WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
1966 Bulldogs graduate
participated in four varsity
sports including football
BY TONY CASTRO
Prior to integration in 1969, the efforts of all-black Moton High student/athletes like Andrew Williams Jr., went mostly unnoticed.
The Hernando County school was integrated after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the local school board was eventually pressed to eliminate segregation in the school system.
In 1969, Dr. R. Moton’s older students and football players were moved to Hernando High School. Moton closed and the rest of the student body moved to Hernando in the fall of 1969
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Williams, who participated in four varsity sports for the Bulldogs before graduating in 1966, was recently tapped to the 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame Class of Hernando High.
This year’s eight members feature: Williams, Tara Allen, Tracy Bridges, Mike Hamilton, Mac Johnson, Allan Leavitt, Kimi Olmstead-O’Connell, and Mike Revell.
During the Sept. 15 home football game at Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium against Lecanto, seven new members (Leavitt will not be present), along with the 1967 HHS Baseball Team and first recipient of Ernie Chatman Legacy Award, Tom Bronson Sr., will also be feted.
Andrew was born at the old Lykes Hospital in Brooksville as the younger of two sons to Andrew Williams Sr. and Margaret Larry.
His older sister, Cynthia, had graduated prior to Andrew from Moton in 1964.
The elder Williams died when Andrew was 2 years old.
His mother was a fixture in the Hernando County School District, teaching for 39 years.
Andrew, who was quick and agile at 165 pounds in high school, recalls never leaving the field playing quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back.
In basketball, served as a sleek power forward.
In baseball, he alternated between pitcher, first base and centerfield leading the ’Dawgs to the regional finals as a senior.
Along the track and field oval, Williams excelled in the javelin and demanding high jump.
He departed Moton High with several fond athletic memories.
In football in Dade City, Williams’ last-minute touchdown pass – designed by Coach Leamon Parker – on a simple button hook pass route to Willie Washington, helped solve Mickens High for the first time in six years.
In hoops, Williams torched Fessenden Academy in Marion County for 42 points. It didn’t hurt that Williams was ambidextrous and could easily score or handle the ball with each hand.
That was in an era, where the majority of Moton’s games were held outdoors on cold concrete slabs. The players warmed themselves up by fire barrels located at each corner of the court.
Williams called basketball his favorite sport.
“I was agile,” described Williams. “Everything I could do well could help my team on the court. I was blessed in a way.
“I could switch hands easily. I loved to score and loved playing against zone defenses. I was so fluid, it was easy to attack the basket.”
After high school
After graduation, he mulled over a full scholarship in football to Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina and a basketball tryout to Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
He rose to rank of Staff Sgt. and easily recalls his days at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California just as much as being stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
After the service, he joined Coca-Cola before landing a gig as a right-of-way agent and real property coordinator and public works inspector with Hernando County in January, 1978.
He was also awarded the prestigious ‘Key to the City’ by the City of Brooksville for his outstanding community service with the Brooksville Housing Authority, Code Enforcement, City of Brooksville Planning and Zoning Board and Hernando County Personnel Board.
As a result of his volunteerism, Williams was designated by the National Association of Counties (NACO) as a “Point of Light” for Hernando County in 1991 under President George H.W. Bush’s 1,000 Points of Light Program which demonstrated that service to mankind begins with service in your community.
In 1997, Williams rose to deacon at his church, the 155-year-old Bethlehem Progressive Baptist Church.
Andrew has also been a member of the local Masonic Lodge for 30 years.
On Jan. 28, 2018 Williams will celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary along former Supervisor of Elections: Annie Williams.
The Williams have three daughters: Tawanna Renee, 36, Andrea, 33, and Atavia, 29.
Tawanna graduated from the US Virgin Islands and is a classmate of the retired San Antonio Spurs’ standout Tim Duncan.
Andrea and Atavia each graduated from HHS.
Reaction to HOF nod
Upon hearing the news of his induction, “I was elated,” explained Williams. “I couldn’t believe it; it humbled me more. Getting the key to the city was something. Receiving the Points of Light designation was tremendous, but what more could I ask for than to be elected into my hometown Hall of Fame?
“…When I heard the news, I cried tears of joy.”
Williams expects his entire family, fellow alumni and a fistful of well-wishers to be on hand for the HOF Banquet.
He’ll be introduced by fellow Hall-of-Famer Maulty Moore.
Card of thanks
Williams believes his success stems from his childhood upbringing.
His mother preached to treat other people like you would like to be treated.
“My mother set the standard for me and my sister as a teacher here for nearly 40 years,” revealed Williams. “I’ll never forget that.
“I have to thank God for this blessing and give credit to Coach Lorenzo Hamilton.”
“Hamp, through the grace of almighty God, helped so many who were fortunate enough to come under his tutelage,” insisted Williams. “He brought the best out in an individual and accepted nothing less than your very best. He instilled into all of us who came under him ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.’”
“…He saw things in us that we did not see in ourselves. I didn’t understand until later in life, why he would make me stay after regular practice and shoot free throws,” admitted Williams. “In his mind, I was the best free throw shooter and if any technical fouls happened, I would shoot the free throws for the team because of my abilities.”
Williams emphatically stresses that faith, hope and charity begins at home.
He readily admits, “It’s much easier to give than to receive. That’s something every student/athlete should strive to do.”
With the induction ceremony less than two weeks away, “Being selected to the Hall of Fame means so much to my family,” offered Williams. “I think my kids will out cry me.
“…I have to thank the (HHS HOF) committee for doing its part by honoring the past and honoring me.”
2017 HHS ATHLETIC HOF