| Overall UK Wins: 1 | Overall UK Losses: 0 | Win % 100 |
Date of Birth: August 26, 1922
Date of Death: August 7, 2010
Hometown: Abilene, TX
Alma Mater: Abilene Christian College 
For a generalized listing of officials, please consult this page.
|12/22/1965||Kentucky at Texas Tech||W||89 - 73||17||17||25||22||0||0||-||W.D. Lawson and Ott Anderson|
Obituary - Findagrave
William D. "Shorty" Lawson, 87, formerly of Abilene, died Saturday, August 7, 2010, in a nursing facility in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. He was born August 26, 1922 to Lydia Belle (Worley) and Shade W. Lawson in Centerville, Tennessee. Shorty graduated from DuPont High School in Old Hickory, Tennessee in 1941, David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1943, Abilene Christian College (now University) in 1945, and received a Master of Science Degree from Abilene Christian University in 1964.
He was a member of Rural Hill Church of Christ in Nashville and a former longtime member of the University Church of Christ while living in Abilene, Texas. Shorty came to Abilene in 1943 to attend ACU and lived in Abilene from 1943 until 1998 when he returned to Nashville. He married Norma Jean Stewart of Nashville in 1998.
For 41 years (1945-86), Shorty Lawson positively influenced the minds and hearts of athletes and students that filtered through Abilene High School. During the 15 years he was football and baseball assistant coach, the football team won 6 consecutive District Championships, 3 consecutive state titles, and 49 consecutive games; and the baseball team won 2 state championships and was runner up 3 times. But Shorty was more than a coach and teacher. He was an encourager, a confidant, and a friend to the athletes who, in turn, deeply respected him. (Almost as important as his coaching was the fact that he also taught all the students how to drive through his popular driver education classes!) Never "Mr. Lawson", seldom even Coach LawsonÉ he was affectionately called "Shorty" by almost everyone.
After teaching and coaching for 15 years, Shorty was moved into the role of AISD Assistant Athletic Director for 14 years; and then named Athletic Director for his last 12 years. During this time, he continued his influence, giving great emphasis to elementary athletics, physical education, health, and safety.
But Shorty didn't just belong to Abilene. His fame was widespread. He was inducted into the National Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame in 1986. At his induction into the National High School Hall of Fame in 1993, it was said that "Shorty Lawson and football and basketball officiating were synonymous terms" and that "he was instrumental in helping many new officials through a program he designed". Shorty officiated over 300 high school football games from 1943-79, including four state football championships. He officiated high school basketball from 1946-75, working more than 30 regional high school tournaments. In 2005, Shorty was inducted into the Big Country Hall of Fame.
At the college level, he officiated Southwest Conference football and basketball. In football, his work included three Cotton Bowl games, one Sugar Bowl, one Orange Bowl, one Liberty Bowl, two Fiesta Bowls, and two Sun Bowls; in basketball, 12 NCAA regional basketball tournaments and 13 NAIA national basketball tournaments. Shorty served one term as president of the Southwest Basketball Officials Association, two terms on the SFOA Board, and has been inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Texas Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame, received the Distinguished Service Award by the National Federation Interscholastic Officials Association, and the Southwest Basketball Officials Association. He was named Texas Athletic Director of the Year in 1981.
But his influence and hard work didn't stop there eitherÉ Shorty contributed to his community, his church, and his family in many ways. He was active in the summer baseball youth program for 22 years; a Deacon at the University Church of Christ for 20 years; president of the Boys Club and the Optimist Club; and a member of the Athletic Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.
Shorty lectured at Coaching Clinics, College Work Shops, Athletic Director Meetings, Clinics for Army and Air Force, and Athletic Teams in Abilene Schools. Further, he was selected by the U.S. Army to serve as a sports consultant for Army Personnel in Hawaii, and by the U.S. Air Force to serve as their sports consultant in Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Thailand, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea.
Shorty was preceded in death by his father in 1979 and his mother in 1999; his wife, Norma in 2001; and a sister, Jean Mangrum on February 1, 2007.
Survivors include three sons, Jimmy (Ann) Lawson of Boston, Massachusetts, Don (Loryn) Lawson of Trabuco Canyon, California, and Dr. Bobby (Gail) Lawson of Abilene, Texas; a brother, Jimmy Lawson of Old Hickory, Tennessee; two sisters, Bitsy Oliver of Old Hickory, Tennessee and Dee Martin of Dearborn, Michigan; six grandchildren, Elizabeth Lawson, Bicky Tolar, Amy Estes, Meredith Lawson, Sean Lawson and Scott Lawson; also four great-grandchildren, Elijah and Kate Tolar and Ethan and Gage Estes.
Funeral services will be 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at the University Church of Christ with Eddie Sharp officiating. Burial will follow in Elliott-Hamil Garden of Memories, directed by Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home, 542 Hickory. The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be sent to Rural Hill Children's Camp Fund, C/O Rural Hill Church of Christ, 564 Bell Rd., Antioch, TN 37013.