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USA Shooting Mourns Passing of Hall of Fame Rifle Coach William (Bill) Pullum

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (October 20, 2015)

William PullumUSA Shooting Hall of Fame member William (Bill) Pullum passed away on October 13, 2015 at the age of 95.  Pullum served in World War II and the Korean War and retired from the U.S. Army in 1966. He was the Rifle Coach for international shooting competitions from 1962-1988 and was a part of five Olympic Teams. 

Lt. Col. (Retired) Pullum was a long-time distinguished rifle coach for the USA Shooting Team helping guide the 1964, 1968 and 1984 Olympic Rifle Teams as well as the 1966 and 1974 World Championship Teams.  His distinguished pupils include the sport’s legendary icons in the likes of two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time World Champion Gary Anderson, three-time Olympic medalist and 12-time World Championships medalist Lones Wigger, and two-time Olympic medalist and nine-time World Championships medalist Lanny Bassham. 

Pullum’s international rifle coaching career got started in 1962 at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). He is credited with coaching the 1964 Olympic Team to two gold medals, one silver, and two bronze medals in the rifle events. He retired from the Army in May 1966 and became the civilian rifle coach at the USAMU.  He was the rifle coach for the 1966 World Championship Team that dominated the rifle events helping the USA win the Nasser Trophy as the most successful team at the World Championships. He was also the coach of the rifle team at the 1968 Olympic Games where the rifle team collected one gold and two silver medals. He left the USAMU in the spring of 1970 and worked within real estate and coached the Mexican National Shooting Team. 

Rifle Team Coach Bill Pullum, Jack Foster, Gary Anderson, Jack Writer and Lones Wigger. Photo courtesy of Ruth Ann Anderson “Bill Pullum’s passing is indeed the loss of one of our sport’s great leaders,” said Anderson.“His profound influence was felt in so many ways.  He was a great coach whose genius was to ask us questions that made us find solutions to our problems.  He expected all of us to be satisfied with nothing less than winning.  He was a key leader in creating the U. S. National Team program that we have today.  And, he was an inspiring and innovative author whose understanding of championship performance made generations of American shooters so much better.  Shooting in America is demonstrably better today because Bill Pullum led us toward excellence along these many paths.” 

“LTC Pullum was my mentor, my coach, my friend and like a second father to me,” Wigger said. “I credit him for my success in the Munich Olympics in 1972. With his guidance and mental preparation, I was able to perform when it counted.  I always remember when you asked him a question about mental training, by the time the conversation was over, you had answered your own question.  He was a great leader and always supported his shooters.  He taught me the importance of hard work, mental discipline and the will to win.  He was a great man and coach and we have lost an icon.” 

The late Bill Pullum coaching U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit competitors. Photo courtesy of the USAMU.

Pullum returned to the USAMU in late 1974 to become the Shop Officer where he helped lead the development of arms, ammunition and the gunsmithing support to make the USAMU and the USA the best shooters he possibly could. He is also a member of the USAMU Hall of Fame.  He was the Chairman of the NRA International Competitions Committee from 1978-1988, and was also a member of the NRA Board of Directors for that time as well. Pullum was a driving force behind the creation of the National & National Development Team, as well as the construction of the Olympic Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

At the 1974 World Championships, Pullum lead the team as coach and once again dominated the field with 15 gold medals. He also was the team manager of the 1980 Olympic Shooting Team, the rifle coach of the 1984 Olympic Games, and the assistant team manager of the 1988 Olympic Games Shooting Team. 

In 1985, Pullum moved to Colorado Springs to be the director of the US Shooting Team. He served as a member of the board of the International Shooter Development Fund and as a member of the Shooting Sports Research Council. Pullum was also a delegate to the UIT General Assembly and the USOC House of Delegates. 

His coaching expertise led him to authoring two rifle books, Position Rifle Shooting and Successful Shooting. The publications had major impacts on the development of mental training techniques in the USA and all over the world. 

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. An online guestbook is available at AustinFuneralService.com. 

Career Highlights

  • 1962 Coach, USAMTU International Rifle Section
  • 1964 Rifle Coach, U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1966 Rifle Coach, U.S. World Shooting Championships Team, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • 1968 Rifle Coach, U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 1974 Rifle Coach, U.S. World Shooting Championships Team, Thun, Switzerland
  • 1978 Chairman, NRA International Competitions Committee
  • 1980 Team Manager, U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Moscow, USSR
  • 1984 Rifle Coach, U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Los Angeles, USA
  • 1988 Assistant Team Manager, U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Seoul, Korea
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