NCA pays tribute to Neil Williams
April 7, 2006
NCA pays tribute to Neil Williams

On March 27, 2006, the National Cricket Academy (NCA) lost its co-founder and coach, Neil Williams, who passed on after a brief illness. For the past six years Coach Neil was an integral part of the Saturday morning nation-building exercises that saw youths being coached in cricket, soccer, tennis, and track and field and mentored by a few passionate and selfless volunteers.{{more}}

Neil Williams was a professional cricketer in England for a number of years and was good enough to have played test cricket for England. When he retired a few years ago, Neil returned home to his native St. Vincent to make his own contribution to nation building. What was most admirable about his retirement and return was that he never requested of anyone a job or remuneration. His simple commitment was to make a personal contribution and sacrifice towards developing young cricketers, utilizing his own retirement resources and cricketing skills.

What more can you ask for as a parent, than to have a committed, disciplined professional individual, coach and mentor your children, consistently week after week, with no request for compensation.

The National Cricket Academy was an initiative of the parents of the young cricketers. We had resolved to first of all bring some structure to this weekly coaching and to institutionalize the program in order to be able to consistently reward and compensate the coaches for their sterling contributions. Monthly fees were then introduced to assist with defraying certain expenses. But that did not matter to Neil; indeed, he told me that regardless of the compensation issues he was going ahead with his coaching and all he wanted was results.

Neil and former National Cricketer and Coach Alfred Bynoe were the principal coaches of the Academy and these two gentlemen were influential enough to attract both present and former national cricketers to assist them with coaching at Arnos Vale and in other outer districts. These players include Vibert Bute, Ian Allen, Orlanzo Jackson and Kenroy Peters.

Neil relied on technology as an integral part of his coaching program. He filmed and recorded and profiled his summer program students in order to identify deficiencies and to monitor progress. His main concern was the availability of fields and facilities. His dream was to have an outfield and modern facilities available to better develop the young cricketers.

Neil was not just a coach, but a mentor and he led by being disciplined and professional, a role model for his students. He, along with Alfred Bynoe, always stressed the importance of both academic and spiritual development. They were both understandably excited and proud to learn that a batch of their cricketers had passed their common entrance exams with flying colors and later on five of them had gone on to gain selection on the national under-15 cricket team.

We have not yet legally registered the name NCA and I am sure that the members of the Steering Committee, potential sponsors, parents and the local Cricket Association will have no problems altering slightly the name of this Academy to reflect and recognize the tremendous contribution of Neil Williams to cricket development.

On behalf of the boys, parents, guardians and fellow coaches of the National Cricket Academy, I offer condolences to the family and friends of this outstanding nation-builder. May he rest in peace.