Beginning in 1991, Patrick Williams started working as public address announcer for Jacksonville State athletics until he stepped away in 2002.
The lure of being around Gamecock athletics was too much for Williams to resist as he rejoined the team at JSU in 2013.
From ’91 to ’02, Williams worked as the JSU PA announcer and stepped away at the time for personal reasons.
“I had spent several falls in a row working JSU football games,” he said. “As my kids got older, they wanted to go down to Auburn for games. One of the main reasons I stepped away was to enjoy Saturdays with them.”
An unexpected tragedy didn’t directly cause Williams to return to JSU but it was one of the reasons.
“JSU had just built a new addition to the football stadium right around the time my son passed away,” he said. “They needed someone to do the internal PA for the media members. That was in 2013 and I decided to give it a go.”
Much like the stadium PA announcer, the internal PA announcer provides stats, down and distance and other aspects of the game to the media members in attendance.
“In about 2015, I was asked to move over and do the PA for the entire stadium once again,” Williams said. “I’ve been doing every home game since then. I’ve also gone on the road a few times to announce the Marching Southerners at away stadiums. Through the years I’ve been to Georgia Tech’s stadium, Truist Park where the Braves play, the Division 2 Championship in Frisco, Texas and Jordan-Hare in Auburn.”
This year, the Gamecocks are competing in an abbreviated spring schedule. They played 4 games, just one at home, in the fall. The bulk of the season was moved to the spring following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last March. Williams said the games are still fun regardless of when the season is.
“It really is a ton of fun to be around the program each game,” he said. “There is so much tradition surrounding the team and the band. It’s just a pleasure to get to do this and I look forward to continuing on for many years.”
Currently, Williams is the vice principal and athletic director for Boaz High School. He plans to retire from education in the next few years but not from announcing.
“Once I retire from school, I’m going to look at making announcing a second career,” he said. “I do several other things besides JSU football. For example, this past week I did the PA announcements at Bartow Arena in Birmingham for the Class 6A and 7A basketball championships. I’ve been doing state basketball tournament game since 2000.”
While it might not be considered by most people, Williams said the skill of working as the public address announcer is something that must be developed over time.
“I remember the first game I ever did the PA for was the Boaz High School powderpuff football game in 1986,” he laughed. “I always had a love for it and got an opportunity to announce JSU basketball games while I was a student down there. I was asked to fill in for a JSU basketball game once. We were playing the Russian National team and I didn’t mess up any of the Russian names. The folks at JSU were happy enough with the way I performed so they let me stay on. I was probably given a shot at it too early but I’m very thankful that I was.”
He added, “A lot of your ability to be good at PA work comes from experience. It’s a skill you develop over time just like anything else. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it all these years and look forward to doing it for many more to come.”
The Gamecocks will be back home on March 21 to take on Southeast Missouri State at 2 p.m.