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BILLY Wyrsch

San Mateo Elks Lodge

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2018

Billy 86 Jan
Billy 1986 Jan
Billy sos open doubles 92 2
Billy and Alan Aug 2005
Billy Fagundes 86 Jan
Billy sos memorial 93

William "Billy" Wyrsch
2018 Inducted as Player
San Mateo Elks Lodge

By Wife Mary Wyrsch, Daughter Haley, Mike Linnik, & Tom Fitzwater

Billy started playing handball in 1974 at the age of 21 at the Golden Gate Park 4-wall courts.  And, remarkably, in only 3 years of playing won the 1977 Olympic Club Open Singles title beating Ken Ginty.  Over the next 40+ years he has won countless singles and doubles titles.  Winning the 65+ National Masters Singles Title in San Diego earlier this year, 44 years after his first open singles title, is a tribute to his longevity.  And, he did that with a new hip.

His is always a fun guy on the court while he pounds you into submission with great shot selection and devastating back wall shots.  Never one to stick with the same doubles partner, Billy has won doubles tournaments with brother David (a dominating open doubles team with numerous open competition wins), Joe McDonald, Artie Ward (how did that happen), Stan Hampton, Ed Campbell, Tom Fitzwater, and Ron Strausbaugh among others.  All totaled, Billy probably has had more finals appearances than only a few other Northern California handball players.

Q. Where did Billy learn the game?
A. I started playing at 20 years old. Never played as a kid and started playing at Golden Gate Park in SF and everybody was beating me, even "6 pack Johnny".  I would play and lose, then go to the outside courts to practice by myself then go back inside and lose again.  After about 2 months I started to win.  Then I really started to love the game.  When I turned 21 I joined the South End Rowing Club which was a new place to get more beatings.  I would play all my Dad's friends and they would beat the crap out of me.  I remember playing Bob Moser and I lost 21-0, 21--0, 11-1.  Bob said it was payback for all of the beatings your Dad gave me.  I would get to the courts 30 min early before all my games so I could practice.  I would play Al Maskic (SP?) every Saturday for a Coke.  He always beat me in the beginning then he went to Hawaii on vacation.  I trained for 2 weeks and when he came back I beat him and we never played again.

Q. Who was his 1st coach?
A. My Dad was my first coach. We would go to the South End and play singles and doubles all day. He would tell me to watch the good players and learn a new shot from each and every player.  He was a very patient coach. If you missed a shot he would say, “You are the “bleep”.  We would go to some tournaments together but 2 days with him was pretty brutal.  I miss him the most after winning a tournament.  I would call him and tell him who was there and he would have a funny comment about everyone. 

Q. What was his greatest win?
A. Greatest Wins: In doubles Artie Ward and I beat Mike and Rich Dunne in the Open in a tie breaker.  Artie never missed a ball. Playing with Mike McDonald at the Elks, Open Doubles, we beat Joe McDonald and Jon Kendler.  Jon just came back from the Nationals taking 2nd Place in the open Singles losing to Naty. Another favorite wins was against David W and Lennert DeLaTore in the Open Doubles Semi Finals.  Beforehand, Dave and Lennert told The Scoop, “We were a bunch of twinkies” and we beat them 2 straight games. In the finals we beat Dunne Sr. and Tripplet. One of my favorite singles wins was beating Ken Ginty of New York, in the Olympic Club Open Singles. Next beating Dave Morones (sp?) in the SOS Modesto Open Singles Finals.  As soon as I won, the loud speaker paged me to report to the bar.  Everyone was waiting for me to buy drinks. Best wins at the San Diego USHA 65+Singles 2018, beating Merv Deckert in the Semi finals and Bob Lohmueller in the finals.

Q. Why Billy deserves to be in the hall-of-fame:
I have played handball for 45 years and won lots of tournaments and National; open and  masters, singles and doubles.
I never had a national championship until 2018 because I was not able to travel with work and family. 

Q. Maybe a funny story between Billy/David/Howie.
A. Dad and Dave would come to Grass Valley every Labor Day to play handball.  Doug Chandler and I would play Dad and Dave.  The last two time we split and the very last time we played Dad was ahead 20-11.  Dave started goofing around and Dad would say, “we can’t lose to these hicks”.  Dave would set us up and Dad would yell at him.  Doug and I won 21-20 in the third.  Dad was yelling still at Dave.  It was funny because I never saw my Dad mad.  J  We go to the locker room and Dave tells us, “I would rather lose than listen to Dad brag all day”.  It was a quiet night.

