William Hollis - Speaker
William grew up in Pontiac, Michigan. His mother was a heroin addict and his father was a member of the bloods meaning he grew up with all the odds against him, including poverty, family addiction and crime. He also had a learning disability that left him unable to read until he was 16 years old. “Football saved my life and I began putting all my energy into the sport“. He played for five division two colleges amid arena football with the determination to play in the NFL. At the beginning of senior year in college his daughter was born. He had to leave college due to his child’s maternal grandmother getting into a car accident upon leaving the hospital.
His child’s mother had to take custody of her siblings and care for their newborn daughter. In his own words: “Football gave me a chance to learn what being a man was all about. It gave me an opportunity to escape the poverty and crime of Pontiac, Michigan. It taught me how to be a man and how to persevere through anything life throws at you. Most importantly it gave me a family and a brotherhood and a purpose, which was everything to me”.