CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Just months after leading Oscar Smith to the state championship game, Bill Dee, who coached his Phoebus high school team to over 250 wins, and four state championships passed away today, just months after he led Oscar Smith high school to the state 6-A championship game.
He spent nearly three decades coaching young men in our community, compiling over 250 high school wins, and four state championships before college coaching tours at Christopher Newport and Old Dominion.
Coach Dee came out of retirement last spring, hired by then athletic director Todd Parker to replace Richard Morgan who had built Oscar Smith into a national powerhouse.
Over nearly a quarter century at little Phoebus high school in Hampton, Coach Dee led the Phantoms to nine district titles, seven Regional championships and brought home four state trophies.
He battled health issues all season; and probably should have in the middle of the season to care for his cancer, but would not leave his “new” kids.
Instead he kept the Oscar Smith streak alive, 91 straight district wins, and a trip to the state championship final where the Tigers lost a heartbreaker in overtime.
Tonight, it is his former players, fellow coaches and friends who are heartbroken.
Jeremy Blunt who played on the first Phoebus championship team and later coached the Phantoms told me tonight, “Coach Dee impacted so many lives. You don’t measure greatness by wins and losses, Coach Dee’s success came in what he taught his players about life.”
“When I was hired in February 2007, the first high school head coach I met with in Virginia was Bill Dee who was coaching at Phoebus at the time,” said Old Dominion football coach Bobby Wilder. “He commanded that level of respect. I had the honor of working with him at Old Dominion University and did an outstanding job during his time with us at ODU. What Bill accomplished this year at Oscar Smith while battling cancer solidified in my mind he is the best coach in high school football I have worked with in my 29 years of coaching football. I am heartbroken tonight that Bill Dee is gone. The Old Dominion Family extends our heartfelt sympathies to his family. He will be missed and he will be remembered.”
Our prayers go out to his Bill’s wife Margaret and the Dee family–I agree with Coach Wilder, he will be missed.