Harry Williams renewed his driver’s license the week of his birthday in late November.
His 100th birthday.
And it’s not a symbolic license. Williams, a 1942 Wofford College graduate, still hops behind the wheel of his 2005 Cadillac, the one with 105,000 miles on it, the one he’s owned longer than any other vehicle he’s ever had.
And why shouldn’t he? A guy who went skydiving on his 93 rd birthday (and 94 th… and 95 th) isn’t going to be intimidated by a little traffic.
“I just got it renewed for eight more years. I don’t want to waste it,” says Williams, who celebrated hitting the century mark on Nov. 21.
Wasting things – time, opportunities – isn’t in Williams’ makeup. He served his country in the military, built a successful business and dedicated himself to supporting Wofford and his community. First and foremost to Williams, however, is his devotion to his family.
“I’ve always said that Harry Williams is the guy I want to be when I grow up,” says Director of Athletics Richard Johnson. “Harry has been the most loyal of supporters and is just a delightful human being. You automatically smile when you see him. He is one of the most gracious people I have known. I wish we could clone him.”
Williams grew up in the shadow of Wofford and spent a lot of time on campus as a child. When he was 12, he would keep score on a chalkboard for the men’s basketball team when it played in Andrews Field House.
“I got in free for doing it,” he says.
While at Wofford, Williams played on the football, basketball and tennis teams. He “brags” about his perfect record as the No. 6 singles player on the tennis team.
“I never won a match,” he says with a laugh.
Williams’ athletic achievements also include four holes-in-one, the last coming when he was 86.
In 1946, Williams was one of the founding fathers of the Eleven Club, an organization that encouraged Wofford alumni and friends to donate $11 to support the athletics program. As its membership and mission grew in scope, The Eleven Club became the Terrier Club.
“Harry has been an instrumental Terrier Club member, volunteer and leader for the past 75 years,” says Luke Feisal, associate athletic director for development. “Whether it be getting the original Eleven Club up and running, to the many phone-a-thon call nights to drum up new memberships, his loyalty and passion for the mission of the Terrier Club is unwavering. It is truly remarkable that Harry has made some type of contribution, whether it be small or large, to consistently support Wofford Athletics each and every year since 1946.”
Williams has been just as consistent with his attendance at Wofford athletics events. He can’t remember the last time he missed a home game, and when the COVID-19 pandemic protocols allow, he’ll be back in his seat.
“If they’re going to play, I’m going to be there,” Williams says.
David Wood, senior vice president for advancement, is looking forward to that day. When Wood arrived as athletics director in 1996, he says Williams made sure he felt welcomed.
“I always describe him to others as a prince of a gentleman,” Wood says. “I have found him to be always concerned first for others, devoted to his family and Wofford, eager to work and advocate on behalf of the college and his beloved Terrier Club, and someone genuinely committed to making our world a better place.”