SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many Springfield residents remember George “Big Will” Williams as a coach, a mentor and an iconic member of the Dunbar Community Center. To honor his legacy, Springfield officials and residents unveiled an honorary street sign Thursday.
Big Will passed away in 2009 at the age of 75 and was an icon in the community. He helped thousands of kids at the Dunbar Community Center through sports. He received recognition across the country, including from former President George W. Bush. His life legacy included the following:
- 20-year veteran of the United State Air Force
- 21 Years as Athletic Director of the Dunbar Community Center
- 1974 “Bill Will Express Athletic Club” Founded
- 1986 Selected Harambee “Man of the year”
- 1991 Appeared in Sports Illustrated Magazine among the legends, celebrating 100 years of Basketball
- 1992 Listed in the world’s sports almanac as one of the top ten athletic directors in the world
- 1993 First Black person to win the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA
- 2001 Received certificate of appreciation for outstanding community service from President George W. Bush
- Helped generations of youth use sports as a vehicle to secure college scholarships.
“It is truly an honor to have this street renaming of my former coach and mentor ‘Big Will’. He taught all of us about being a well-rounded individual and kept us on the straight and narrow. I will always pay homage to him and truly grateful to my parents for bringing me to The Dunbar,” said Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce.
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