Tribute to the Past: William Rice Warren

Article Written By Richard Barnhardt

Woodberry Forest School Faculty 1917-1920 and 1923-1947
A gifted athlete, Rice Warren was also a successful collegiate football coach and athletic director before arriving at Woodberry Forest School in 1917 with a freshly minted medical degree from the University of Virginia. He was born in Harrisonburg, VA in 1884. He entered UVA in 1905 and played end on the Cavalier football team for two years before taking a job at Randolph-Macon College as the athletic director and coach of three varsity sports. He returned to UVA in 1912 as a medical student and football coach, leading the Cavaliers to a 7-1 record in 1913 as their head coach.

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A photo of Dr.Warren from 1918

After graduating from medical school in 1916, Dr. Warren served for one season as the head coach of the University of Southern Carolina’s football team before joining the Woodberry Forest faculty as a football and baseball coach, an English and history teacher, and the school physician. He remained at Woodberry for three years and then returned to the University of Virginia as head coach of the football and baseball teams. The last alumnus to coach Virginia’s football team, he guided the Cavaliers of 1920-21 to a 10-6-2 record.
Dr. Warren returned to Woodberry in 1923 and remained on the faculty until he retired in 1947. For most of that time, he and his family lived in House E, sharing cramped quarters with two other members of the faculty and eight boys in the upstairs dormitory. He coached football, baseball, and eventually golf – after taking up the sport and quickly becoming a star on the amateur circuit. Dr. Warren taught physiology and hygiene, and it was in this capacity that he began teaching sex education at Woodberry in 1932. He also served very ably as the school physician for twenty-five years. It was a great comfort to Headmaster Carter Walker to have Dr. Warren on campus to take care of any medical emergencies and to reassure anxious parents when epidemics periodically swept through the country.
Diagnosed with a debilitating and possibly fatal illness, Dr. Warren abruptly retired from the Woodberry faculty in 1947. He eventually recovered, however, and continued to practice medicine for another twenty years, a familiar and beloved physician in the town of Orange. He and his wife, Effy, died within ten days of each other in November 1969.

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Dr. Warren pictured in the back right

Categories: Yesterday