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William Norwood
The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame
1990 Individual Award Winner


The 1955 Centralia High School graduate quarterbacked the 1954 football team to a 9-1 record and undefeated South Seven Conference title. Norwood scored 73 points on the season with 12 touchdowns, as the team outscored their opponents 377-60. He was named first team offense All-South Seven Conference and second team defense All-South Seven.

He also garnered second team All-Southern Illinois and honorable mention All-State honors.  After high school, he played four years of varsity football at SIU-C while pursuing a degree in Chemistry. He became the first black to quarterback the Salukis his Sophomore year and remained the starting quarterback for his Junior and Senior years.

His Senior season (1958), he guided the Salukis to a 7-2 record, the best since 1947. In SIU’s game with Western Illinois that year, Norwood threw two touchdown passes to “Night Train” Lane in the closing minutes to pull out a 32-31 victory.

He was named first team All-Conference (Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), and second team All-Illinois College by the Peoria Journal Star. The Chemical and Engineering News named him first team All-American (for students majoring in these fields). 

Norwood has also been named to the SIU Athletic Hall of Fame and the SIU ROTC Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Centralia Historical Hall of Fame (1995). In 1965, he became the first black pilot for United Airlines, and in 1974, he was appointed by the Governor to the SIU-C Board of Trustees.

In 2009 Norwood was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by Centralia High School.  The following is the information included on his award which hangs on the walls of the new Centralia High School:


Links to internet sites related to William Norwood



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