Generous donation creates new soccer, olympic sports center at Baylor

Baylor University
POSTED: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 2:32pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 11:18pm

Baylor University has announced a gift of $1.5 million from Billy and Elaine Williams of Naples, Fla., that will create the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center, an on-campus, $3.3-million facility approved by Baylor’s Board of Regents at its October 2013 meeting.

“Elaine and I are excited to provide the soccer team and other Olympic sports at Baylor with access to facilities dedicated to their use and designed to match their needs,” said Billy Williams, BBA ’63. “We support Marci and Paul Jobson and the fine record they have established since coming to coach Baylor’s soccer team, and we believe it’s important to position the program for even greater success with improved facilities.”

(This story and a downloadable rendering of the news facility can be found on Baylor's website at http://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=137520.)

To be located within the Julie and Jim Turner Riverfront Athletic Complex, near the entrance to the Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field, the 14,500-square-foot Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center will provide the women’s soccer program and other student-athletes with a range of amenities. Construction is slated to begin this summer, with an anticipated completion in early 2015.

“The philanthropic spirit Billy and Elaine Williams have demonstrated in making this gift is truly remarkable, and it reflects the desire to be a difference-maker and leader that Billy has shown throughout his career,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “Their gift to the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center comes at a particularly special time in Baylor athletics, with the University completing work on an unparalleled athletic complex on both sides of the Brazos River.”

The Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center will feature a coaches suite and locker and training rooms dedicated to the soccer program, encompassing approximately 2,300 square feet and including 35 player lockers. The facility also will provide the soccer team and other sports housed in the Turner Complex with a 5,000-square-foot weight room and visiting team locker rooms, as well as public restrooms and areas for concessions and laundry.

“We are very excited about the future of Baylor Soccer under the Jobsons’ leadership, and this state-of-the-art facility will afford the program first-class space and amenities. Moreover, the Olympic Sports Center will provide student-athletes across a variety of sports a conveniently located training facility,” said Baylor Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “We are indebted to Billy and Elaine Williams for their generosity, and on behalf of Baylor Nation and our student-athletes we offer our deep gratitude.”

The Bears’ head coach for six seasons, former U.S. National Team member Marci Jobson led the 2012 soccer team to a Big 12 championship and the deepest NCAA Tournament run in program history with a Sweet 16 appearance. Paul Jobson served as the program’s associate head coach for five seasons before being named co-head coach prior to the 2013 season.

“All of us associated with the Baylor soccer program would like to thank the Williams family for their generous gift to make the dream of this facility a reality,” said Marci Jobson. “We have been blessed with some of the best student-athletes around, and now we will be able to provide them with a first-class soccer facility. We are humbled by the Williams family, their commitment to Baylor and the common vision we share to strive for excellence.”

As a Baylor student, Billy Williams lettered in football in 1962 on a John Bridgers-coached team that included star quarterback Don Trull, who was Williams’s roommate. After graduating with a degree in finance, Williams joined the First National Bank of Fort Worth’s executive training program and earned an MBA from TCU in 1965. He went on to a 26-year career at Owens Corning, working his way up from field salesman to executive vice president for the building materials division at the company’s headquarters in Toledo, Ohio. In 1991, Williams and two associates purchased Liquid Container, a packaging company in Chicago. As its president for 19 years, he oversaw the company’s expansion into a 14-plant, $400-million venture before he and his partners sold the company in 2011. He currently is an independent private investor.

Billy and Elaine Williams previously created two endowed scholarships at Baylor, the A.J. and Marie Williams Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund in Football and the Bill and Elaine Williams Family Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund. In 2012, Williams was named by the Baylor “B” Association to its Wall of Honor, which recognizes Baylor letterwinners and graduates whose meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following graduation have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor and its athletic department.

“Baylor enabled me to get a first-rate education by providing me with an athletic scholarship, and I’ve never forgotten that,” Williams said. “This gift from our family is simply an effort to show gratitude to Baylor University in recognition that the school gave me the start to any success that I’ve had.”

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