The Motor City and Detroit Public Schools (PSL) have sent untold numbers of young men and women to colleges and universities throughout America.
However, in most cases college coaches and universities are mainly looking to stock Division 1 programs with talent, but there are even more junior college and mid-major universities that play sports than the Division 1 cliques and fraternities.
Understanding that there are multitudes of PSL and Detroit metro area youth that have the ability to become student/athletes, Horatio Williams has stepped out on faith and is committed to extending opportunities for youth.
With this vision of helping others spinning around in his head he founded the Horatio Williams Foundation six years ago and has worked tirelessly since to make it a viable vehicle for youth to uplift themselves.
For the sixth consecutive year the Horatio Williams Foundation has implemented the Second Chance Games for senior student/athletes.
The event started last Friday with a Coaches Forum at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel ballroom. Featured were Ed Cooley, head coach at Providence College; Steve Hawkins, head coach at Western Michigan University; Bacari Alexander, assistant coach at University of Michigan; Mike Garland, assistant coach at Michigan State University; and Cornell Mann, assistant coach at Iowa State University.
On Saturday the Coaches Clinic stated with Schoolcraft College head coach Randy Henry; Joe Kopicki, head coach, Fitzgerald High; and Tom Valko, retired head coach, Marysville High.
The clinic was followed by the Second Chance Games for seniors, which is in its sixth year.
“In the Second Chance program we have averaged about 10 to 12 scholarships for youth,” Williams said. “We have sent a lot of kids to junior college and mid-majors. Because most coaches are looking for the Division 1 prospects, a lot of our kids were getting looked over. But we have a lot of great kids in this area that just need an opportunity to get in school.
“I looked around and saw so many kids are not getting in school and it bothered me. I started this foundation to help young people enhance their lives. We have over the years built solid relationships with coaches at every level and we can help these young men get a chance to uplift their lives through sports and education. They work hand in hand.”
Williams said with the success of the Second Chance Games, he knew he had to take the effort a step further. That is when he and his team created the Coaches Forum and Clinics.
“We started the Coaches Forum to help high school coaches with their ability to run practices, skill drills and coordinating with college coaches,” Williams said. “With the instructors we have at the clinic, it can only help high school coaches improve their knowledge of the game and help them connect with colleges to get their kids opportunity beyond high school.”
Williams was a basketball standout at PSL Osborn High. From there he went to Tuskegee University to play basketball and that experience changed his life and perspective.
“Going to college is the greatest thing to happen to me,” Williams said. “College gave me a bigger vision of the world and helped me connect with the world community.
“I went to a mid-level sports college and it was a very important part of my life. That is why I know if we can get kids in mid-level and junior colleges it will change their lives. Just getting out of one’s environment and seeing other places gives one a better viewpoint on the possibilities.”
Williams believes so much in what he is doing that he purchased a 35,000 square foot building in downtown Detroit to continue and expand his vision for area youth.
“I just purchased this building so we can do ACT/SAT prep and do vocational skills training, along with helping youth use their athletic gift to get scholarships,” Williams said.