Graduated: 1978

Inducted: 2006


Former South Dakota State University football player Bill Matthews was inducted as the 47th member of the Jackrabbit Sports Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Ninth Annual Festival of Champions on Nov. 5, 2006.

A Wessington native, Matthews lettered for the Jackrabbits from 1974-77. He played his freshman season at tight end before becoming an All-America defensive end. Matthews was an all-North Central Conference selection in 1976 and 1977, and was named the league’s Most Valuable Defensive Lineman in 1977. That season he also was selected to The Associated Press College Division All-America First Team.

A graduate of SDSU’s dairy science program, Matthews also excelled academically. He was a three-time academic all-conference selection and twice earned CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team honors. He also was SDSU’s Scholar Athlete for the 1977-78 academic year.

Matthews was selected in the fifth round of the 1978 National Football League by the New England Patriots as a linebacker. He spent the 1978 season on injured reserve before playing in 48 games, including 10 starts, over the next three seasons. Matthews’ best season in the pros came in 1981, when he ranked third on the Patriots with 128 tackles (75 solos, 53 assists). He was traded to the New York Giants just before the start of the 1982 season and later finished his playing career with the Denver Gold of the United States Football League in 1984.

Following his playing days, Matthews became a partner and sales manager in a SuperCoups direct-mail advertising franchise. At the time of his induction, Mattchews served as the company’s Vice President of Franchise Development, overseeing franchise sales, markting, training and national sales.