KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Friends and family are looking back on the life and career of one of Kansas City's most decorated and respected high school basketball coaches. William Madison spent 40 years as one of the most influential coaches in the Interscholastic league.
At Manual, Southwest and Northeast, Madison won 612 games, including a state championship in 1971. More important than all the accolades was his special bond with the young men he coached, all the way to the very end.
"I was always proud of my husband and the way he felt about his players." said Jestine, Madson's widow. "What I heard wasn't always what they did on the court. He was like a proud father because he would come home and say I ran into this one or that one and this is what he's doing now."
Former players also remembered how Coach Madison always had their best interest at heart. Maurice Cunningham recalled some of the moments when Madison would discuss life's game plan.
"One thing that always stayed with me that Coach told me the beginning of my senior year. He said, 'Boy, I'm not just preparing you for this year. I'm preparing you for the next level.'" Cunningham said.
Kansas City high school basketball fans are still dealing with the losses of hall-of-famers Willie Bowie of Paseo and Bud Lathrop of Raytown South. All left their mark on the community in their own unique style of coaching.
"The guys that you've seen around town and those coaches of that era, they all had an impact on all of us and you could see it everywhere," said Artie Clayton who not only played for Madison, but is also his brother-in-law.
Marc Beachem played three seasons for Madison at Southwest before transferring to Raytown South.
"When dealing with Coach Bud Lathrop and Coach Madison, legendary. He's the same coach, same level," Beachem said.
There's one message that former players, family and friends want everyone to know — there was no one who touched their lives more than Madison, and he's forever in their hearts.