Billy York was born on September 11, 1950, and grew up in the small farming community of Cochranville, Pennsylvania. As a child, York was the smallest person in his class and spent most of his time reading and sitting out of sports. In the sixth grade, however, he took inspiration from a story he read about Glenn Cunningham, the greatest American miler of his time, and refused to let what some at the time viewed as a limitation hold him back. He never looked back. In high school, York earned twelve varsity letters in Cross Country, Wrestling and Track and followed his father’s footsteps into the Navy, with which he served in Vietnam. Upon completion of his military service, he returned to his family in Pennsylvania, and in 1974, he and his family moved to Riverside.
In 1984, York started the Harvest Christian School cross country team, which, under the guidance of York and his predecessors, soon won the National AAU Championships in Birmingham, Alabama in 1987. York began coaching at Woodcrest Christian in 1986 and has molded the Woodcrest Christian cross country team into one of the most powerful programs in the State of California, leading the team to five straight CIF State Championships in Cross Country – the only CIF High School to achieve this in any sport. He also created the Middle School Cross Country League, in which more than twenty teams now compete, and developed the “cluster meet” format for Inland Empire schools, a format now used throughout California.
For over 30 years, York has been a quiet mentor to the Boys and Girls Track and Field and Cross Country teams, bringing much honor and fame for his school, his teams and for his City. His coaching achievements are almost too numerous to mention: 60 High School League Championships, 37 Coach of the Year Awards in Cross Country and Track and Field, 3 State CIF Coach of the Year Awards, 3 CIF Academic Team Championships and 20 straight League Championships. In addition, York was named the Press-Enterprise Coach of the Year in 2008 and was inducted into the prestigious Mt. Sac Hall of Fame in 2009. His most important achievement, however, has been his impact on countless young lives through his strong faith, belief in young people and the positive way in which he conducts himself on the field and in everyday life.
Billy is blessed with a wonderful wife, Bonnie who has worked side-by-side with him in the Harvest Children’s Ministry program. They have been married for 43 years and have three grown children – Vince, age 42, Mark, age 38 and Alecia “Bunky” Rothermune, age 36.