Wil Ball has played RAF as a solo, duet, and with his family band, Wilberville, which a couple of times included two sons and a grandson.
Wil was director of counseling at ECU for 15 years prior to his retirement in 1997. He began playing country music in his hometown of Phillippi, West Virginia, where he fronted his own band during high school, from 1949-53. He and wife Doris were living in Phoenix, Arizona, where Wil was teaching high school, prior to moving to Greenville, “to be closer to family,” he explained. “Arizona’s a long ways off.”
“I didn’t play much, though, after we started raising our family,” he said. “When [son] Mike was in high school [at J.H. Rose in the mid-1970s, where he also played football], he got interested in playing, and that’s when I started picking it back up.”
After graduating from ECU, Mike Ball then studied law at Wake Forest. He is a partner in the Greenville law firm of Colombo, Kitchin, Dunn, Ball and Porter.
[Grandson] Alex Ball, a Broughton High grad, is a sophomore at ECU. “He’s one of the best young musicians we’ve had play out here,” said Alex Albright, Fountain General Store proprietor. He performs with two bluegrass bands, Carolina Still and the Lounge Abouts.
Wil Ball was hired to teach technology at East Carolina College in 1964. “But pretty soon I found out I was more interested in people than things,” he said. “So when the college was becoming a university, and we were going to have to get a doctorate if we wanted to keep our jobs, I decided to get mine in counseling.”
Ball earned his PhD from Indiana University in 1971 and immediately returned to ECU, where he worked in counseling for 30 years. As he neared retirement, his interest in music also heightened. “I’ve always written songs,” he said, “but a couple of years before I retired, I started writing a lot more.”