Hal Williams, a staple in Tenino sports and education for over six decades, died on Wednesday. He was 86.
“I would say that when you think of Tenino, you think of Hal Williams,” Tenino boys basketball coach Ryan Robertson said.
In his career in Tenino, Williams served as the principal of Tenino Elementary School — now Parkside Elementary school, where his son Brock is now principal. He later worked at Tenino Middle school, and spent decades as a middle school boys basketball coach.
He also coached high school baseball and was a long-time assistant boys basketball coach. In 2017, he was inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association as an assistant coach.
In the early 1970s, Williams saw the need for a youth baseball program in the community, and along with Gordon Roberston, got to work creating one. Without an official affiliation with Little League Baseball, the new league simply went by “Tenino Little Baseball,” but with Williams at the helm, played a huge role in shaping the younger generation of athletes in Stone City.
“He had a sense of authority that he could back up, but also class and integrity,” Ryan Robertson said. “He just had an aura that made you respectful.”
But for decades, possibly Williams’ most famous role came in the press box at Beaver Stadium which since 2013 has borne his name.
“I grew up on the football field,” said Roberstson, whose father was a distinguished coach in his own right. “ He’d be announcing everything, and I could not wait for him to say my name. I think every kid felt like that; you couldn’t wait for Hal Williams to announce your name.”
Williams began as the Beavers’ public address announcer in 1963, and only missed three games in his first 50 years on the job.
He retired following the 2017 season, and in 2018, the Tenino athletic department honored Williams with a statue that sits past the entrance of Beaver Stadium that bears the moniker “The Voice of the Beavers.”
“I often joke that I’m going to try to tie him,” said Dave Montgomery, Tenino’s current P.A. announcer, who took over for Williams. “But that would mean I’m the announcer until I’m 92. It’s pretty incredible what he did.”
Williams is survived by his widow, Shirley Williams, and his three children: Brent, Brock and Nikki.
A service will be held next Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Tenino Middle School gymnasium.
“It’s the heart of a little town, having a man like him that everyone could point to as a great role model,” Robertson said. “Somebody to hold you accountable, a rock. He was just always there. He was an awesome man.”
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