Athletic director waltzes away with special fan award

Sep 19

Everywhere he goes, Old Rochester Athletic Director Bill Tilden is a fan favorite.

The title was solidified on Saturday September 16, when Tilden won the "Fan Favorite" award during Dancing with the Dignitaries, an event in which he was competing.

Tilden, alongside several other notables from the Plymouth County area, agreed to take 10 dance lessons with Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Plymouth and then compete in a "Dancing with the Stars" style event.

Dancing with the Dignitaries was organized as a fundraiser for the Plymouth County Suicide Prevention Coalition. "There are more suicides than homicides," explained event organizer Jim Greer. "When was the last time you heard about a suicide?" He explained that any funds raised would be used to promote suicide intervention training in Plymouth County.

The "Fan Favorite" award might have had something to do with Tilden's enormous fan base; during rehearsals on Friday, Tilden's dance partner Casey Baird noted that he would be bringing about two school-buses worth of fans to the event.

"Only one bus," Tilden said modestly. "A lot of the others are driving themselves."

On Saturday a "Bill Tilden Fan Club" bus arrived at Emerald Hall in Abington, filled with supporters of Tilden. His fans waved cardboard cut-outs of the Athletic Director's face throughout the competition.

Tilden danced the waltz amidst compliments from Baird, who said that dancing and the footwork required came naturally to him.

Tilden did not sweep the "Mirror Ball" trophy, which was won by local radio host Nicole Perry. His fan club did earn him recognition however, alongside the "Fan Favorite" award—the students of Old Rochester were recognized on Facebook by organizers of the event for their incredible support of all the dancers.

As of Wednesday, the final amount of money raised for the Plymouth County Suicide Prevention Coalition was still untallied, but organizers noted on Facebook that a large amount of money had been raised.

Check out video of Bill Tilden's waltz performance, to "Open Arms" by Journey. Video is courtesy of Erin Bednarcyszk.