Bill Roberts grew up a multi-sport athlete at Highland High School in Pocatello, ID, playing basketball, baseball and football. Roberts said, “in Idaho, football is the only horse in town.”
“The first game starts at 3 and the last one ends at 11,” said Roberts. “It (sports) was just kind of just what we did. We didn’t have video games,” said Roberts.
He started playing football in fifth grade, and “fell in love with the physicality of it.”
At Highland, football was a storied tradition. Roberts’ aAlma mater has 13 state championship trophies in its case to prove it.
Roberts was not a part of one of those state championship teams, but he did play in the state semi-final game in 1984 where he had the only punt of his career blocked. Highland would go on to lose 21-20.
Roberts graduated and committed to play baseball at Southern Utah University, where he met his wife, Genie. Fast forward a few years, and Bill and Genie moved back to Arizona where Genie was from to start a family. They had seven kids and all of them were athletes.
“It was quite an interesting time in the Roberts home,” said Bill, who coached against his daughters when Mountain View played Skyline. Bill wouldn’t forget about football, becoming the head coach for the Mountain View freshman team.
Both of Bill’s older sons played football, and Jake was the starting quarterback at Skyline the year they beat Mountain View for the first time. Jake would go on to coach at Mountain View, getting a job as a specialty coach.
“We tried to talk him out of it, but it’s in his blood,” said Roberts.
Bill and Genie’s youngest son Willy is the current starting quarterback at Mountain View High School. Willy started playing football in middle school and called himself, “the quarterback at recess.”
Willy went to high school football camp with his dad, and knew he wanted to play varsity football.
“I got to hang out with the guys,” said Willy. “They were really cool.”
When Willy got to high school, his dad (Bill Roberts) was the freshman head football coach and his brothers, Jake and Josh, were coaches on the varsity football team at Mountain View. When asked about what it’s like to have his brothers as coaches, Willy said, “Yeah, it’s weird. I have to call him coach Roberts or I'll get in trouble.”
When Jake lived at home and coached Willy’s freshman year, Genie would take on the role of mediator between her boys.
“I would tell the boys, ‘Hey Willy, listen to your coach. Jake, treat him like any other player. Run him, bench him, whatever,’” said Genie.
Bill added that his wife Genie is, “the architect of this whole thing.”
“She keeps us balanced at home,” he said.
The Roberts family are humbled that they are allowed to work together on the Mountain View football team.
“We’re really blessed to have coaches that allow it. Not a lot of coaches would allow it, and it’s challenging at times having your dad hat on and making sure you have your coach's hat on,” said Bill.
With Willy in his senior year of high school, he has been impressive thus far at starting quarterback. The Mountain View Toros are 3-0, and have rolled through their opponents. Willy is the only quarterback at Mountain View to score as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior, a pretty cool feat for a kid that isn’t sure if he wants to play football at the next level.
“Right now I’m really looking at playing baseball in college, but I don’t know what the future holds yet,” Willy said.
Whatever he chooses, it would be a sure bet that sports are involved in some way for Willy’s future based on the way his older brothers and dad did it.