Pat Williams, 77, general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers from 1974-1986 and of the Orlando Magic from 1986-1996 will be back home in Delaware to talk about life and faith atthe 32nd annual Delaware Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 19 at the Chase Center.
“Pat Williams and his Journey of is the topic.
The event is led by Delaware’s business and civic leaders as a lay event, not led by clergy, and it’s organized by an inclusive group of the Delaware Leadership Foundation Prayer Breakfast Steering Committee.
Williams said he grew up in a faith-oriented family headed by a grandfather who was a Presbyterian minister in Greensboro, North Carolina. When the family lived in Wilmington, when he was a youth, they were active in the Westminster Presbyterian Church. And he attended Wake Forest University, “the Baptist school of North Carolina,” he said, where chapel services were required attendance twice weekly.
“Yes, faith was in my life, but it was a personal relationship with a living savior named Jesus that was missing,” said Williams. “I was 27, almost 50 years ago in February 1968. I was in my fourth season running the Phillies’ minor-league club in Spartanburg, South Carolina, when I realized what was missing in my life, and it was my decision to invite him into my heart,” in what Williams called “a life-changing decision.”
Williams was born in 1940 in Philadelphia, the second oldest of four children and the only son. He was raised in Wilmington, attending Tower Hill School, where his father coached and taught. He became a friend of Ruly Carpenter, son of Philadelphia Phillies owner Bob Carpenter, who would bring Williams to the Phillies’ dugout and clubhouse, as well as to the team’s spring training in Clearwater, Florida.
“I still have strong roots in Wilmington, even though I moved in the summer 1986 to Orlando,” Williams said. He mentioned classmates Ruly Carpenter and Mike Castle, the former governor and congressman, and that the three were teammates.
As an author and co-author, he’s written a prodigious 100-plus books, with three coming
out this fall. Many focus on life, growth and motivation. And he’s given thousands of speeches.
Co-chaired today by M&T Bank’s Beryl Barmore of Wilmington Trust and Young Conaway attorney Tim Houseal, the steering committee of the event is made up 22 civic
and business leaders who are a cross-section of Delaware’s faith community.