Sign In
A History of Success, A Future of Promise

Hall of Fame

William H. Delaney

Lifelong Educator

When William "Bill" Delaney first met legendary Santa Ana College Track Coach John Ward, Bill and his older brother Robert were high school students training with the college runners. Coach Ward gave Bill a new pair of running shoes and made him promise to live healthy, study and train hard. He told Bill, then a sophomore, that the amount of tread left on the shoes would indicate how much he would have to pay for college. The less wear and tear on the shoes, the less he would pay – so it made sense to run long and hard.

As an Orange High School senior, Bill placed second in the California State Track Championships held at UC Berkeley. He reviewed scholarship opportunities at several major universities but because of Coach Ward's gesture and his excellent success Bill knew that for at least one year he would be competing for the Dons.

Coach Ward became a mentor to Bill Delaney. Bill was a member of Santa Ana College's cross country and track & field teams from 1963-65 and was a member of two national record-setting relay teams. To this day, Bill remembers coming out of the college bookstore and being flagged down with the earth-shattering news: President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated.

Coach Ward may have taught Bill running techniques, but as a much-respected mentor, he also instilled his optimistic philosophy of life. He advised Bill on reaching his best potential as an athlete and human being and showed him how to meet challenges head-on and, when necessary, deal with defeat.

Bill followed in Coach Ward's footsteps and into his own lifelong career in education. He attended Brigham Young University on an athletic scholarship and was a member of BYU's cross country and track & field teams, competing in many national track meets. Perhaps most important, BYU was where he met his wife, Cathy, who was raised in Orem, Utah. They married, and when he graduated with a bachelor's degree in history in 1969, he was hired immediately by Orem High School as a history teacher and track coach. While there, he earned his master's degree in education administration from BYU.

Bill's track & field teams won 12 first and second place state championships. He was voted Utah Coach of the Year in 1971 and in 1975 he was nominated for National Track & Field Coach of the Year. "I was born to work with youth and schools," Bill noted. "It's something you love that makes you happy, and the rewards are long-lasting."

He was promoted to assistant principal in 1980 and served on the Alpine School District Committees for AP Guidelines and Standards for Math, Science and Social Studies. He was selected as the assistant principal representative to the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals. He served as assistant principal for Pleasant Grove High School in 1987 and was selected as a member of the Alpine School District's Selection Screening Committee. He served on the board of the Utah High School Activities Association from 1988-92 and in 1993 he was selected as Utah Principal of the Year.

In 1988, he was promoted to principal of Pleasant Grove High School and served until 1994. That year he was named principal of the district's largest school, Mountain View High, and served there until 2001, when he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of grade 7-12 schools. He also served as a member of Utah Valley University's Board of Advisors Center for Advancement of Leadership.

Bill was selected as a board member on the Juvenile Justice, Comprehensive School Safety Leadership Initiative and was a board member on the Academic Performance-Plus Task Force for the Utah State Office of Education. In 1996, he was elected president of the Utah Association of Secondary Principals Executive Board. The next year he was nominated for the state Outstanding Educational Administrator Award.

In 1984, Bill – who jogged for many years but now plays golf instead – served as an official for the U.S. Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He now serves as an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University teaching foundations of public education and working with student teachers in the field.

The Delaneys built a beach house in Saratoga Springs, overlooking a picturesque Utah lake this past summer and are enjoying time with their four children and seven grandchildren. But Bill said that as a native, he returns to Southern California every year to "submerge his body in the Pacific Ocean for good health and long life."