Pat Williams, co-founder and senior vice president of the Orlando Magic basketball team and author of the upcoming book, Tom Osborne on Leadership, will speak at College View Seventh-day Adventist Church on Monday, Oct. 22, at 7:00 p.m. in a free presentation sponsored by Union College. Williams will also speak for Union College’s chapel service on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 10:30 a.m.
In his talk “Leadership Excellence,” Williams will draw from his lifetime as a successful sports executive and from the well-known people he has written about including legends such as John Wooden, Bear Bryant, Walt Disney and now Tom Osborne.
Williams began his career as a minor league catcher before moving into the front office of the Spartanburg Phillies at age 24. Then as general manager, he transformed the Chicago Bulls from a team near extinction to a playoff contender in the early 1970s. After a stint with the Atlanta Hawks, he helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a world championship in 1983 and then co-founded the Orlando Magic in the late 1980s where he now serves as senior vice president. As GM, Williams drafted a number of NBA stars over the years including Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins, and this year was awarded the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The author of more than 70 books on success in sports, leadership, marriage, business and many areas of life, Williams also features the insights of many successful people in books such as Bear Bryant On Leadership: Life Lessons from a Six-Time National Championship Coach; and How To Be Like Mike: Life Lessons from Basketball’s Best. His latest book, Tom Osborne on Leadership, will be available later this year.
Raised in Wilmington, Del., Williams earned a bachelor’s degree at Wake Forest University and a master’s from Indiana University. “As a kid I was so blessed to have a dad who loved sports and who inspired me to love sports, too,” he said in an interview with Interview Angel. “Sports offers the best training field for life I can think of and if it’s a job you’re looking for, sports involvement offers a great way to make connections that lead to satisfying careers.”
Williams and his wife parent 19 children, 14 of whom are adopted and come from four different nations. “I can say that the challenges of raising 19 children, many of them from international cultures, and helping them find their way in the professional world, has often been daunting,” he said.
Williams’ talk will highlight Union College’s Leadership Symposium, an annual event that allows students and faculty to learn from influential speakers. “I hope students will be inspired to be the best leaders they can be,” said Linda Becker, vice president for Student Services and administrative director of the leadership program. “And that they will see how Christianity and belief in God can make them better leaders.”
The Leadership Symposium is part of Union’s leadership program, which recently expanded to offer a leadership minor. “The leadership program at Union helps students to develop their personal leadership potential for optimum effectiveness in life,” Becker explained.
Students who enroll in the program take advantage of leadership classes, peer mentoring and weekly meetings focused on improving leadership skills. “The minor also requires an internship,” said Dr. Becker. “We want to make sure all students have a chance to exercise their abilities and to connect and learn from other leaders before they graduate.”
The College View Seventh-day Adventist Church is located on the corner of 48th and Prescott Streets on the campus of Union College. The talk is free and open to the public—no registration required.