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Bill Koman

Football ∙ Hopewell

 

 

 

 

Although Tony Dorsett is Hopewell High Schoolís most famous contribution to the professional football ranks, Bill Koman was the first Viking to make it to the pros. Not bad for an athlete who was so seriously injured in a bicycle accident at age nine that doctors wanted to amputate his left leg. Fortunately, they didnít. Bill overcame adversity to become a football star at Hopewell High and the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in economics in 1956. In spite of bad knees, Bill played 14 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1956, but was released in September of 1957 and was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles a month later. His final trade came in 1959 to the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals. Bill proved to be an iron man for the Cardinals, creaky knees and all: in nine years he missed only one game and played 120 straight games at one stretch. Bill played in the Pro Bowl in 1962 and 1964 and won the Old Pro Award from the St Louis Quarterback Club in 1965. He retired from pro football in 1968 and lived in St Louis with his wife and four children.