Geneseo mourns loss of student athlete

Freshman guard Savannah Williams lost her life in a fatal car accident on Dec. 20. Williams’ positive energy and dedicated team work will live on through the Geneseo basketball program.

Eighteen-year-old Savannah Williams passed away on Dec. 20 in a fatal car accident on the corner of Court Street and Route 63. Despite having only completed her first semester at Geneseo, Williams had made herself at home, and she excelled both in the classroom and on the basketball court. 

As both a biochemistry major and varsity athlete, Williams displayed an inspiring work ethic for her fellow teammates to follow. 

“In my opinion, it takes a special person to be willing to take on such a challenging field,” head coach Scott Hemer said. “She was very focused as a student and always placed her classes at the top of her priorities. As much as she loved basketball, her studies always came first.” 

Though she had just begun her college career, Hemer noted that Williams had expressed an interest in traveling the world, particularly to third world countries where she could aid in the medical field. 

Williams demonstrated these generous and selfless qualities wherever she went. Senior guard Kara Houppert said that she immediately recognized Williams as a leader and a hard worker. 

“Savannah was a team player and this quality is reflective of who she was as a person,” Houppert said. 

Regardless of what it was, Williams showed enthusiasm and determination. Williams made sure to be heard and to show how much she cared about everything that she was a part of. 

“She put the team first and this showed in her attitude on and off the court,” Houppert said. 

Williams’ positive mentality was beneficial to her teammates, and the women certainly appreciate her contribution to the team both athletically and mentally. 

Hemer expressed similar views as he spoke of how much of an impact Williams had on the program. 

“Every so often, we are blessed to have young women join our program who embrace being on the team despite not having a significant role on the court,” he said. “With that said, she loved being a part of the group and made the most out of her opportunity every day, either by improving her own skills or helping to make others around her better. It’s something that is easier said than done and yet she made a point to make a difference each day on her teammates.” 

Williams’ positivity is what any coach and team member looks for in a player. She was someone that the Knights were proud to have within their community. 

While Williams possessed these unique and positive qualities, there was also something else that made her a special member of the women’s basketball team: her smile. 

“She was never afraid to ask questions and was one of the first people to share her thoughts on practice or a game, of course with a smile on her face,” Houppert said.  

Not only did Williams’ teammates notice and appreciate her smile, but her coaches did, as well. Hemer said how this was one of the first characteristics that he noticed about her and that it is a quality that is still present with the team. 

“I’ve been coaching basketball at the collegiate level for over 15 years and I have never had a walk-on player who was more excited just to be selected for our team,” Hemer said. “Her smile when I told her she made the team could have lit up a room. That smile became contagious for everyone around her and is still what fuels our team’s success this season—her smile has been what our players focus on every time they come into the gym and it’s what they rally around for each game.”

Though her time as a Knight may have been short, Williams and her beautiful smile will forever remain with the Geneseo women’s basketball program.