RC announcer honored by basketball association

REED CIY — John Williams has announced a lot of football and basketball games at Reed City for nearly 40 years. And his efforts haven’t gone unrecognized.

The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan recently recognized the long-time voice of the Coyotes for his years of service by inducting him in the association’s Hall of Honors, which was established in 1994.

Williams attended the association’s awards banquet in Lansing. The BCAM notes in an official statement that the Hall of Honors was set up “to honor those persons who have helped to improve basketball in Michigan. These honorees have been longtime supporters of their local teams or have given outstanding service to the game of basketball.”

Awards are given in four categories, the BCAM notes: to officials, media, assistant coach and Friend of Basketball, which would be Williams’ category.

“You have to be a coach to be in the Hall of Fame,” Williams said.

A person has to have been connected with basketball for at least 20 years to be eligible.

“You have to be nominated by a member of BCAM,” William said. “Brian Koopman nominated me.”

Koopman is the longtime girls varsity basketball coach at Reed City.

Williams was notified in late July of his induction. “I was pretty excited, surprised,” he said, noting that at the banquet, the honorees were publicly recognized.”

Williams has announced varsity boys basketball games since 1977 and girls contests since 1981. He does some non-conference JV games. He’s announced football games since 1972. At one time, Williams did Reed City games on the radio.

He and his brother Doug run D&E Supply Co. in Reed City, a water well supply store. Doug in past years has also helped with some of the announcing duties.

Asked how much longer he’s planning on announcing at basketball games, Williams thinks for several seconds and smiles.

“I pretty much just do it,”’ he said. “I really haven’t thought about that to be truthful.”

Williams graduated from Reed City High School in 1970. He participated in sports including football. He still announces football games and has also done a few JV games. Perhaps the most memorable game he saw was this year when the Coyotes knocked off two-time defending Central State Activities Association champion Morley Stanwood at home.

“I was at the game. It was still hard to believe we won the game, it was a lot of fun,” he said.

Williams notes it was 45 years ago when the 1966 Reed City football team went undefeated during the regular season and still recalls that squad.

“That year they only had one touchdown scored on them, against Big Rapids,” Williams said.

In basketball, Williams won’t soon forget the 1979-80 Coyotes who were 28-0 and Class C state kings. Two starters were Bruce Jones and Chuck Holmquist whose daughter Kelsey Jones, and son, Jared Holmquist, have been playing for RC in recent years. And there are other fathers and sons Williams remembers as an announcer.

“Every game was pretty memorable that year,” he said.

For Reed City’s current varsity football coach and athletic director Monty Price, havingWilliams behind the microphone has created special memories for athletes and fans.

“In my opinion, he’s an outstanding individual who truly bleeds red and black,” Price said. “He’s been a solid supporter of all our programs. He’s an icon as the voice of the Coyotes. He’s done an outstanding job of promoting our kids, both men and women sports. We’re extremely fortunate to have someone like him.”

Williams doesn’t exactly remember how he got started as an announcer, other than just giving indication he would be available and willing to do it. Receiving the BCAM award has been a major highlight, he acknowledged.

“I went in there and looked to see who was in the Hall of Honor part and there’s people like Dick Vitale, sports writers from the Free Press and News,” Williams said.

Making the players “happy” when they hear their names is what Williams said he especially likes about the job. “I have to give my mom and dad credit for peaking my interest in sports,” he said. “My dad was really into it and my mom was there too. I always thought I wanted to do something in sports. I would have been a terrible coach. I tried to coach my girls in T-Ball, but I was terrible. This has been a good way for me to be connected to the sports.”

He also announced a Reed City-Cadillac baseball game in 2009 at Fifth Third Park in Grand Rapids.

“That was pretty neat,” he said. “That’s a first-class facility for a minor league team.”

Williams has usually maintained a good reputation for pronouncing names correctly for both teams.

“I try to check because I feel that kid’s parents might be in the crowd,” he said. “I want to get it right for the kids and parents. I try to ask.”