Former Leatherneck Heisler earns spot on IHSA’s list of legends
Courtesy: Jason Kaufman  
Release: Tuesday 01/24/2007
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Courtesy: WIU Visual Productions Center
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Former Leatherneck Bill Heisler was recently named to the list of...

MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois University alum Bill Heisler, who was a four-year letterwinner for the Leatherneck basketball team from 1997-2001, was recently named one of the Illinois High School Association’s “100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament,” joining the likes of Kenny Battle, Quinn Buckner, Quentin Richardson, Isiah Thomas and others.

Heisler scored 114 points and collected 19 assists in four tournament games, leading underdog Warsaw High School to the 1997 Class A title. He scored 26 points in a Supersectional game at Western Hall, then rung up 36 in the title game against Spring Valley (Hall), knocking down a Class A tournament-record six three-pointers.

“It’s almost laughable to be mentioned alongside some of those players,” said Heisler. “It’s obviously quite an honor, but I didn’t get there by myself. It’s amazing that some of those games we played are still well-recognized and still talked about. The list contains a few names that are just on a different echelon.”

During his Western Illinois career, Heissler set, and still holds, the school’s Division I career records for steals (167), three-point field goals (216) and three-point field goal attempts (576). He also set single-season records of 77 three-pointers and 221 three-point attempts during his junior season.

“I loved playing in Western Hall,” recalled Heisler. “You step onto that parquet floor and they turn the side lights out so just the floor is lit and you can’t help but be ready to play. I remember I was nervous (the first time I stepped into a game as a Leatherneck). It was just an exhibition game, but it was the first time I felt confident and felt like I belonged there and it was the first step to my career.”

“I was always a Western Illinois fan (growing up), but never really dreamed of playing there. When I visited campus as a recruit, I just really liked what I saw, liked the people and the staff. I had a very positive experience at Western and I speak highly of it every chance I get now,” continued the first-year sophomore boys basketball coach at Leyden High School. “I really miss playing and miss the teammates and friends I made. I learned a lot of life lessons there that I am trying to instill in my players now.”

Heisler recently returned to Warsaw to autograph a commemorative “Ball of Fame” and he will be attending the 2007 boys tournament to participate in a ceremony honoring members of the list.
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