clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gator Nation Hero: Bill Williams

He is ninety-three years old. That alone might qualify Bill Williams for heroic status, but lets take a look at his resume courtesy of the St. Pete Times;

  • Williams played both ways, center and linebacker, for the Gators in 1936 and 1937. UF believes he is the oldest living Gator football player. He graduated with an architecture degree.
  • He had a 1600 acre farm in Eastern Hillsborough. He still works on a 90 acre farm with his son. Again, he will be 94 next week. Williams was a pilot until he was 79, flying his own Cessna.
  • He served in the Marine Corps 1942-58 and was a part of the Guam and Okinawa invasions. Very impressive, but there is one more thing...

Today, Williams has the longest membership in Tampa's most prominent krewe.

He has rarely missed Gasparilla, usually shooting a cannon from his perch on the ship, then nabbing a spot on a float. Only since his mid 80s has he ridden inside a tow truck, throwing beads through the window.

Thinking back over the past 70 years, he said, "I had good fun.''

Bill Williams is 1000% times the man you'll ever be. In fact, he's texting you right now just to tell you that. He would call, but he is very busy planning his invasion of Tampa from his house on Davis Islands. He laughs at those young Tampa UF grads who think SoHo is so cool. Davis Islands has been cool for 80 years! Plus, no matter how drunk you get during Gasparilla, you can't match Williams.

Gasparilla high jinks went on hiatus until 1947, which may have been the year he rode the "Fire­stone float."

He and some pals "got inebriated on the boat,'' Williams said, and couldn't quite manage to get onto a float. "A Firestone tire truck came by and threw us in the back." When they awoke at one friend's house, the parade was long over.

Williams will be riding in a tow truck with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, throwing beads at all the hot chicks you have to pass up because your friend Drunky McGee needs to be dragged back to the car. So, when you see an extremely older gentleman leaning out of a truck, it just might be Williams. Give him the Gator chomp and pour out some rum for an old pirate.

We salute you, Bill Williams! Alligator Army raises a shot of Captain in your honor.

Previous Gator Nation Heroes: Gatorade inventor Dr. Robert Cade, Poncho The Killer Alligator, my Championship Mode friend Sarah and her awesome dress, Alligator-saver Bill Warner, and the guy who stole FSU's crystal balls.

Alligator Army asks that if you do celebrate Gasparilla, that you celebrate responsibility. You don't want to spend the day passed out on Bayshore Blvd. or getting a DUI in Ybor. Also, if you think Gasparilla is lame and Jose Gaspar wasn't a real person, you can go to hell.