First recipient of Raymond Jeffress Scholarship receives master’s degree

In the summer of 2018, Clay Williams of Jonesboro became the first person to receive the Raymond Jeffress Scholarship Award. After completing his undergraduate work at Louisiana Tech, this past week he received his master’s degree in Sports Administration from Arkansas State University.

Raymond “Doc” Jeffress was an iconic journalist who covered sports while working for the now-defunct Jackson Independent for over 77 years. He was a tremendously accomplished writer, publishing over a thousand Doc’s Diagnosis columns and even authored a book entitled Six Decades of Jonesboro-Hodge Sports. He was heavily involved in countless civic clubs and activities, served on the Jonesboro United Methodist Church Council for 55 years, and was a charter member of the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame.

One of his greatest joys though was teaching a young person the art of sports journalism. Nothing filled him with pride like seeing someone show an interest in the field that he dearly loved and had dedicated his life to.

Through his tutelage, scads of local youth learned the art of sports writing, with many ending up making it a career including Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) Hall of Fame members, Dan McDonald, and Doug Ireland.

Following Doc’s passing in January of 2018, a fund was started so that a scholarship in his honor could be awarded continuing his legacy of helping young people pursue a career in sports journalism or a sports-related field. The criteria were that the applicant would be a graduate of a Jackson Parish High School, pursuing a degree in a sports-related field and be civic-minded. 

Williams, the son of Steve and the late Paula (Jones) Williams, was the first recipient and now is the latest to be a “Doc’s Disciple.”

“I realized during my junior year of high school that my dream was different from seemingly everyone else’s in my family, and I wasn’t going to be a teacher or a nurse,” commented Williams. “My life has revolved around sports for as long as I can remember, so why not make it my career? Very excited to see where the future takes me!”

“Doc” would be proud!


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