Bill first made a name for himself in the athletic field by capturing 2nd place at the 1970 IHSA track and field finals. He won it the following year with a jump of 6'9" as a senior at Illini Bluffs (Glasford) High School.
He matriculated to SlU where he became a world-class Decathlete during the l970s.
Hancock won the Decathlon at the 1973 Drake Relays and became the world's 1st Decathlete to clear 7-feet in the high jump. While at SlU, he set school records in the high jump, long jump and javelin.
Bill was named to the 1975 All-American Track & Field Team as he finished 5th at the Outdoor Nationals and also 5th at the Indoor Nationals. He long jumped 25' 7" for the Salukis in the 1975 conference tournament
The following year he finished 5th in the Olympic Trials behind Bruce Jenner, where his 7' 2" high jump at Eugene, Oregon set a record not broken until 2004.