Billy Stone has been one of the most popular figures in Bradley's long athletic history, having provided distinguished service as a student athlete, as a coach and as an assistant athletic director.
After a colorful playing career at Bradley which saw him become one of the most exciting halfbacks in the school's history, he went off to professional football and earned Rookie of the Year honors with the Baltimore Colts. He joined the Chicago Bears in 1951, and in four short years established himself as one of the most productive all-purpose players the Bears have ever had. In those four years he gained 2,660 yards while scoring 18 touchdowns. As a Bear he carried the baIl 231 times for 794 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 100 passes for 1,374 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 32 punt returns for 172 yards and 13 kickoff returns for 323 yards. And during that same period, he was one of the defensive stars of the Bears at the safety position as he played both ways throughout his professional career.
Then at the peak of his professional game, he was asked to return to his Alma Mater to become one of the youngest college football coaches in America. He responded by making Bradley one of the most exciting teams in the country with his wide open passing formations which enabled such quarterbacks as Dick Jamieson and Bob Caress to gain All-American honors. Stone's Braves repeatedly went up against bigger and stronger teams and pulled off major upset after major upset over such powers as Northern Michigan, Colorado State and the U.S. Marine team which were dominated by former college All-Americans. When football was dropped at Bradley for financial reasons, Stone became assistant athletic director and golf coach, and he continued to represent Bradley as a goodwill ambassador, making friends for the University across the nation.