Warren Williamson, the first player in South Dakota State University football history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season, became the 23rd member of the Jackrabbit Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
Williamson, a Hurley native, served in the United States Army during the closing year of World War II, then enrolled at Kansas State. He transferred to SDSU, where he lettered three times in both football and track. He gained 1,014 yards and was named Most Valuable Player on the unbeaten (9-0-1) SDSU team of 1950. He also set a North Central Conference single-season scoring record (72 points) which stood until 1972. Williamson's record-setting season included 172 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns against Augustana, and 164 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns against Morningside.
In the 1950 Hobo Day game, State was tied 21-21 by the University of North Dakota. The Jacks were down 21-7 after three quarters, with Williamson scoring State's TD in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, he caught a pass from another Hall of Famer, Herb Bartling, making it 21-14 with 11 minutes left. Then, after UND fumbled, Williamson scored on a six-yard run. UND blocked the first extra point attempt, but was called for being offsides. Then SDSU made the second attempt to tie the game. Williamson scored all three
touchdowns and finished the day with 123 yards rushing on 17 carries.
He finished the season averaging 7.4 yards per carry. In addition, he was 7-for-14 passing, for 89 yards and three touchdowns; caught three passes for 34 yards and two touchdowns, returned two punts for 13 yards, returned four kickoffs for 70 yards, intercepted one pass with a 23-yard return, and punted twice for a 35.5-yard average.
After receiving his bachelor's degree at SDSU in 1951, Williamson added a master's degree at State in 1954, then earned a director's degree in recreation from the University of Indiana in 1969. Williamson taught and coached at Clear Lake High School (1951-54) and at Winner High School (1954-56) before joining the SDSU staff as an assistant football coach, head wrestling coach and coordinator of intramurals on June 1, 1956.
Williamson was granted full professor status in 1973 and he also coached the Jackrabbit wrestling team for 16 seasons and led SDSU to national prominence in the sport, finishing in the top 10 of the NCAA College Division eight times. He developed 24 All-Americans at SDSU, including two national champions. His teams had a 134-74-9 record in dual competition including a 35-35-2 mark against University Division (now Division I) teams. In North Central Conference competition, Williamson's teams won four titles, finished second four other times, and finished lower than third only once.
As coordinator of intramural and recreational sports at State, Williamson saw the program grow from six to 35 structured activities. In addition, he assisted in the establishment of the club sports program, which grew to field teams in 11 different activities; and helped develop the Century Fitness Club. Williamson's leadership was also responsible for the popular free play and open recreation programs at SDSU.
Williamson retired from the faculty at SDSU in June of 1987, after serving 31 years. He had been coordinator of intramural and recreational sports since joining the SDSU staff in 1956. Since 1980, he had also been assistant to the director of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Williamson also received the F.O. Butler Faculty Award for Service to Students.