Williams Guest Stars on Fishing Show
By: Lindsey Mitchell,
September 27, 2011

If people saw Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams and Americas Favorite Fisherman Jimmy Houston standing side by side, they probably wouldnt see too many similarities between the two. Houston stands about 5-foot-7 with blonde hair, dressed head-to-toe in fishing gear, while Williams, at 6-8, sports basketball shorts and a pair of Jordans.

Fishing with Jimmy was a dream come true I was surprised at how much we had in common, Williams said. We talked about our families, we talked about trying to hook up again, we talked about sports; he knows more about sports than I expected. He was talking about defenses and strategies and he knew what he was talking about.

On Sept. 13, Williams spent the day in Venice, La. fishing and filming for Jimmy Houston Outdoors which will air in the beginning of 2012 on the Versus network. With the day starting at the Venice Fishing Lodge, Houston and Williams headed out with lodge owner Billy Nicholas and OT Fears. Fears and Houstons relationship goes back to grade school and theyve spent decades fishing together. Although their relationship doesnt go back as far, Williams has been a Houston fan since he was a kid.

Ive been watching him fish since I was probably 12 years old, Williams said. I watched a bunch of different shows and fisherman Roland Martin and Jerry McGinnis, but my favorite was Jimmy Houston. He was always so jovial and hes a man of faith. I bought one of his books and read that and he seemed like the kind of cat I wanted to hang out with. Lo and behold, I come to Louisiana and I get to spend a day with him on the water. Its one of the coolest things Ive done outside of family and basketball. Its in the top 10 for sure.

Since moving to Louisiana, Williams has spent a lot of weekends fishing in Lafitte and Port Fourchon his favorite fishing spot hes found in Louisiana. The trip with Houston was Williams first to Venice, where they spent time near Jackings Island and an area called the Wagons Wheel.

Louisiana has great fishing, Houston said. The Venice area is one of the best fishing areas in the country. Its a tremendous area. The great thing about fishing in Venice is that its one of those unique places where you can catch large-mouth bass and saltwater fish in the same place. They call Louisiana Sportsmans Paradise because of the fishing and hunting and I truly believe its just that.

Williams shares the same sentiments. After living in Portland for five years, Williams was taken by Louisiana when he learned about the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Fishing has been an added bonus to moving to New Orleans for work. I didnt know that there was Skeet shooting, hunting or just a combination of all of the above, along with the fishing, he said. I was so excited when I got here and saw the amount of activity that you could do outside. Ive fished a lot in Texas and Florida, but Louisiana has the best fishing by far of any place that Ive ever been.

All his practice and fishing experience paid off as Houston was complimentary of his skills.

I was impressed with his fishing knowledge and skills. I figured if he liked to fish and he grew up fishing, hed be pretty good. Its a little bit like free throws if you keep practicing and you like to do it, youll get better unless youre Shaq! Houston said. A lot of the places we were fishing, we were making some difficult casts. He barely got hung up and did really well. The other thing I thought was pretty cool was that he hung in there all day. That was about an 11-hour day and he never complained, never quit, just kept on fishing. There are a lot of people that wouldnt do that.

In addition to talking fishing, Williams and Houston talked sports. Houston has had the opportunity to fish with a number of professional athletes, including former baseball stars Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr., Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, former NFL player and 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, former NASCAR driver Bobby Allison and the late PGA champion Payne Stewart. Houston teamed up with Allison to win a fishing tournament and he was a winner again when he played a Pro-Am golf tournament in 1993 with Stewart.

Im a big sports fan and I like watching all different sports. Obviously, we follow the Hornets pretty closely in Oklahoma since they were up here for a couple of seasons, Houston said. Im a Laker fan, as well, and Ive followed them since the Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar days. Weve been really fortunate, with the show, to go fishing with a lot of athletes and become friends with them.

One former NBA player holds a special place in Houstons heart Wayman Tisdale. Tisdale and Houston started fishing together when he was playing basketball at the University of Oklahoma. Their relationship grew to a friendship and the two spent a lot of time fishing together before Tisdale passed away in May of 2009. Houston stays in touch with Tisdales wife, Regina, and his kids.

Coach and I talked about Wayman Tisdale during the day because he was a good friend of mine, Houston said. His wife comes down and visits and his son Brandon and I go fishing about once a year. He was a great friend and I really admired the way he played basketball.

Throughout the day, Houston saw some similarities between Williams and Tisdale.

After we fished, I called my wife and said, Monty reminds me so much of Wayman with his magnetic smile, his values and his principals, Houston said. At 40 years old, hes a young NBA coach. Hes got a chance to create quite a legacy and I think if hes got the right players, hell really be able to do that.

In addition to their values and faith-based lives, Williams and Houston spent time talking about their families and wives. Houston and his wife, Chris, have been married for 47 years. They met in high school and were married during their sophomore year of college. Chris is one of Americas top female bass anglers and has won seven Bass-N-Gal Angler of the Year awards. The Houstons have a son and a daughter. Williams met his wife Ingrid in college, have been married 16 years and have five children.

I think that in this day in time, you talk about being married 20 or 30 or 40 years and in my case, 47 years to the same woman and people applaud you like youve won something, Houston said with a laugh. It does speak of a persons values and commitment when that happens. Its difficult for marriages to work this day in time. I wasnt really surprised that he was that kind of individual because of what I read.

Houston also is a firm believer in the values that come from being active in the outdoors, especially with family members.

If youre involved with people in the outdoors and he talked about fishing with his uncle when he was a kid those kinds of people develop a little bit different set of moral and ethical values that a lot of people dont have, Houston said. In the outdoors, youre in real life. If its a buddy or an uncle that takes you fishing, they teach you those morals and lessons and in a lot of sports, you might not get that. Im a big sports nut, and I love all sports and have played a lot of them, and they teach certain values and lessons, but theyre not the same as the ones you learn in the outdoors and on the water.

Throughout the day, Houston had countless stories to tell. As they plan to reconnect at Houstons Oklahoma ranch in the future, Houston has one particular story hell share from his day with Williams.

The story Ill tell from this trip will be mostly about what kind of an individual Monty is, Houston said. Toward the end of the day, we were talking about the book that he and his wife wrote, Look Again 52, and he told me they wanted to just give them away. He wants to have an impact on peoples lives and wants to provide hope through the book that they wrote. That means a lot. The other thing I cant leave out how much he really loves to fish!

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