Williams to receive Lifetime Service Award for Officials from National Wrestling Hall of Fame

By Gary Abbott | Jan. 30, 2006, 3:37 p.m. (ET)
STILLWATER, OKLA. - Sam Williams of Fall Creek, Pa., a top official in international, high school and college wrestling for almost 40 years, has received the Lifetime Achievement for Officials award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.

This award recognizes outstanding service as a wrestling or pairing official or judge. Inductees are honored in the Vince Zuaro Officials Room at the Museum.

Williams, who retired from officiating in 1984, was one of the founders of the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association (USWOA), the national organization for international wrestling officials.

He was considered one of the top referees in the East, and worked matches at many levels, both in the international style and the U.S. collegiate styles. He started officiating on the high school level in Pennsylvania in 1948, and worked in that state until he moved to New York in 1953.

As a New York official, Williams worked matches on both the college and high school levels. He was the first official to institute red and green armbands that were later used by all high school referees. As a collegiate referee, Williams worked numerous major competitions, including the NCAA Div. II and NCAA Div. III National Championships.

Williams started officiating international-style wrestling in 1968, first working with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), then later working on the local level with the new U.S. Wrestling Federation (USWF). His involvement with the USWF, which later became USA Wrestling, included working at the first Junior National Championships in 1971 in Iowa City, Iowa, an event he officiated every year until his retirement.

Williams worked numerous international events during his career, including international dual meets, international exchanges and U.S. Olympic qualifying events. He served as head of officials for three states (Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut). He received the emeritus status for officials from USA Wrestling for his service to the sport.