A fixture in education and coaching throughout the state of New Mexico for more than 35 years, Bill Stockton was born on a family ranch in Forrest, N.M., on July 20, 1913. He attended Forrest High School, leading the school to the 1933 state basketball championship and earning player of the year honors.
Stockton also lettered in football and track. A noted sprinter, legend has it that Stockton was a teenage legend in Curry County reportedly for defeating a horse and rider in a 100-yard dash - split into two 50-yard segments across a football field and around a goalpost.
Stockton attended the University of New Mexico on a basketball and track scholarship. He was team captain of the freshman basketball team and a three-year varsity letterwinner for head coach Roy Johnson from 1935-37. Stockton was named all-Border Conference as a junior when he led the league in scoring. He was also a stellar quarter-miler for head track coach Gwinn Henry.
Stockton received his bachelor's degree from UNM in 1937 and a master's degree from Eastern New Mexico.
Stockton's coaching career began in his hometown of Forrest in the fall of 1937. Just 24 years old, Stockton began a storied and diverse career as a coach and educator.
After successful coaching stops at Floyd and Tatum, Stockton moved to Melrose where he led the Buffaloes to the 1944 state championship.
Stockton's coaching prowess really took off when he took over the top spot at Clovis High School in 1946. In nine seasons, the Wildcats advanced to the state basketball tournament five times, winning the championship in 1951 and 1953. Stockton was named New Mexico High School Coach of the Year following the 1954 season as his little-regarded Clovis team claimed second in the state.
Stockton returned to his alma mater in the spring of 1955 to take over the Lobo program. Although UNM did not enjoy the prosperity that Stockton had produced in the prep ranks, Stockton did recruit and coach one of the great Lobos of all-time. Santa Fe native Toby Roybal set the Lobo single-game scoring record of 45 points in a 1956 game against Montana, a mark that stood for nearly 21 years.
Stockton, the last University of New Mexico graduate to coach the Lobos in men's basketball, guided the program for three seasons from 1955-58 before moving on to Las Cruces. He became an assistant coach under Presley Askew at New Mexico State, and then finished his career as a teacher and administrator in the Las Cruces school system.
Stockton retired in 1971.
Stockton's long-time service was recognized in 1980 when he was inducted into the New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame. He also served as President of the State High School Coaches Association.
Outside of sports, Stockton was a valuable resource to the state's leaders. He was appointed to the New Mexico Real Estate Commission by Gov. Bruce King and to the Board of New Mexico Economic Development by Gov. Jerry Apodaca.
Stockton passed away Jan. 11, 1994, in Clovis.