Thomas E. "Shorty" McWilliams of Meridian, a restaurant owner and football legend at Mississippi State, died Jan. 9, 1997. He was 70.
A native of Meridian and graduate of Meridian High School, McWilliams played football at Mississippi State in 1944 and 1946-48. In 1945, he played for the Army team at the U.S. Military Academy, which was undefeated that season.
At Mississippi State, McWilliams was named All-SEC the four years he played, and he played all four years in the Blue-Gray Classic in Montgomery.
Twice during his college career, he placed in the top 10 in Heisman Trophy voting.
He played professionally for the Los Angeles Dons and the Pittsburg Steelers before his career was cut short by injury.
McWilliams was a Korean War veteran. He returned to his hometown where he worked for Weidmann's Restaurant, later becoming owner of the famous Meridian landmark.
McWilliams was a member of the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
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