Dentist was successful student-athlete at NAHS, USC

Dr. Charles Anthony Williams, known to some via his dental practice in North Augusta, grew up one of 14 children in a house that was located on the present-day River Golf Club.

At North Augusta High School, en route to success as a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina, he played football, basketball, baseball and track.

Serving as a catcher in the Yellow Jackets' baseball program, he sometimes rode a horse to Lions Field to practice, tied it up on a fence post and rode back home when he was done. His father passed away early in his life and Williams once hit a home run at Lions Field that landed in the cemetery next door. The ball stopped on his father's grave, he felt as a personal tribute to the man known to some as "Blackhorse."

Voted "Most Ambitious" as a sophomore, Williams was a halfback of the Jacket football team that went 11-0, 11-0, 7-0-3 and 9-1-1, giving him a 38-1-4 record as a player. He played point guard for coach Jim Buist on the basketball team and participated in track & field for coach Cally Gault in the mile, 440 yards, discus, shot-put and javelin. On graduation night at North Augusta High School in the hall after the ceremony, he signed a scholarship to South Carolina to play football.

In Columbia, he played football and baseball, plus one year of basketball as a freshman. "We had a guy with size 21 shoes, and I couldn't jump as high as his shoes so that ended my college basketball career," Williams recalled.

He earned the name "Steelball" as a Gamecock for his knack at breaking football helmets, 17 in all. Most were the protective straps inside the helmet but two of them were the helmets themselves.

Excelling at baseball for the Gamecocks, he served as a catcher, being among the leading hitters in the ACC during his career. He was also a good student and planned on attending dental school upon graduation at the University of Virginia until a coach intervened and he was accepted at the University of Tennessee. Upon completion of dental school, he entered the Air Force and remained there until 1969 when he returned to North Augusta to open his practice, on Metz Drive.

He remains in business after 44 years on the job. Williams has five children and 10 grandchildren, living with his wife, Karen, on a small farm in Beech Island.