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Legacy and Dedication: Earl and Billie Coachman Honored as 2024 Family of the Year

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Earl and Bille Coachman, Lincoln University of Missouri’s Family of the Year, were recognized at the 2024 Founders’ Day Convocation in Mitchell Auditorium on Thursday, February 8. The annual event honors and recognizes the enlisted Black men and white officers of the 62nd and 65th Colored Infantries who fought and sacrificed to secure the right to education for freed Blacks following the Civil War.

Each year at the Founders’ Day celebration, a Family of the Year is honored as a tribute to the families who embody the core values of the institution. This year, the university proudly recognized alumni Earl and Billie Coachman for their unwavering dedication to the university.

Earl and Billie Coachman met at Lincoln University in 1967. Earl was a first-generation college student from Riviera Beach, Florida, and Billie was a third-generation college student from Chicago, Illinois. Earl and Billie are part of a strong history of Blue Tiger graduates. Billie's grandfather, Reginald Robinson, and her mother, Frances Regina Robinson, received degrees from Lincoln, and Earl and Billie's son, Royce, also attended Lincoln and followed in his father’s footsteps by playing football. Earl’s high school football coach was a Lincoln graduate, and he helped Earl and other athletes find their way to Lincoln.

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Billie Coachman expresses her gratitude for Lincoln University. Photo credit: Ryan Pivoney, Jefferson City News Tribune. 

Lincoln was just the beginning of Earl and Billie’s story. After Lincoln, Earl worked for the 3M Company for 20 years, and Billie worked for State Farm Insurance Company for 33 years. They now live in Columbia, Missouri, and have been married for 52 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren.

Earl and Billie continue to give back to Lincoln. Earl is a member of the LU Athletic Boosters, and Billie coached cheerleading for four seasons (football and basketball). Billie also was the primary advisor to the campus chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Earl and Billie say, “Life and marriage, like college, takes work. You take each day one at a time and ask for help along the way." 

Want to nominate a family for the 2025 Family of the year?

The nomination period will run from December 1 to December 31, 2024. Alumni Chapter Presidents are invited to complete the official Family of the Year nomination form. This form includes nominee contact information and specific criteria to be addressed, such as the family’s contribution to Lincoln University, their extended contact with the institution, community involvement and optional honors and awards from other associations.

Completed forms, along with all required attachments, should be mailed to the following address:

Lincoln University of Missouri
Office of University and Alumni Relations
301 Young Hall
820 Chestnut Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101


To ensure consideration, the package must be postmarked by December 31, 2024.

Alumni University News