Graceville high school honoring former athlete killed earlier this year

carla williams web
carla williams web(WJHG)
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:51 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Graceville high school remembered the late Carla Williams Thursday night. Before Thursday night’s game, the school retired her basketball jersey, number 35.

“Carla was just that special even though she is gone you know her life of legacy still lives in us we still miss her we still think about her,” said William Hayes.

Williams, a star athlete for Graceville high, led her team to a state championship in 1992, then took her talents to Pensacola state college and Florida state.

Her coach at Graceville, William Hayes says she was always joyful and full of love.

“She was our captain she was our leading scorer she was a gentle giant but when she got on the court and laced up her tennis shoes, she was a tiger at heart from the time it starts till it ends she going to give you 110 percent,” said Coach Williams.

Last May, Williams was shot and killed while working out at a gym in Pensacola. An ex-boyfriend was charged in the case. She was also working as an assistant professor at Pensacola state.

Those who knew her best say she inspired her high school teammates to play college ball as well.

“She really inspired me to go to play college basketball when I saw that she was going off and coaches were looking at her I was like I can do that as well,” said Terlynn Olds.

She also coached basketball, taught math, and mentored students at Pensacola state.

Williams’ family attended Thursday night’s ceremony, including her younger brother.

“Where can I start Carla was definitely the life of the family, she was probably the best athlete in the family and I think that her track record shows that she was a great person who wouldn’t hurt a fly or whatever would do anything to help anybody,” said Ben Williams.

And former teammates remembered their playing days.

“Carla she was such a gentle soul very patient calm one of my biggest memories was when we played Mcclain and it was a very tough game in Tallahassee coach called a time out and she looked at me and she said you have to rebound the ball and I said I will,” said Olds.

A legacy on the court, but more importantly a lasting legacy with those who knew her the best.

“Her motto and what we consider calling it a legacy of love because that’s what she gave everyone else she wasn’t bitter she wasn’t mean towards people,” said Williams.

At Pensacola state college she was selected to the all-conference and all-region teams both years. She then went on to Florida State where she excelled as well.