COLUMBUS (WCMH) — High school sports often bring a community together as they rally behind the local teams. In the city of Gahanna, one man stands as the heart and soul of the athletic department at Gahanna Lincoln High School, and his name is Bill Withrow.
Bill has become a town icon, and is now known as “Gahanna Bill,” Bill was the manager of the Lions football team in high school, and he has been assisting Gahanna athletics for over 40 years. His positive outlook and love of sports makes him a role model for Gahanna athletes and students.
“I mean he’s at every single game, every sporting event…he’s probably an extension to every team,” said Jackson Wolf, a senior baseball player.
“I can’t think of a person more diehard about their athletics than Gahanna Bill,” said Athletic Director Dustin Cullen.
At the age of two, doctors diagnosed Bill as mentally disabled, and they believed he would never be able live on his own. However, Bill has defied all odds, and at age 62, he lives and functions on his own.
In 2001, Gahanna honored Bill’s devotion to the school by establishing the “Bill Withrow Gold & Blue Award.”
Nominated students write essays describing what “Gahanna Bill” means to them.
“These kids pour their heart out in support of Bill, and they speak to the lessons that they learn from Bill,” said Cullen.
“To me it means the world, I would give up any other award anything else just for Bills award and I think that can be said for any senior at Gahanna Lincoln,” said Kathleen McGuff, a senior tennis player.
Gahanna Bill’s best known for his hugs, and he inspires other with his laughter.
“Every time I see Bill he’s always got a smile on his face–his smile and laughter is so contagious,” said Wolf.
Cullen added, “He’s a hugger, and a kisser, and he just puts a smile on your face.