AU#039;s Williams to headline Achiever banquet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Auburn University football team chaplain Chette Williams has been named as the speaker for this year's Achiever Award ceremony, joining the likes of former speakers John Croyle and Jeremiah Castille who have headlined the banquet.

Williams, 44, just completed his seventh season as the Tigers' football team chaplain and also serves as the Auburn campus director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and state director for Urban Ministries for the FCA.

Williams is a graduate of Auburn and lettered on the football team from 1982-84, having also played in the Sugar, Citrus and Liberty Bowl under then head coach Pat Dye.

Williams received his Masters of Divinity degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1993, but he has been a licensed ordained minister since 1987.

&#8220It is really pleasing to have someone speak with that strong of a Christian background,” Achiever Award Executive Board member Keith Taylor said.

Achiever Award Board member Susan Rhodes, who has served in that capacity for nine of the 10 years the award has been given out, was instrumental in booking Williams and said hearing him speak should be good not only for the kids, but for everyone.

Rhodes worked closely with Greenville residents Susan Murphy, Doyle Bender and Executive Board member Amanda Phillips in securing Williams as this year's speaker and she hopes this year will be the best year ever.

&#8220We are so excited about the 10th anniversary of the Achiever Award,” Rhodes said. &#8220We hope everyone is going to be inspired.”

After hearing past speakers, Rhodes said the best speakers have been the ones with a true message.

&#8220It's so much more important when you speak from the heart and I've heard wonderful things about [Williams],” Rhodes said.

Williams often speaks about how his relationship with the Lord changed his life and Taylor hopes the kids will take something away from his testimony.

&#8220I hope they see the big picture in that sports are a wonderful thing, but it's how you carry yourself as a Christian that is important,” Taylor said.

Although securing Williams to speak has been a real positive to start the year off, the Achiever Award, which was established 10 years ago to recognize Butler County students who went above and beyond the playing field, has not been without its problems in the past few months.

In December 2006, Butler County District Attorney John Andrews filed charges against former Greenville Chamber of Commerce Director Carol Lee, alleging Lee stole $7,270.94 from the Achiever Award scholarship fund.

Lee resigned from her position Nov. 8, 2006.

Since then, Lee has paid back the amount allegedly taken from the Achiever Award fund and will go in front of the grand jury in February.

With the money now paid back in full, the Achiever Award fund is in the best financial shape it has ever been to start the year and measures have been put into place to ensure something like that never happens again.

Rhodes and Taylor each said that is a testament to the character of the award.

&#8220It just shows how big this award is to Butler County,” Taylor said. &#8220It's a testament to how hard people who care about this award have worked and we're not going to let a stumbling block get in our way.”

Rhodes agreed.

&#8220We have faced a few challenges, but we are excited about the award,” Rhodes said. &#8220We encourage everyone to be a part of what promises to be the best Achiever Award event ever.”