The voice of the game
This story is part of Meet Your Neighbor, a series designed to tell you something new about the people in your community. Participants are chosen at random for the interviews, in which we strive to share a portion of their lives with you, the reader. Look for this series once each month.
REED CITY — From play-by-play action of high school football to statistics during a basketball game, John Williams’ voice rings loudly through the stands at Reed City High School.
Williams, 60, lives in Reed City and has been the Reed City High School sports commentator for 41 years.
From the school’s Class C state champion boys basketball team in 1980 to the current three-year undefeated regular season football team, Williams has been the voice of Coyote athletics through it all.
With two daughters who were Reed City athletes and with a love for sports himself, he hopes his grandson, Reed City Middle School sixth-grader Payton Stark, will eventually carry on the tradition of playing high school sports.
“If my grandson makes the (high school) basketball team, I’d like to introduce him,” Williams said.
When not sitting in the announcer’s chair, Williams spends his time selling water-treatment equipment and plumbing supplies as a co-owner of D&E Supply Company in Reed City. He plans to retire from the lifelong job in a few years.
The Herald Review sat down to a cup of coffee with Williams at Wright’s Bake Shop to chat about his business, life goals and what he likes about being the voice of Reed City High School athletic games.
HERALD REVIEW: How long have you co-owned D&E Supply company?
WILLIAMS: My parents started it in 1965 and I started working there when I wasn’t in school. It’s been a joyous 47 years.
Do you plan on retiring anytime soon?
WILLIAMS: As soon as I have enough money. I’ll be 62 next June. I was thinking about trying to retire then.
How long have you been doing the announcing for Reed City schools?
WILLIAMS: I did my first football game in 1972 and my first basketball game in 1977. It’s been a long time.
How did you first get into calling the games?
WILLIAMS: Someone else just asked me that question last week and I said, ‘You know, it’s been so long I don’t even remember.’ I wanted to do it, but I don’t remember how it actually started.
What is your favorite thing about announcing games?
WILLIAMS: Being around young people. It keeps you somewhat younger. I really just enjoy being there and I like to watch sports, so it’s a good fit.
Do you have any kids who played sports at Reed City?
WILLIAMS: I have two daughters. One played basketball and ran track and my youngest daughter ran track and played soccer. She played on the first team when Reed City started having girls soccer.
When did your daughters graduate?
WILLIAMS: 1995 and 1997. My oldest daughter was the salutatorian and my youngest daughter was the valedictorian. They were a step above their father’s grade point average. We won’t say by how much.
Have you always lived in Reed City?
WILLIAMS: About 99 percent of my life.
What was the other 1 percent?
WILLIAMS: When I was really young we lived in Pennsylvania. Then I lived in Ohio for a little bit.
What is your life goal?
WILLIAMS: World peace. (laughs) I’ve never had anybody ask me what my life goal is. To help people with their water wells. That’s what I ended up doing.
What is your favorite season and why?
WILLIAMS: Summer. Golf.
Are you good at golf?
WILLIAMS: I consider myself a B golfer, not an A golfer like Rich Jacobs. He’s had a hole in one. I’ve never had a hole in one.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your life?
WILLIAMS: My family.
Who is someone who has had an impact on your life?
WILLIAMS: My parents. They taught me work ethic and values.
If you didn’t own D&E Supply Company, what would you be doing?
WILLIAMS: I’d probably be a brain surgeon. (laughs) No, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure. I’ve worked at D&E my whole life, ... I probably would have tried out to be a professional public address announcer.