William “Billy” Sheridan was born in Dumbarton, Scotland on June 6, 1885. As a teenager he was an excellent athlete and became a champion wrestler and topnotch cyclist before emigrating from his native country. Shortly after arriving in the USA in 1910, he was hired by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to coach its wrestling team. While still coaching at Lehigh, he was asked by Bethlehem Steel Company in 1913 to manage its vast employee athletic programs. As part of that responsibility, he was also appointed Manager/Coach/Trainer of the company’s soccer team. During his stewardship, the Bethlehem Steel Football Club won the American Cup five times and the National Challenge Cup four times from 1913 to 1919 and posted a record of 162-6-16. Billy returned full time to Lehigh in the early twenties to give more time to its wrestling team which was fast becoming an Eastern power and also gaining National prominence. Years later, he would coach soccer at Lehigh for a decade prior to his retirement in 1952. Among his players was George “Geza” Molnar, a two time collegiate, first team All-American and a first team ISFA selection in 1946.
Although athletics were a major part of his life, Billy Sheridan was also a very civic minded person. He served eighteen years as a director of the Bethlehem School Board and when he retired, Liberty High’s soccer, practice football and baseballs fields were named in his honor. He was also chairman of the Bethlehem Recreation Commission for many years and during WWII, he was appointed Executive Director of the Bethlehem Boys’ Club. He was also named to five Halls of Fame. William “Billy” Sheridan died in May, 1960 at the age of 74.
Photo and biographical information courtesy of Larry Sheridan
Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club