William John (Billy) Disch, baseball coach, was born on October 20, 1874, in Benton County, Missouri. In 1886 the family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Disch first attended public schools. His greatest interest was baseball, and in 1898 he began his coaching career at Sacred Heart College in Watertown, Wisconsin. On December 24, 1909, he married Anna Marie Kuck. Disch played professionally at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from 1900 to 1902; at Fort Worth, Texas, in 1903 and 1904; and at Galveston from 1905 to 1907. He simultaneously coached at St. Edward s University in Austin from 1900 to 1910, and in 1911 he joined the staff of the University of Texas, where he compiled one of the nation's best coaching records. From 1911 until his retirement in 1940, Disch's teams won twenty-one out of a possible twenty-six baseball championships. He was called by some the "Grand Old Man" of Texas baseball and was noted for perfectionism and strict discipline. He played an important role in persuading the Southwest Conference to adopt baseball in 1915, and in 1947 "Uncle Billy" was honored at the opening of Disch Field in Austin, named for him; the later Disch-Falk field is named for him and Bibb A. Falk. Disch died on February 3, 1953. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1954, into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1957, and the College Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1965.
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Wilbur Evans and Bill Little, Texas Longhorn Baseball: Kings of the Diamond (Huntsville, Alabama: Strode, 1983). Austin American, February 4, 1953. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Sports and Recreation
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Disch, William John,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994