on defense.
Bill was voted by his peers to receive the coveted Barbara Silverthorne trophy as the schools outstandingly athlete in the 1959-1960 school year. He also won Menominee's athlete of the year award in 1960, an honor bestowed each year by the Menominee Herald Leader newspaper.
After attending a Milwaukee Silver Slugger's baseball school in Menominee following high school, Bill was chosen the outstanding player in all -star competition and named to the U.P. and Northeastern Wisconsin All-Stars. The team played an all-star line up selected from the Milwaukee region. The game was played in old County Stadium in Milwaukee.
The all star selections were made by scouts from the former Milwaukee Braves, now the Atlanta Braves. Bill was a hard hitting outfielder for the Post 146 American Legion team. The local Silver Sluggers school was sponsored by he Menominee Herald-Leader.
He attended Northern Michigan University in 1960 where he lettered in football and track. He graduated from NMU in 1964. He earned four letters in football and established several pass receiving records that stood for 13 Years.
A determined and overachieving athlete, Bill signed as a free agent with the New York Jets where he played five seasons and later spent 3 seasons with the Boston Patriots. The highlight of his eight year career with the NFL was as a member of the New York Jets who won Super Bowl III in 1969 behind quarterback Joe Namath. The Jets stunned the football world by defeating Baltimore 16-7 which still ranks as one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
Bill was backup pass receiver and defensive back for the Jets at a time when players performed on both sides of the ball. His biggest contribution to the Jets, however, was as a standout on special teams.
The Menominee native turned to coaching following his pro football career. He served one year as an assistant football coach at Xavier University in Ohio before returning to his Alma Mater in 1973. He was the quarterback coach when the NMU Wildcats won the Division II National Title in 1975 with Steve Marriucci at quarterback.
Bill was named head coach of the Wildcats in 1978. NMU compiled an impressive record during Bill's five year stint. He left the NMU job to join George Perless' staff at Michigan State University in 1983. He remained at Michigan State until 1991 when he retired from coaching.
He is a member of the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame and the Northern Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. He will be posthumously inducted into the first class of the Menominee High School Athletic Hall of Fame on May 5.
Bill was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Stiles Rademacher; father, Walter T. Rademacher; brother Walter B. "Roddy" Rademacher ; and first wife; Karen Mather Rademacher. He is survived by his sons, William Stiles Rademacher II, Eric Shannon Rademacher, former wife and friend, Kelly Shannon, and, lifelong friend and devoted caregiver, Tom Bengtson.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, April 23, at 11 am, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Menominee, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Maroons Booster Club c/o Menominee Area Public Schools, Menominee, MI. www.gomaroons.org
Maroons Booster Club
c/o Menominee Area Public Schools, Menominee, Michigan
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
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April 23, 2018
Amazing how time passes. It seems like just a few years ago coach Rad was "directing" me what to do and how to do it. I think of my coaches and teammates quite often in these later years. What a great time back then , totally different than today. I just hope that I get to play for coach Rad and the other coaches, and teammates in the next life. Coach, "get 'em up there and hand on the line, 4th quarter baby".
April 10, 2018
Coach Rad was the first man to teach me really how to play the game of football and being a wide receiver he came to my high school and asked me if I would like to play for him at NMU and I loved every second of it he was the best coach for me. RIP coach I’ll miss u but I will never forget u !!!🏈🙏🏻🏈 #4
April 6, 2018
Bill was one of my extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in East Lansing. He served for years even after he had moved into Burcham Senior Living. He was a kind and gentle man.
April 6, 2018
I played football with “Billy “ on Patriots for a couple of years. He played courageous, and never dropped a ball. The first game of season our coach decided to throw a 60 yard pass to Billy, a complete surprise. The coach, Clive Rush had coached Billy with Jets. It was first play of game and it worked!
Bill was a gentleman and great athlete. My sincere condolences! Ed Toner
April 6, 2018
My two brothers (Mick and Tom) and I went to elementary, high school and college with Bill. He was an exceptional athlete in all sports at all levels. But I will remember three additional qualities that stood out about Bill. First, he was a genuine person, always asking how others were doing. It was you, you, you, not me, me, me. He may have been the least presumptuous person I have known. He was extremely modest. No one ever heard him talk about his multiple accomplishments. Never. The other quality that helped Bill succeed on the gridiron and in life was his absolute determination to do his best, whether in sports or in writing an essay for an English class. To do one’s best was critical to Bill. He admired others who did their best, even if they were not stars. I have often heard people say “they don’t make them like that (Bill) any more.” Perhaps not, but let’s be thankful Bill was with us for 75 years. He helped all of us appreciate life and each other. God bless Bill Rademacher. Bill would add, “Go Maroons!”
April 6, 2018
Proud to have been your teammate at Northern during your freshman year. Rookie Rademacher they called you but you played nearly at the level of a pro even back then. My prayers go out for you and your family. They have much to be proud of over your distinguished career as well as being an outstanding husband, parent and friend to many.
April 4, 2018
Bill will always be remembered as a Friend and Key player, of our Courtesy Ford Team. He was very dependable and dedicated
to "Excellence" for any task.... Our deepest Sympathy and Prayers to the Family in your loss.
April 3, 2018
Rest in peace Bill. Many fond memories of you and your Mother, you were a great son. You are now at peace!
April 3, 2018
Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to rookie and the family. We shared nmu football experiences and we're friends in the Boston area. He was a great guy who will be missed.