Bruce Wilson Athlete, Pre 1970

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May 2, 2012 2 Comments ›› Riverside Sport Hall of Fame

Athlete,  Pre 1970

Bruce Wilson was born on June 13, 1924. At the young age of 87, he is the oldest living athlete to be inducted into the Riverside sport Hall of Fame. Wilson grew up with his older brother Jim on Hoover Street in Riverside, and attended Palm Elementary School, Central Middle School and Poly High School. His father owned Brick Wilson’s Automotive Service on Market Street. Wilson got his start in athletics in junior high school playing softball in a Park and Recreation Department Night Ball League, at a time when there were no youth baseball leagues.

In high school, Wilson was the first Riverside Poly student to letter in all four major sports – football, basketball, track and field, and baseball. While at Poly, he earned eight varsity letters and was the school’s athlete of the year in 1943.

Upon graduation in 1943, he immediately joined the United States Army, where he volunteered for parachute training and joined the 517th Parachute Regiment made famous in Band of Brothers. During WWII, he fought in five major battles, including the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge.

After the war, Bruce lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Riverside City College, where he graduated in 1947. He later briefly played baseball while at USC. He returned to Riverside to teach and coach at Central Junior High (1951-57), Poly High (1957-66) and RCC (1967-89). During that time he was a positive role model and mentor to hundreds of young people.

During Bruce’s 39-year teaching career, he never missed one day of work. Bruce and his wife Doris have been married for 62 years. They have a son Tom, a daughter Gail, and three grandchildren.


  1. Dave Hallock says:

    Belated congratulations to coach Bruce Wilson for this well deserved recognition!

    I had the good fortune to play for Bruce on the Poly High baseball teams in 1964 and 1965 and again for RCC in 1970 after my service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Bruce was a very fine coach, but his influence over many years of teaching and coaching transcended sports.

    Coach Wilson was a wonderful role model, as a gentleman who always conducted himself with admirable calmness, easy humor and dignity, and always related to young people with kindness, respect and encouragement.

    An often over-looked role of male teachers and coaches is how they serve as father figures for young people growing up without a father in the home. Bruce was such a father figure for me, a man whose character and conduct became something I wanted to emulate as I grew up.

    Dave Hallock, Seattle

  2. Bryan Dunaj says:

    Congratulations to Coach Wilson.

    I was fortunate to play for Coach Wilson’s baseball team at RCC 1970,71. He taught me his great work ethic that I always remember. By the way the best fungo bat hitter I ever saw. He could really scorch it.

    Bryan Dunaj 2B
    Moreno Valley, Ca

    Also thank you for your Military Service.