A top official in high school, collegiate and international wrestling for almost 40 years, Sam Williams retired in 1984, but the impact of his service remains today.
Considered one of the top referees in the East, Williams began officiating at Pennsylvania high school meets in 1948 and worked in that state until moving to New York five years later.
As a referee in the Empire State, Williams specialized in high school and collegiate competition and was the first to institute red and green armbands, later used by all high school officials. During his career, he served as head of officials for three states -- Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. He also worked numerous major college events, including NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III National Championships.
Williams began officiating international-style wrestling in 1968, first with the Amateur Athletic Union and then with the United States Wrestling Federation (USWF), the predecessor to USA Wrestling. He officiated the very first Junior National Championships in 1971 in Iowa City, and returned every year until his retirement. His experience also included international dual meets, international exchanges and U.S. Olympic qualifying events.
Williams helped found the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association, the national organization for international-style officials -- just one more measure of his dedication to the sport. In recognition of his service, he received the emeritus status for officials from USA Wrestling.