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Former Western Oregon football coach Bill McArthur dies

April 25, 1997 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) _ Bill McArthur, the former football coach who led Western Oregon to 180 victories over 36 years, died Thursday. He was 78.

``It really marks the end of an era here at Western Oregon,″ said Jon Carey, the university’s director of athletics and a former assistant under McArthur.

``Even though he hasn’t been the head coach for a number of years, in my mind he has still been an important presence in our program.″

McArthur had a 180-124-6 record in 36 seasons.

McArthur directed the school’s football program from 1947, when Western Oregon was called the Oregon College of Education, through 1982, when he retired as athletic director.

He came out of retirement to coach the 1991 team, which was 0-9.

McArthur was enshrined in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1983, the University of California-Santa Barbara Hall of Fame in 1988, and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

While in retirement, McArthur volunteered as coach at Stayton’s Regis High School in the mid 1980s. He directed the school to the Class A state playoffs in 1985 and to a state title in 1987.

McArthur was a Little All-American in 1940 at UC-Santa Barbara and played pro football with the Chicago Rockets of the All-American Football Conference until a leg injury shortened his career.

McArthur also occasionally coached the Western Oregon golf team, and chaired the department of health and physical education for many years.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and sons Mike, Steve and Kelly.

Services were pending.