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Warren Williamson



Born Jan. 4, 1927 in Hurley. South Dakota State's wrestling coach for 16 seasons (1956-73), the 1945 Hurley High and 1951 SDSU grad led the Jackrabbits to national prominence in the sport. Williamson also was a standout athlete at SDSU – he was the first Jackrabbit football player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

 In 1956 wrestling did not exist at the high school level in South Dakota and was in the developmental stage at SDSU. Williamson understood that wrestling must be offered at high schools in the state for the sport to achieve success at the collegiate level. He actively campaigned for school districts to add wrestling to their athletic programs, and in 1958 he organized and refereed the first state high school wrestling tourney consisting of four teams.

SDSU finished in the top 10 of the NCAA college division eight times. Williamson had a 134-74-9 dual-meet record, including 35-35-2 against University Division (now Division I) teams. In North Central Conference competition, Williamson’s teams won four titles, were second four times and finished lower than third only once. He developed 24 All-Americans, including two national champions. His coaching career culminated with SDSU winning the NCC title and hosting the NCAA Division II tournament in 1973. Before the championship matches, he was recognized for his contributions in the development of the sport and was given the title of “Father of Wrestling” in South Dakota.

 He was the coordinator of intramural and recreational sports at SDSU from 1956-87.

After graduating from Hurley, he was drafted in the Army during the final year of World War II. After completing his military service, he enrolled at Kansas State for one semester before transferring to SDSU in 1947.

As an athlete at SDSU, Williamson lettered three years each in football and track. He was a key member of two NCC champion football teams (1949 and ’50) and two NCC champion track teams (1948 and ’50). In 1950, he rushed for 1,014 yards, was named all-conference and team MVP, leading SDSU to an unbeaten season. He set NCC (72 points) and SDSU (84) season scoring records that stood for 34 years. The 84 points ranked eighth in the nation.

He taught and coached at Clear Lake (head coach in football, basketball and track from 1951-54) and Winner (football and track from 1954-56) before returning to SDSU in 1956 to serve as a faculty member in the physical education department, head freshman football coach, director of intramurals and head wrestling coach.

(IN GROUP PHOTO, WILLIAMSON, LEFT, IS WITH FELLOW HALL OF FAMER STAN MARSHALL, IN CENTER, AND WAYNE HAENSEL)


















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