“So we had this spring sports banquet, and they asked me to get up and say something, and I was choking and I didn’t know what to say. They announced me, and I said, ‘We’re going to win the national championship.’ Everybody laughed. Boy, that was the biggest joke of the year. The school was new in athletics then. We’d never gone for a national championship in anything. I was choking and I just blurted it out: ‘We’re going to win the national championship.’ The golf team wasn’t even playing in the NCAA. They started calling me National Championship Williams.”
The University of Houston is a young school that did not compete in any intercollegiate athletics until 1946. It now has a trophy room in the athletic department offices, at the center, or heart, of the building, and the trophy room knocks the eye out. Small spotlights probe the cases and illuminate the contents. Great big silver trophies, and bigger ones still, and little gold ones and plaques and plates and loving cups. The great majority of them are golf trophies that have been won since 1955. Nine of them are national championship (NCAA) golf trophies, the mother lode of National Championship Williams. If it were not for the golf trophies, the Houston trophy room would be an immoderation, like having a big garage without owning a car.
“This is the greatest athletic program in America,” he says, “and it is the greatest university. If a student doesn’t think so he shouldn’t be here. And, listen, there isn’t a better city to live in than Houston.”