Pete Saco Lifetime Achievement Award: Former Hawks coach honored

Josh Williams (right) talks with his father and Sierra Valley Conference commissioner John Williams. Josh Williams was presented the Pete Saco Lifetime Achievement Award at halftime of Thursday's Sacramento Kings-Dallas Mavericks game at Golden 1 Center.

Sierra Valley Conference commissioner John Williams is set to retire at the end of the school year — for real this time.

Williams, 63, was the league’s first commissioner for five years from 1996 to 2001, when he was hired by the Sac-Joaquin Section. In 2015, he retired from the section, but didn’t retire entirely.

“I retired June 30 of 2015, and about two weeks prior, I get a call from Joe Saramago, who says, ‘Dave Johnson took a job in Oregon, and we need a league commissioner,’ ” Williams said. “So even though I retired five years ago, I never really retired. I had my son coaching basketball, and now with my son’s not coaching, I don’t want to be tied down.”

Josh Williams stepped down from coaching at Liberty Ranch in 2019.

So what does John WIlliams plan to do with all his free time? He’d like to travel, just not quite yet.

“Interestingly enough, we planned this big trip starting March 30, and as you can imagine, we didn’t get to do that,” Williams said. “I still want to do that. I like to play vacation golf. There’s another couple we do that with, and I want to do that.”

It was a travel plan that let Williams know that he was probably ready to let go of his spot as league commissioner. He and his wife planned to see country singer Crystal Gale — whom they named one of their daughters after — in Las Vegas.

“We said, ‘Hey, let’s go see Crystal Gale.’ Well, dummy me, that interfered with an AD meeting and a commissioner meeting,” Williams said. “It clicked then that, OK, I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m not a guy who has a lot of things going on. I concentrate on what I’m doing.”

Williams also has five granddaughters that all live nearby.

In his early life, Williams worked in newspapers, including many years with the Galt Herald. He was a production manager there during his first stint as the SVC commissioner.

He said as the league looks for a replacement, the best candidate will have to be someone who is familiar with computers and the software needed to run meetings and keep track of things.

And one of the biggest parts of the job is advice and leadership for the league’s athletic directors.

“Even though ADs are in charge, they have other tings they do on campus,” Williams said. “Guys will come to me with eligibility quesitons, especially since I worked in the section office, things like that.”

The candidate will also need to have more than a passing interest in high school sports.

“So you’re looking for someone who can take the lead, and you really have to enjoy high school athletics,” Williams said. “I’ve always, my entire life, been involved in high school athletics. This doesn’t mean I won’t go to games anymore. I live two minutes from Liberty Ranch, and six minutes from Galt. I’ll still go to games.”

Williams, who played a big part in creating the section’s Hall of Fame, was inducted into it in 2018.

“I retired young,” Williams said. “I worked hard, saved my money, and got out when I could.”

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus