Bill Samuels was born in Carthage in 1936 and was an exceptional multi-sport athlete for Carthage High School, graduating in 1954. Samuels lettered in football (4 years), basketball (2 years), track (3 years), and baseball. An outstanding football player, Samuels performed at tailback, quarterback, halfback and safety, and his forte was his passing and placekicking. His senior year he passed for 683 yards and eight touchdowns and kicked 20 of 29 extra points. In addition, he carried the ball 115 times for 568 yards, averaging nearly five yards per carry. Samuels’ efforts earned him recognition on the Missouri All-State Grid Team, and honorable mention on the Wigwam Wisemen All American high school football team.
At Kansas State Teachers College (now Pittsburg State University), Samuels lettered three years, playing several positions on both offense and defense, as well as placekicking and punting. In 1956 he was an All Conference running back, when he led the Gorillas in scoring with 48 points. His senior year, he was starting quarterback and kicked the winning PAT in PSUs first National Championship in 1957. Legendary Pitt State Coach Carnie Smith said “Bill had the ability, attitude, habits…I couldn’t find any fault in him… (he) was probably the best all-around football player I ever coached.”
After graduating, Samuels served in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot from 1958-1962. “I got to fly around all those boats near Cuba and look for missiles,” he said of the U. S.-Soviet missile crisis in 1962.
Samuels continued his contact with athletics, serving as coach, instructor and athletic administrator at his alma mater for 45 years, including seven years as athletic director (1990-96) and was a guiding force in PSU’s transition from the NAIA to NCAA affiliation.
Bill Samuels was inducted into the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2012 lives with his wife Fran in Pittsburg.