Behind every Linfield student-athlete is the college’s faculty athletic representative.
For 26 years, until 1998, Ken Williams '55, was Linfield’s FAR. In a nutshell, he was responsible for accumulating information on each student intending to compete in an intercollegiate sport.
Ken Williams’ work as FAR was far from the Wildcat sports spotlight. For example, he filed eligibility reports with every conference college or university and the district office. He worked on athletic eligibility of transfer students and on hardship cases. He collected data, analyzed it and produced reports. He attended practice sessions and games and matches. And more. Ken says, "hardly a day would go by without some involvement by me" as faculty athletic rep. But, it had to be done and he did it well. Without extra pay and no work load credit.
During his tenure, he served four times as president of the Northwest Conference Faculty Athletic Representatives. Under his leadership, the conference dealt with a variety of issues including The College of Idaho leaving the NWC, Whitman dropping football, women’s athletics being added, financial aid standards, and the initial work of leaving the NAIA and joining the NCAA.
FAR duty took him off campus. The common schedule for the representatives was to meet the weekend before Thanksgiving and on Mother’s Day.
His wife, Gail Williams, Linfield Class of 1958, says Ken attended to FAR duties "before work, after work and on weekends because there was not enough time during his hours as the college’s registrar."
His efforts have been recognized over the years. In 1984, former Linfield President Charles U. Walker praised Ken’s coordination of the Wildcat’s three home games in the 1984 NAIA national football playoffs. Linfield won the title. For the skill shown by Linfield in playing host to football playoff games, NAIA officials complimented him.
NAIA District 2 Meritorious Service and Linfield Alumni Service awards also recognize his skill and commitment to intercollegiate athletics and the college.
Ken’s connection to the college started in 1951, when he came to Linfield as a freshman student from what is now Weston-McEwen High School in Athena (Umatilla County). He graduated from Linfield in 1955 (B.S. business administration) and earned a master of education degree in 1962. He earned an education doctoral degree from the University of Wyoming through the competitive selection National Defense Education Act Institute and also took part in a year-long NDEA program at Michigan State University.
He worked for Linfield for a total of 34 years, starting in 1959 and ending with retirement in 1997. They were not consecutive years. During that time he spent some four years in public school education. His jobs at the college have included being registrar, assistant to vice president for academic affairs and dean as well as acting academic affairs dean, interim academic affairs vice president and dean. He sas also alumni affairs director, Upward Bound director, special services director and Portland campus director.
While much is known about Ken’s work for the college, less is known about his experience as a Linfield student athlete. He earned three letters in track (high jump, discus), played freshman basketball and a year of football.
Speaking of football, in a home game on Maxwell Field, Linfield was easily winning in the waning moments. He had not played. But, then Coach Paul Durham sent him in as a defensive end. Three-quarters of the way to the huddle a teammate, also from the sidelines, came up behind him and said, "Williams, I’m in for you." He did play a down in that game. And, he did play for the Linfield football JVs when they beat the George Fox varsity in that university’s homecoming football game in Newberg. He and a friend each paid $1 to attend the game as fans. At halftime, because Linfield had few players, they found equipment, suited up and played the entire second half. Ken said modestly, "It was my best game in a Wildcat uniform."
In retirement, Ken enjoys attending Linfield athletic contests. He cheers on Wildcat players and teams. He had good training. As a Linfield student, he was a charter member of Linfield infamous "South Forty" basketball cheering section.
Williams still attends Wildcat games because, as his wife, Gail, says, "for the love of Linfield, Wildcat athletics and all of those involved."