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A career of firsts

Vincent Williams with fellow sports broadcaster courtside of a game.
Vincent Williams (centre) credits his NSCC work term experiences with CTV Atlantic and Rogers Sportsnet for forging the path to his career in sports broadcasting.

Athlete turned sports broadcaster, football official and African Nova Scotian student support worker, Vincent Williams (RTJ '15) uses his voice to empower youth and represent his roots.

Originally from Uniacke Square and a proud descendant of Africville, he’s making waves and history through his work in sports. For Vincent, it’s the larger impact that his representation as a Black male in sports broadcasting that’s most significant.

“I enjoy the most that I can be a positive role model and a mentor for young aspiring Black kids that want to be in spaces where they don’t usually see themselves being represented on the local, regional and national stage in Canada,” says Vincent.

An African Nova Scotian sports broadcaster speaking into a headset at a game.
Vincent had a passion for sports and storytelling from a young age.

Passing a football to pick-up a mic

In his youth Vincent was a standout athlete in basketball and football and went on to play football at Saint Mary’s University, and then professionally in the Arena Football League the United States. When an injury ended his football career early, he returned to Nova Scotia where he transitioned into officiating and later sports broadcasting.

“I always had a passion for storytelling and a passion to cover the news or sports,” says Vincent who attended NSCC while still officiating football.

Vincent credits his NSCC work term experiences with CTV Atlantic and Rogers Sportsnet for forging the path to his career. Before graduating, he secured a part-time job with CTV Atlantic as a broadcast associate and production assistant which led to being a reporter with the Bell Media entity.

“My NSCC experience and credentials are extremely valuable,” he explains. “I learned from some of the best instructors in their respected fields on the right way to perform the job, about professionalism and what is necessary to have a successful career in broadcasting.”

Today, Vincent is a play-by-play sports broadcaster with Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and U Sports.

Photo taken from behind the sidelines of an African Nova Scotian officiating a football game.
Vincent started officiating football in 2008 and was among nine participants selected for the Canadian Football League’s Officiating Academy in 2022.

Making history in and outside the arena

In 2021, Vincent became the first Black play-by-play announcer to cover the U Sports Men’s Hockey Championships at Acadia University. He has also been the first Black official for various major sports events.

“I transitioned my playing career to on-field football officiating in 2008, becoming the first Black Atlantic University Sport Football official in 2011. In 2014, I became the first Black football official to officiate in the Vanier Cup,” says Vincent.

“And in 2021, I became the first Black head referee to officiate the School Sport Nova Scotia - Division One Provincial Football final in Halifax.”

Last year, Vincent was among nine participants selected for the Canadian Football League’s Officiating Academy.

Supporting local youth

On top of his day job as an African Nova Scotian student support worker with HRCE, Vincent gives back to his community through supporting youth sports.

He coaches the boys' varsity basketball team at Woodlawn High School and is the flag football coach and assistant coach for track and field at Harold T. Barrett Junior High School. He's also a volunteer mentor with the Community YMCA in Halifax.

Vincent also recognizes the importance of representation and hopes he can be a positive role model through his work.

“Representation is tremendous as it can inspire youth that are not used to seeing themselves in spaces that they now can, and achieve dreams and goals that they once thought were not attainable,” he adds.