Basketball tournament dedicated to memory of “Big John”

Published 6:37 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Lowndes County community is preparing for a special basketball event dedicated to honoring the memory of the late Sheriff John “Big John” Williams.

Williams, who was tragically slain in the line of duty in November 2019, was a highly respected figure in the community, known for his dedication to public service. A native of Lowndes County, his career in law enforcement spanned several decades, during which he held various positions within the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Hayneville Police Department.

The basketball event, scheduled for Jan. 19 at Central Hayneville High School, will feature a series of games, including junior varsity, girls’, and varsity boys’ matches. Admission to the event is $10, with the community coming together to celebrate Sheriff Williams’ life and his positive impact he had on Lowndes County.

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Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson, Chairman of the Children’s Policy Council, of which Williams was a member, expressed the community’s deep appreciation for Sheriff Williams and the mark that his passing left on the community.

 “His death was a loss to the whole county,” Johnson said. “He was very involved in the schools and attended every event. This is a way for us to honor his memory and continue his legacy.”

His impact was felt not only through his career in law enforcement but also through his involvement in community events and support for local initiatives.

In honor of that legacy, The Children’s Policy Council has created an annual scholarship program in the Sheriff’s name. Coming up in its 4th year, the scholarship awards $2,000 to one student in each Lowndes County School. A fundraising table at the game will be taking donations towards expanding the scholarship program.

“We’ve given out $18,000 so far, and our goal this year is to expand and be able to give out additional scholarships.”

Nickles Rankins, Lowndes County athletic director, echoed Johnson’s sentiments, emphasizing Sheriff Williams’ unwavering support for athletic programs. He organized the event to celebrate William’s life by contributing to the scholarship founded in the late Sheriff’s honor. 

“He always supported athletic programs. When there was a game, you’d see him in the stand,” Rankins remarked. “This is our way to keep his memory alive and let his family know that we love and remember him.”

The basketball event, scheduled for Jan. 19 at Central Hayneville High School, will feature a series of games, including junior varsity, girls’, and varsity boys’ matches. Admission to the event is $10, with the community coming together to celebrate Sheriff Williams’ life and his positive  impact he had on Lowndes County.