Champions of Character: UGF's Al Williams - News, Sports and Weather

Champions of Character: UGF's Al Williams

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The assignment is networking something that comes natural to UGF Sophomore Al Williams. In fact, nothing has seemed to phase him since he moved to Great Falls... except... maybe... the first time he stepped off the plane.

"When I got off the airplane, we had to walk to the actual airport, so that was different. But, honestly, it's been pretty awesome. I'm from a bigger city, so I like the small town feel a lot," Williams says.

"I think he said coach, do you like it. And I said, yeah I like it. And he said, that's good for me then," Argos head lacrosse coach Bryan Jenkins adds.

Jenkins had recruited Al before, to Wells College in Upstate New York. Al played there for a semester before things outside of his control forced him to return home. When Jenkins took the UGF job, he knew exactly why he wanted to recruit Al again.

"Big, big character guy. Honest and hardworking. Comes from a fairly tough background, kind of persevered through everything. Works his tail off," Jenkins says.

Adds Argos assistant coach, Kylan Hallett who also played with Williams at Wells College, "I don't think you could ask for a better example. He's from Oakland, California, a bad place in the country where kids aren't expected to do much of anything. Yet, he's proved every stereo type wrong."

One of which was that kids there don't play lacrosse. And until Spanish class his junior year when he was invited to try the sport out, Al never thought he'd play either.

"No. everybody thought I was crazy, I didn't think I was going to play to be honest with you. Something to do after school with some friends, but yeah, no. Some of my friends still don't believe me," Al says.

His path was always destined to be different. He's had friends, those close to him, lose their lives by falling into traps most face in his home-town.

"It's part of growing up in that environment. It's not something that you want to experience... but it's also helped me grow as a person," Al says.

He had the strength, thanks in large part to his family, especially his mom Val, to make sure he went another route... college.

"If you know my mom, you're going. That's just how she is," Al says with a laugh.

So, he's in Great Falls. Helping Jenkins lay the foundation for a program that's in it's infancy stages and captaining a team that's only played one game.

"I had the back in my head that he was going to be a captain here when he signed on, but I just wanted to see how he interacted with the guys... and played with the guys, but I think after the first practice it was easy to see that the guys just immediately respect him, they see how hard he works," Jenkins says.

Lets go back to that class, because Al is making his mark there too. He's majoring in business and has an internship with the Red Cross in Washington DC this summer.

"I've always been someone that kind of would ease on by, my mom and I have butted heads a lot. But since I've been here and gotten to college, and kind of grown into my own person, I've always expected more of myself," Al says.

Sounds like Great Falls was just what Al needed. Despite the walk from the plane to the airport, it's been a perfect fit… for him… and for the first year lacrosse program too.

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