Widener holds reception for former swim team membersPublished 10:37am Wednesday, March 5, 2014
William Widener, the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame award-winning Bainbridge swim coach and Bainbridge High School band director was honored by his former swimmers at a reception last Saturday afternoon at the Bainbridge First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
Special guests included Roger Searcy, Loma Young and Martha McMullen Hollingsworth, who were members of his first Bainbridge swim team in 1950.
“Bill Hill, who was the city of Bainbridge Recreation director in 1950, asked me if I would take some swimmers to Albany to compete in a meet,” Widener recalled. “I did and they performed well. That is how my swim-coaching career began.”
Widener was thankful for all the support he received as his coaching career took off.
“Bill Hill and all the other city recreation directors I worked with during my years as city swimming coach were always very helpful and supportive,” he said. “They included Jim Harkins, Bill Parsons, Phil Carsons, Fred Alford and Jack Palmer.”
At the reception and at his Saturday night induction into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame at Bainbridge State College’s Kirbo Center, Widener talked about Ted Harrell, one of his very special swimmers who lost his life in an accident.
“Ted Harrell was a strong swimmer and he always demonstrated great sportsmanship,” Widener said. “When a teammate completed their event, Ted was always there to congratulate them.
“For many years the Bainbridge Swim Club has presented the Ted Harrell Sportsmanship Award in his honor and memory. We are very happy to have Ted’s father Ray Harrell here with us today.”