Former Big Rapids golf standout Rick Williams Jr. honored to join Area Hall of Fame ranks

WILLIAMS

WILLIAMS

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids alum Rick Williams Jr. was caught off guard when he received word he would be inducted into the Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame.

“It was quite the surprise,” Williams Jr. said. “You don’t hear those words very often. To be inducted was pretty special.”

Williams Jr., a 1985 state championship golfer while playing for Big Rapids, is currently a coach for the Detroit Catholic Central team that won its third-straight Division 1 state golf championship this season.

Williams has been coaching the Shamrocks for five seasons. He lives in Northville and is a financial advisor.

“I got involved with (Catholic Central golfers) five years ago and it’s been a ball,” Williams said. “It’s kinda nice to be able to pass the game down to the next generation. You get them as freshmen and are able to help shape them and mold them into fine players.

“I never saw myself coaching, but It’s been fun for sure.”

Williams has successfully made the transition from athlete to teacher. The game of golf has changed considerably since Williams’ playing days.

“The biggest things are the equipment that is available and how far kids hit it, now,” Williams said. It was a whole different ball game when I won the title in ‘85. Golf wasn’t as nearly as popular as it is today. There are more people participating, which leads to more quality players.

“We used to play in the fall. Now when we start the season in the spring, the weather is miserable. By the end, we have some decent weather to play in during state championships.”

Monday’s induction ceremony will be a moment Williams won’t soon forget.

“It means a lot,” Williams said. “Anytime you get recognized for something you’ve done is an honor. It’s an honor to be recognized in a Hall of Fame. My mom and dad still live there, so for it to be in my hometown is very special.”

After Monday’s induction ceremony, the annual “Old Timers” Game will begin at 6:30 p.m at Hemlock Park.

The over-40 “Old Timers” will compete against members of Big Rapids, Chippewa Hills, and Morley Stanwood baseball teams.

The Old Timers will fast pitch and the high school team will slow pitch. Since not many of the Old Timers are able to fast pitch anymore, the MCASHOF invites area high school softball pitchers to pitch for the Old Timers.

Last year, the combined Big Rapids-Morley Stanwood baseball team pulled out a 5-4 win over the Old Timers squad during the seven-inning game.

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