Billy Wyrsch


. 40 years of "Handball News and Scoop"
. 50 years of "Ace and Handball" magazine
. R2Sports (went online 2006)

1971 Mt. Diablo Open “C” Singles: 2nd Place lost to “Murder Ball” Ken Moeller

1974 Olympic Club Open Singles: 1st Place against Ken Ginty

70’s Santa Rosa Turkey Shoot Open Singles: 1st Place against David Wyrsch

70’s Modesto SOS Club Memorial Day Open Singles: 1st Place against Dave Morones

70’s Los Gatos Regionals Open Doubles w/ Joe McDonald: 1st Place – beat David Wyrsch/Lennert De La Torre in the Semi’s

70’s Top Gun Open Doubles w/Tom Galegos: 1st Place against Mike Dunne Sr/Jim Tripplet

70’s Cal State Open Singles: 2nd Place (twice)

70’s Golden Gate Open Singles: 2nd Place to Mike Treacy

70’s Nor Cal Regionals Open Singles: 2nd Place to Bruce Meneken “Free trip to McNeers Beach”

80’s Modesto SOS Club Memorial Day Open Singles: 1st Place

80’s Modesto SOS Club Memorial Day Open Doubles: 1st Place against Randy Morones/Willie Murrietta

80’s Top Gun Open Doubles w/David Wyrsch: 1st Place against Rick Christian

NCHA Regionals
Royal Racquet Club
Open Singles: Billy Wrsch d. Abreu 21-5,21-5, Larry Aguiar 21-17,21-16,
and Pat Bowen 21-8(13-21),11-5.

Multiple Santa Rosa Turkey Shoots Singles & Doubles: 1st Place

Multiple Top Gun Singles & Doubles: 1st Place w/Ed Campbell, Artie Ward, and David Wyrsch.
Best win with Artie Ward defeating Rich and Mike Dunne.

Multiple 1st and 2nd Place wins at Jerry Cook Singles/Doubles Tournaments

NCHA Regionals & Pro Stop
Royal Racquet Club
Open Singles: Billy Wrsch d. Brian Nelson 21-12,21-16.
=> Note: Billy beats Chris Tico IN THE SEMI's.

Memorial Day
SoS Modesto
Open Doubles
Billy & David Wyrsch d. Dunne/Tamagni 21-14,21-19.

Memorial Day
SoS Modesto
Open Doubles
Billy & David Wyrsch d. Willie Murrietta/Randy Morones.

San Mateo Elks Tournament
Open Doubles
Billy & David Wyrsch.
=> Scoop '94 Aug "repeated as champions"

San Mateo Elks Tournament
Open Doubles
Billy & David Wyrsch d. Rick Christian/Rich Vasquez 21-15,21-15.
=> Note: Billy/Dave beat Mike/Norm Dunne 21-7,21-10 in the Semi-Finals.
=> Scoop '94 Aug "repeated as champions"

2000 Sacramento Open Doubles w/Stan Hampton: 1st Place

Sacramento Open
Sacramento Elk's Lodge #6/Riverside Atheletc Club
Mens 40+ Doubles
Billy Wyrsch/Artie Ward d. Mark Bradley/John Sordi 21-5,21-11.


2003 Regionals 50’s Singles Sacramento: 1st Place

2003 Kauai Open Singles and Doubles: 2nd Place

NCHA Regionals
Royal Racquet Club
Men's 50's Singles:
Billy Wrsch d. Alan Sherrill 21-20,21-17.

Sacramento Open
Sacramento Elk's Lodge #6/Riverside Atheletc Club
Mens 50+ Singles
Billy Wyrsch d. Steve Williams 21-7,21-9.
Mens 50+ Doubles
Billy Wyrsch/Stan Hampton d. Steve Williams/Gunner Lester 21-5,21-20.
=> Note: S-L-A-M!!!

2006 Regionals 50’s Doubles: 1st place w/Artie Ward against Tom Fitzwater/Pat Bowen

Top Gun Doubles
San Mateo Elk's Lodge
Men's 50 Doubles
Billy Wyrsch/Tom Fitzwater winners.
=> Note: Scoop 2009 Jul p.11
=> Billy's Dad Howie was there to watch and cheer Billy on.

2010 Santa Rosa Turkey Shoot 50’s Doubles w/Tom Fitzwater: 1st Place

2011 Reno Blackjack Open 50’s Singles: 1st Place against Francis Brenning

2014 Pleasanton Superbowl Tournament 60’s w/ Dave Nava: 1st Place

33st Annual Hall-of-Fame Tournamnet
San Mateo Elk's Lodge
Men's 60's Doubles
Billy Wyrsch/Ron Strausbaugh d. Scott Spann/Tom Fitzwater 21-12,21-16.
Note: Billy/Ron beat Jim Tamagni/Ed Campbell 21-15,21-16 IN THE SEMIS.

Turkey Shoot
Parkpoint Club Santa Rosa
Men's 60 Doubles
Billy Wyrsch/Tom Fitzwater d. Ed Campbell/Mike Woods (17-21),21-17,11-2.

2018 Nationals Singles 60’s San Diego: 1st Place

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