Instinctively, Bill Finn turns around. A former student greets him. Next time it might be a community member saying hello, or a fellow pick-up basketball player.
Finn, Moraine Valley Community College’s Athletics Director, is used to being called out in public. Whether he is grocery shopping by his home or dining with his wife and daughter at a restaurant near the college, Finn is used to being recognized nearly everywhere he goes.
It’s almost like he’s a sports celebrity in the south suburbs.
After all, Finn has been a staple on the Moraine Valley campus since 1983. He’s smashed records, made history, and grew the athletics program during his tenure.
The best part about it all is the fact he doesn’t feel like he’s worked a day in his life.
“I have the best job in the world,” said Finn. “When you believe in the place that you work, and have fun doing what you’re doing, you’re not working; you’re having fun and enjoying yourself.”
Finn was originally hired as the head coach of the college’s men’s basketball team. His goal was to make Moraine Valley’s basketball team the best—a team everyone wanted to be a part of.
“When I was a player, my goal was to be a complete player on the court at all phases, and quite frankly be the best player on that floor,” said Finn. “I had the same drive for this job; I wanted to do it all. And for us to be the best in the nation.”
Finn had a reputation prior to starting the head-coaching job at Moraine Valley. He earned All-State Honorable Mention as one of Illinois Top 100 players from Richards High School in Oak Lawn and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics all-district honors as his team captain for Top 20 teams at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
“My first year (at Moraine Valley) we had a very good team, and as a result, we attracted even better players my second year,” said Finn, who landed the position of athletic director after his first year as head coach. “As a matter of fact, during my second year we upset the No. 1 team in the country. Exciting things were happening for the athletics program.”
During his 22-year tenure as head basketball coach, Finn kept a 506-210 career record and 20 20-plus win seasons. He also led his teams to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division II national tournament four times, finishing in the final four in 1990 and 1999, and in the elite eight in 2001 and 2002.
He is a proud member of numerous hall of fames: Richards High School Athletics (Basketball) Hall of Fame, Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference of Illinois Hall of Fame, National Junior College Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and Region IV, Illinois Junior College Hall of Fame.
“I had built the basketball program that I always dreamed of having since day one,” said Finn.
While exciting things were happening in the basketball program, the Athletics Department as a whole was taking off as well with the addition of new sports. From women’s basketball and volleyball as well as soccer, cross country, baseball and softball, the athletics programs grew and flourished.
“I recruit for every sport, and I network all over the area,” said Finn. “The names and faces may change over the years, but the integrity of our program remains the same.”
Perhaps one of the reasons that the athletics program has been so strong is Finn’s ability to remember the name of nearly every athlete that has played in the program.
“Our college athletics program runs on personal attention and in order to be successful, keeping relationships with our students, our athletes is of the utmost importance,” said Finn. “Long after our students will leave our program, on a daily basis, I will hear from someone who is sharing their success with me. Those calls, emails and in-person visits mean so much to me.”