Richmond Academy coaching legend is honored in ceremony

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Former Richmond Academy baseball coach A.L. Williams has lost his sight, but his vision lives on.

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Former Richmond Academy coach A.L. Williams, who started the school's baseball team in 1949,  was honored Monday in a ceremony at the school.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Former Richmond Academy coach A.L. Williams, who started the school's baseball team in 1949, was honored Monday in a ceremony at the school.

The legendary high school coach, who started the Musketeers' baseball program in 1949, got to experience the program's future on Monday at the annual A.L. Williams Day at the field that bears the 88-year-old former coach's name.

The Musketeers, who squared off against longtime rival Westside in the final regular-season home game of the season, honored Williams with a pregame ceremony and a full day dedicated to him.

"We're trying to bring the baseball program back to its high standards," said Jim Pardue, the Richmond Academy baseball club chairman. "This is where we start -- with honoring A.L."

Williams led the Musketeers to seven consecutive state championships in the 1950s. He was greeted Monday afternoon by dozens of former players, including Jack Fisher, who went on to play 14 years in Major League Baseball.

Fisher pitched as part of four of the seven Richmond Academy state titles. He made the trip from his home in Pennsylvania to speak before the game in honor of Williams.

"He was the father figure of all father figures; not only to me, but to everyone he came in contact with," Fisher said. "He taught me a lot more than just baseball."

Williams' health has deteriorated in recent years, limiting him to weekly trips to Crawford Avenue Baptist Church on Sundays.

But Williams made his way to home plate in a wheelchair to rousing applause before Monday's game.

"This is a big day for him," his daughter, Carolyn Williams, said. "He's blind, but he's still got a sharp mind. He still remembers all his boys and what position they played and what they did. They'll always be his boys, and he'll always be their granddaddy."

Fisher also was honored before the game.

In addition, Richmond Academy's graduating seniors Luis Capella, Brady Hughes, Kenny Chancey and Brandon Lindsey were honored.

Pardue said three of the four seniors will graduate from the school's new International Baccalaureate program and plan to attend the University of Georgia.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

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Little Whitey
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Little Whitey 04/22/08 - 07:35 am
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I am glad that the Academy of

I am glad that the Academy of Richmond County did this to honor A.L. Williams. He has done so much in his life to touch the lives of many a person.

Edward B. Turner
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Edward B. Turner 04/22/08 - 08:15 am
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Coach Williams, or

Coach Williams, or "Granddaddy" as we called him at ARC, is one of our town's true heroes. He inspired so many, and was so proud of Jack Fisher (who eventually gave up Boston slugger's Ted Williams' last home run.) Coach Williams was later a tough Principal at the school-just like on the baseball diamond, he required and demanded discipline. The number of lives he changed for the better would be astounding. Thanks Coach!

vicktotheend
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vicktotheend 04/22/08 - 08:29 am
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Coach Williams is a GREAT

Coach Williams is a GREAT MAN. Thanks Principal/Coach Williams for being in my life. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you and your family.

vicktotheend
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vicktotheend 04/22/08 - 08:53 am
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Coach Williams is a GREAT

Coach Williams is a GREAT MAN. Thanks Principal/Coach Williams for being in my life. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you and your family.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 04/22/08 - 09:01 am
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This is a good article, maybe

This is a good article, maybe it will take away from the BRAWL. Congrats Mr. Williams...

shivas
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shivas 04/22/08 - 09:12 am
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I played for Sammy Lamb from

I played for Sammy Lamb from 79-81, but the shadow of Coach Williams was always there. He was always there to talk with, and always had a positive attitude. He actually got me out of trouble a few times, but not before teaching me a lesson or 2. Great to see such a legend honored in this way.

mommie2
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mommie2 04/22/08 - 09:55 am
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Nice to hear positive things

Nice to hear positive things come out of ARC. I really hope it overshadows the fight.

star
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star 04/22/08 - 09:08 pm
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Mr. Williams was a blessing

Mr. Williams was a blessing to so many kids at ARC during his tenure. I wish we had teachers like him today - if we did we would not have the problems we are encountering. We were not angels in those days, we just knew we did not want to disappoint the Coach or cause embarrssement to the school or our parents. Coach Williams was so loved and respected and still is. He will always be a true legend to everyone whose lives he touched in one way or another. I was not an athlete, just a very lucky student who was at ARC during the "good old days" with Coach Williams.
God Bless you.

bowler2
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bowler2 04/23/08 - 02:18 am
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I am very glad that Mr. A.L.

I am very glad that Mr. A.L. Williams was honored as he was! He was a Great Man, set a great example for the students and there will never be another like him. I wasn't a sports player, but I had him as one of my teachers. He'll always be remembered as one of the Greatest. Love you and God bless you Mr. Williams.

CSRAider
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CSRAider 04/28/08 - 07:34 am
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made me run, made me mad,

made me run, made me mad, made me a better person!!!

CSRAider
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CSRAider 04/28/08 - 07:34 am
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made me run, made me mad,

made me run, made me mad, made me a better person!!!

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 04/28/08 - 09:08 am
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Great man. Thanks Coach

Great man. Thanks Coach Williams for being the great person you are.

gracewata
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gracewata 07/02/08 - 11:25 am
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I really appreciate

I really appreciate everyone's comments. My grandfather is an amazing person, and an inspiration to me. I never knew him as "Coach"(obviously), but he's always been "Papa", and he is the best. My sisters and brother and myself used to go to my grandparents' house twice a week, every week, for about 12 years. We have all grown up and taken on different obstacles but Papa is still such a big part of my life. Between working, playing, being a kid, and raising my own child, I don't seem to have much time for anything, but as often as possible, take my 3 year old to her great-grandparents' house. Although he has never truly seen Mackenzie, he loves her all the same. She brings out a part of Papa that lets me know...he is still alive and well. He fights everyday to stay strong and healthy, for his children, their children, and my child. He has been on a rollercoaster ride for the last few years, but he keeps his head up and never loses his faith in God. He is truly a blessing. Papa, I love you very much and I am very lucky to have you in my life. You have never let me down, and I hope I have made you proud. I love you.

Southern_Patriot
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Southern_Patriot 02/09/10 - 12:56 pm
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Glory, Glory to old Richmond

Glory, Glory to old Richmond and good old ARC

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