The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Bill Welsh - Inducted 2008

The Aberdeen native and 1930 Northern State grad coached Claremont to a national record of 61 consecutive six-man football victories from 1947-53. The previous national record was 42. No South Dakota football team has ever come close to matching that feat. In December of 1943, Welsh's only son, 5-year-old Jean, died in an accident. This tragedy caused Welsh to leave coaching and return from Forest City, Iowa, to South Dakota, where he owned and operated a game lodge in Claremont. Two years later he returned to coaching in that community, where he dedicated his life to guiding each boy he coached ... just as he would have done for his son. In 1948 the Honkers set a national record by scoring 608 points in winning 10 games from teams in three states. That season included a 45-0 win over Hankinson, N.D., which had won 38 of its last 39 games. In 1950, Claremont beat Plankinton (winner of 42 of 43) 28-8 and Linton, N.D., (one loss in five years) 72-0. When Claremont's streak ended (a 26-0 home loss to Hecla), Welsh, his players and Claremont were praised by SoDak Sports writer Al Neuharth for their sportsmanship. "It was gratifying proof that during all those winning years, Coach Welsh had taught his kids more than just how to win ballgames. He had taught them how to be young ladies and gentlemen, how to lose just as graciously as they had won." Welsh coached all sports at Kimball (1930-37), Webster (1937-43), Forest City (1943-45) and Claremont (1947-54). During a 10-year coaching period (1942-44 and 1947-53), his football teams amassed an amazing record of 84-3 with nine conference titles. Welsh's success wasn't confined to football. He guided Webster to the 1938 state high school baseball title and Claremont to the 1949 state Class B track title. He also had many outstanding basketball teams, including a 1954 state "B" tourney team (at 28-0, they were the only undefeated team in the state). He had a career record of 137-15-2 in football and 375-58 in basketball. He was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005. Welsh coached at Whitefish, Mont., from 1956 until retiring in 1970.

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