2015

Sports Legend

William Durell, Class of 1956

Bill Durell was an outstanding high school athlete at Hamburg High, holding 2 letters in varsity football, 3 in wrestling and 3 in track. As a junior in 1955, Bill set the school record in the pole vault, tying Jack Griffin for the school track record for most team points scored in a season. 

As a senior, Bill was the Section VI Wrestling Champ, going undefeated during the regular season and unscored upon during the Sectional tournament. That same year as Track Captain, Bill continued to set school records in the pole vault At the 1956 Division II track meet, Bill won first place in both the pole vault and long jump, setting division records. He repeated that feat at Sectionals, again setting records in both events. Bill ended the regular season #1 in the state in the pole vault. At the state meet at West Point, Bill took second in that event. 

Some of Bill’s fondest memories at HHS include scoring the first of 3 touchdowns at Gowanda in the pouring rain in September of ’55, winning the Section VI wrestling Championship and winning and setting new records in the pole vault and long jump at the 1956 Division II and Section VI track and field finals. 

At graduation, Bill was awarded the American Legion Outstanding Trackman Award and recognized as the Outstanding Athlete in the Senior Class. He accepted a full tuition Outstanding Student Scholarship, a combination of both track and academic scholarship. He graduated with honors from Michigan State in 1960 and became a commercial airline pilot, retiring after a successful career. He went on to become a self-employed inventor.