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Celebration of Life

Centenary United Methodist Church
Saturday November 19th, 2022

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William J. "Bill" Strickland

William J. “Bill” Strickland passed away at his home on October 31, 2022, at the age of 81. He was born on June 6, 1941, in Portsmouth, Va. He was predeceased by his parents John B. Strickland and Treva M. Strickland; and 2 sisters.

Married to Nancy Berry for 60 years, they were blessed with 2 daughters – Tina Strickland Fricke (Steve) and Cameron Strickland Hopkins (Paul) (whose initials are TC and many feel that wasn’t a coincidence). He has 4 grandchildren: William Fricke and Lencee, Caylee, and Gregory William Hopkins. He was so proud and honored that both grandsons were named after him. He was blessed that every player that played for him became family. He also has several cousins, nephews, a niece, and a sister.

Bill was an outstanding football player at Cradock High School and East Carolina University (ECU). He received a full scholarship for football to ECU where he started as a freshman. After graduating from ECU in 1963, he returned to Cradock to teach and be the line coach for the Admirals. During his summer breaks between teaching and coaching, Bill earned his master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Bill was selected as the head football coach at Churchland High School in 1968. He was the head football coach for 18 years (1968-1985). In 1975, he was selected District Coach of the Year. He was the head softball coach for 5 years and the Lady Truckers won 2 district championships. In 1990, he assumed the Athletic Director’s position. He served in this position for 13 years. He was chosen for the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Lifetime Achievement Award. Through this award, the VHSL recognizes individuals who have been very instrumental in the VHSL programs and in the lives of young people that these programs have impacted. In October of 2006, the Churchland High School football stadium was named the William J. “Bill” Strickland stadium. An honor he always cherished.

Bill touched the lives of so many people during his 35 years at Churchland High School. He devoted countless hours and untiring efforts to teaching, coaching, and coordinating the athletic programs. His true love of the athletes and his genuine interest in their overall well-being was a rare combination. He instilled in his players “Trucker Pride” and taught them that pride comes not from your accomplishments but from the effort you put into any task and the collective effort that embodies any effective team. He built character, taught respect, inspired greatness, and had a positive lasting impact on the lives of many young athletes and students. Bill’s Motto “Orange and Black upon your back makes you one of America’s Best”

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2022, at 11 am at Centenary United Methodist Church – 3312 Cedar Lane, Portsmouth VA 23703. The family invites family and friends to join them after the service in the church fellowship hall to share memories and celebrate Bill’s life.

If sending flowers, please consider using Churchland’s Village Flower Shop as his granddaughter works there or donations can be made to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter (CHKD) or to your favorite charity.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William J. Strickland, please visit our flower store.


Going to miss talking with you coach ! Thank you for all of the guidance and support over the years.

Victor Brown Nov 19 2022 3:52 PM

A candle was lit in memory of William J. Strickland

Donald L Newsome Nov 19 2022 7:12 AM

A candle was lit in memory of William J. Strickland

Dan, Patricia and Jared Rodenas Nov 18 2022 11:43 PM

To the Strickland family, thank you for sharing Coach with all of us. He will truly be missed. May God grant you all with His comfort and peace.

Ken Loney Nov 18 2022 10:19 PM

A cherished friend and neighbor. I will miss Bill as will the entire Pinehurst neighborhood.

Frances Alexander Nov 10 2022 1:43 PM

We will miss you Coach!!! Thanks for everything you did for our Trucker Community!!!

Chuck Thornton Nov 9 2022 3:00 PM

I played for a different basketball and softball Coach in 80-84, Coach Strickland always found and made the time for you. He stop and spoke to you in the halls. Especially when you weren't supposed to be in the halls. Although, I wasn't his player, he always spoke truth to me and everyone else. He built us up when we thought thing's were at its worse. No matter who you were he gave his time, experience, but most of all Coach loved all of us and we knew it. We were and are the Trucker Nation he build for life. His legacy will live on and his flame will never Burn out. RIP Coach Strickland. Thanks for all you gave of yourself and did for Trucker Athlete's, Trucker Nation and the entire community. Miss you Coach.

Reverend Lisa Kidd Nov 9 2022 2:01 PM

A candle was lit in memory of William J. Strickland

Greg and Lauren Price Nov 9 2022 10:15 AM

Coach Strickland was my mother’s (Shirlee) Cradock classmate, my father’s (Mr. Little) colleague, and my Driver’s Ed teacher. During the Driver’s Ed class, the other students drove both the manual and automatic transmission cars. I was too intimidated to ask why I didn’t get a turn in the manual transmission car. I found out later Coach and my dad agreed to spare us all the aggregation of trying to teach me to drive stick shift. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Kim Johnson Nov 9 2022 7:35 AM

So many lives saved by the passenger side brake pedal….

Trey Rhodes Nov 9 2022 6:24 AM

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