WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

On Friday night I spoke with a former college and high school great about his job in pro sports. We take a look at today and remember the past.

In looking for subjects for our now famous Where Are They Now piece, One of our readers e-mailed me about another former Kenton Trace Conference great. Remember, were looking for former Ohio prep athletes that are working in sports after their playing days.

A three sport star, this former prep athlete today works in Michigan for the AFL's Detroit Fury. He handles many duties for the Fury. While his title may be Ticket Program Manager, he also is in charge of setting up PR, and reaching out into the community and building relationships with the teams fan base. He's also in charge of washing the teams F450 Ford pickup that brings in the cheerleaders.

This former prep and college kicker is married and has a little girl born in January of 2002 that keeps him busy. In talking with our former athlete, he is the first to tell you fate played a very large part in his life on and off the field.

During the 1980's Waynesville High School was known for its hard edged and successful football teams. The Spartans put together a nice streak of winning teams at this Warren County school. Our former athlete says what happened on these fields changed his life forever.

Tim Williams is known for many things. But the one thing he feels changed his life, happened during a football game in 1988 against Jamestown Greenview High School. We spoke with this former Spartan and OSU Buckeye about his life during his high school career and after he left the town of Waynesville.

OPS: What are you doing today?

Tim: Well I'm married and I have a little girl named Emma Rose that we call our National Championship baby. We call Emma that because she was born 37 minutes before kickoff of the Ohio State / Miami National Championship game. My wife's name is Kristy and I'm working in Detroit for the AFL's Detroit Fury. I'm Ticket Program Manager plus what ever else needs to be done. I also organize youth outings and do public speaking for the team around the Detroit area. Working in a small organization gives me the chance to do several jobs. I even have to wash the F450 we have that brings the cheerleaders onto the field.

OPS: What do you remember most from your high school athletic career?

Tim: I would have to say the kick that changed my life forever is what I remember most. Making that kick got me to Ohio State. Ohio State was looking at a kicker from Columbus Academy named Ted Ziegler and myself. The OSU coaches were still thinking about which one of us they wanted to recruit when I got a chance to kick a 57 yard field goal and I make it. Right after that I got the offer and that kick changed my life. Most people don't know this, I was ready to play for Eastern Kentucky University. I really liked the Richmond Kentucky area. And for me, coming from small town Waynesville, that was big time football.

OPS: How do you feel high school sports has changed since your days at Waynesville?

Tim: I feel that things need to be changed. I was a three sport athlete at Waynesville. I played Football, Basketball and Baseball. Today with the summer seven-on-sevens and other summer leagues kids are being pushed to make decision and give up sports they would really like to play. I feel that there is too much pressure on student athletes in the high school ranks today. It starts in the youth leagues with many coach's just wanting to win. While I feel winning is important, they should be teaching the skills needed for the sport. The goal should be to allow the kids to enjoy the sport and not put as much pressure on them to just win. Teach the fundamentals of the game and the winning will take care of its self.

OPS: Being a kicker, was it hard to get recruited in high school?

Tim: Well I won't say it was easy. I was the first kicker in Waynesville football history to kick a field goal. I got lucky that my coach allowed me the chance to try some long kicks and become better at the craft. I had a strong leg, and my coach allowed me to try 60-70 yard kicks. I hit a 52 yard kick as a sophomore, and the 57 yard as a senior. I has some other schools looking at me like Georgia Tech and Indiana, but I really liked Eastern Kentucky, until Ohio State came into the picture.

OPS: Working in Michigan, does anyone give you a hard time about being an former OSU player?

Tim: I have fun with it. If I see a fan wearing a Michigan hat I will joke with him about it. But I have also had them come back and make the joke on me. Not many people remember this, I was the punter on Desmond Howard's punt return for a touchdown when he struck the Heisman pose. But then I always have my 1993 Big Ten Championship ring that I wear to show them OSU did beat Michigan for a title. Like I said, I have a blast with it, and the fans seem to enjoy it also.

OPS: What would you tell kids that want to be a college student athlete? And what would you tell kickers?

Tim: Be realistic about the whole process and never give up on your goals. Not everyone can play D-I, but you never know if you don't try. For kickers, go to camps like the Ray Guy camp. Competition is great, and it will make you a better kicker learning from some of the best in the country.

OPS: What do you remember the most about Ohio State.

Tim: Wow! I would have to say a couple of things. First, being able to share my experiences with my father and family would be high on the list. My father is my best friend, and to share what I did was just very special. I would also have to say that coming out for the first game was something special. Running onto the field with the crowd screaming I'll never forget that. And making my first kick, I can remember it just like yesterday. We were playing Texas Tech, and I hit a 32 yard field goal. But one of the biggest would have to be the fact I was named to the Ohio State All-Century Team. To be voted one of Ohio State's All-Time best is something really special.

OPS: What High School athlete do you remember most that you competed against?

Tim: That would have to be the quarterback from Little Miami High School. His name is Chad Williams. That was a big game for us every year. And he just stands out in my mind as one of my biggest rivals while I was at Waynesville. That was a real big game in Warren County back then.

OPS: What made you get into the professional sports field?

Tim: My degree is in Sports Management. After OSU I gave the NFL a try, but never was able to stick. I played some Arena Football and also coached some college football at a NAIA level. I've worked at Delphi in Dayton, Ohio then found a NIFL team in Wheeling, West Virginia who wanted me to kick. I knew that I needed something more than just kicking, so as part of the deal with me playing for Wheeling, they allowed me to work some in the front office. While I was there, they helped me get a chance to work in the Detroit Pistons front office and that led to me being with the Fury of the AFL here in Detroit.

OPS NOTES: I want to thank Tim for giving OPS the chance to catch up and talk about his high school and college career. While Tim's no longer Ohio's record holder, he's not far behind in second place. I remember Tim hitting that kick in a blowout game against Greenview. Having played against Waynesville during my days in the Kenton Trace Conference I still remember items from games played against the orange and black Spartans. Tim and I also spoke of former Waynesville players and Coach's that are no longer with us. Why some people are taken at such an early time in their life I will never understand. But to the families of these men, we want them to know that many people still have great memories about battles won and lost during what we remember as our youth. If you know of an athlete that we should contact and write a story about what they are doing in sports today, e-mail us at OPS.


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