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franklin county times

McWilliams gets locker dedicated

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Oct. 26, 2001
The late Tom "Shorty" McWilliams of Meridian was a standout during his football career at Mississippi State. So much so that even now he receives honors for his career.
McWilliams, who died in 1996, will have a locker at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson dedicated in his honor today.
McWilliams was a first-team Associated Press All-SEC selection in 1944, 1946, 1947, and 1948. He averaged 14.5 yards per punt return for his MSU career and had 1,806 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on 412 carries.
He is the last four-time All-SEC running back and may retain that distinction for a while.
In 1944, McWilliams finished 10th in the vote for the Heisman Trophy and was a second-team Associated Press All-American that year.
Twice, he carried the ball 32 times in a game. In 1944, he had 32 rushes for 139 yards in a 13-6 win at LSU. And in 1947, he again had 32 carries for 145 yards in a 20-0 victory at Tulane.
In the 1944 game with Auburn, McWilliams had 16 carries for 148 yards in a 26-21 win over the Tigers.
In his four years, the Bulldogs were 25-11-1.
MSU coach Allyn McKeen called McWilliams the greatest player he ever coached.
But what also makes McWilliams special is that he also played football at Army in 1945, the year the Cadets were national champions and sported a pair of eventual Heisman Trophy winners in Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard. McWilliams started at right halfback with that duo and was eighth in Heisman voting that year.
Playing and excelling for two colleges make McWilliams' career unusual.
McWilliams was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1970 and is also a member of the Mississippi State Sports Hall of Fame.
Today's ceremony is by family invitation only and is not open to the public.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame is located at 1152 Lakeland Drive adjacent to Smith-Wills Stadium and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.