Rich Wilson, Sr. graduated from THS in 1946. He was a three year letter winner and starter in football on three Mid-State Conference Champions. He was a starting guard for two seasons on the Tornadoes basketball team and he started two years for Red Bland’s baseball team in the spring.

On the gridiron, Wilson played quarterback and was selected team co-captain in both 1944 and 1945. In the first game of his senior year, playing against Shelbyville, Wilson played less than half of the game and scored three touchdowns, as the Tornadoes won 49 -0. Against Hillsboro, Wilson passed for 40 yards and ran for 118 yards in 12 carries and two touchdowns as Taylorville defeated the Hilltoppers, 18 – 12. The following week, against Kincaid, as the Breeze Courier reported, “ The pint-sized quarterback scored two touchdowns and his runback of punts was wildly cheered by his fans in the third quarter” in a 33 – 0 victory. The Tornadoes won the Mid-State Conference by defeating Pana, 24 – 21, as Wilson rushed for 83 yards on 11 carries, completed nine of fourteen passes for 79 yards and caught the winning touchdown pass with only seconds remaining in the game. Taylorville ended the season with a 6 – 1 record and at 5 foot five inches tall, and 155 pounds, Rich Wilson led the team in rushing with 499 yards and a 7.3 yard per carry average. He also passed for 296 yards completing 30 of 53 passes and was selected to the Chicago Daily News and Champaign News Gazette All-State teams.

Playing for Dolph Stanley on the hardwood, Wilson was a sophomore member of the 1943-44 state championship basketball squad, scoring only five points on the varsity that season, but he became a two year starter in his junior and senior years when the Tornadoes compiled records of 30-6 and 20 -13. During his senior year, under new coach Earl Prather, Wilson scored 143 points as the Tornadoes won the Mid State Conference and the IHSA regional.

He was a starting second baseman his junior season and moved to shortstop the following year on the baseball team. Following graduation, Wilson joined coach Dolph Stanley at Beloit College after he received a scholarship to play both football and basketball at the college.

The Taylorville High School yearbook article summing up the 1945 football season provided the following. “ It is difficult to single out any individual from the Tornado roster, for they did not work as individuals, but as a team. However, there is one player who deserves special mention. Richard “Monk” Wilson has been the ace quarterback for two years. Although lacking size (he weighs 155 pounds and stands five feet five inches tall), he has called the players for fifteen consecutive games in which the team won thirteen and lost two. Starring offensively as a runner and passer, he was also adept in backing up the line. Any prospective quarterback will have a difficult time filling Richie’s shoes next year”.