A-J's Don Williams among alumni honored by Texas Tech Media & Communications

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Texas Tech's College of Media & Communications has inducted a new member into its Hall of Fame and recognized three outstanding alumni, including longtime Avalanche-Journal sportswriter Don Williams.The honors were presented during the college's 2023 awards dinner Friday evening in the Frazier Alumni Pavilion.Williams was honored as one of three outstanding alumni, along with R.J. Hinkle, a commercial food and lifestyle photographer in Dallas, and Sano Blocker, the senior vice president of government affairs at Irving-based energy company Vistra.

Hinkle also spent a time working at the Avalanche-Journal, as well as the then-University Daily campus newspaper at Tech before moving on to a career as a photojournalist and commercial photographer.Sam B. Monaco Jr. was honored as the newest member of the college's Hall of Fame. The 1974 graduate of what was then the Department of Media & Communication received a degree in telecommunications. Much of his career was spent with AT&T in San Antonio, serving 18 years as a tax accountant before retiring. In 2020, Monaco made what the college described as an impactful gift supporting immersive learning opportunities benefiting the KTXT student-led and operated radio station housed in the college.

Don Williams' 41-plus years covering sports

Don Williams
Don Williams

Williams, who was raised in Kress, graduated with a journalism degree from Tech in 1988 and started full time at the Avalanche-Journal that year. He has now spent 41 years as a sportswriter in varying capacities, including nearly 35 years as a full-time sports reporter with the Avalanche-Journal, where he's won numerous state-wide and national awards. He also interned at the A-J in 1986 and at the Arizona Republic in 1987, spending weeks covering the San Francisco Giants Triple-A affiliate. At the A-J, Williams' focus has primarily been on Texas Tech football, but he's covered a wide variety of sports including track and field, basketball, rodeo, ice hockey, Dallas Cowboys football and numerous high school sports, among others.During Friday evening's ceremony, College of Media & Communications Dean David Perlmutter praised Williams for his impressive career as a sports journalist and storyteller, saying Williams' commitment to journalism reflects well on the college.In accepting his award, Williams told the audience he'd wanted to be a sports writer for as long as he could remember. He recalled being raised in a house that was well stocked with newspapers and magazines, and closely following the sports sections. His passion, he said, comes in telling the stories of young athletes, including their achievements and how they overcome adversity.

Williams also called going to Texas Tech and becoming a sports writer for the University Daily dreams that he pursued and that have helped him in his career.

Williams thanked numerous friends, along with A-J editors, sports editors and colleagues who have supported and taught him along the way.

He also thanked his family, including his father who he credited for his interest in sports.

"He was a sports fan and the source of all of those newspapers and periodicals that I soaked up as a kid and sent me on this path," Williams said. "Thanks to my mother for her patience. She had no interest in sports, but she tolerated me, my brother and my dad" and their passion for athletics.

He also thanked members of his family who were in attendance for their patience and understanding as his career has often called him to cover games and events that have kept him away from important family events.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: A-J's Don Williams alumni honored by Texas Tech Media & Communications