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Williams stepping down after 43 years on the microphone

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor


ASHWAUBENON – Known as “The Voice of Ashwaubenon,” Bill Williams has called it a career as the public address announcer for Jaguars basketball and football games.

“It means I’ve been here a long time,” Williams laughed about his moniker.

On Monday, Feb. 21, Williams spoke into the microphone at Ashwaubenon High School one last time.

The Jaguars’ boys’ basketball team sent Williams out in style with an 81-75 nonconference victory over Menasha.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Williams said during halftime of the game. “I was asked by the athletic director in 1979 to run the clock for one game. It was too stressful, so then I went to announcing. I like to watch games, too. It’s a good seat to watch a game, and I like mingling with the kids. It’s been a big part of my life. I’ll probably have a tough time sleeping tonight because I have so many positive things running through my mind.”

Current Ashwaubenon Athletic Director Nick Senger presented Williams with a commemorative plaque before the game.

“Bill has done a great job before games talking to coaches to make sure he gets all the names correct,” Senger said. “It was important to him. Bill also played our music so the kids in attendance could enjoy the game. He has also kept in touch with athletes long after they’ve left Ashwaubenon. He will be missed.”

Williams began with announcing basketball and football games and later softball.

He said he plans to continue with softball, at least for the foreseeable future.

“I was umpiring softball, so that’s why I didn’t announce those games,” Williams said. “I had a sport for every season. I have a grandson in De Pere who’s part of the boys’ basketball team. He also plays football. I have a granddaughter who plays softball in Ashwaubenon, so that’s why I’m sticking around there.”

Williams has also taken part in the Miracle League, an organization that lets children with mental and physical disabilities take part in baseball games in a safe environment.

“I’ve encouraged (the Ashwaubenon students) to volunteer their time to support kids with disabilities,” he said. “I hope someone keeps it going because it gives the school district some positive recognition when the kids are out in the community.”

Williams said people ask him all the time what his favorite memory was during his 43 years of announcing.

“Most of the memories are the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve made,” he said. “I’ve seen some great players in all the sports. We’ve been to six state title (football) games in Madison. I got to sit in the press box at Camp Randall, so that was fun.”

After giving it some time, Williams pinpointed one memory that stood above all the rest.

“My favorite season ever was the 1996 football season,” he said. “We were 3-4 and had to win our final two games to get into the playoffs. Then we blew away the field to win the title. It’s tough to beat that one.”

In parting, Williams had one final comment.

“Teenagers are America’s greatest resource,” he said. “Because of that, we have to give them opportunities to succeed.”

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