Bill Deba developed a strong interest in lumberjack sports in 1982 while attending John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec. He joined the varsity Woodsmen team and competed at intercollegiate competitions in Eastern Canada. After spending four years as a team member at John Abbott and later, Sir Sandford Fleming College (SSFC) in Lindsay, Ontario, Bill became the coach of the Woodsmen Team at SSFC. He coached and managed the team for eight years.