The Story Behind the Drew League Division Names: Sam Sullivan & Alvin Wills

By Lauren Jones,

The Drew League shows its gratitude to community leaders and supporters in many ways throughout the season. Some are honored at the Annual Drew League Foundation Gala event while others are simply mentioned weekly by George, the Official Announcer of the Drew. One unique platform the Drew League created to honor these remarkable individuals, who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the South Central Los Angeles community, is through the naming of the two Drew League Divisions. Drew League patron Hank Salvatori is amongst the esteemed group who has had this honor. This year two outstanding community members were given the same reverence, long-time coach at Fremont High School, Sam Sullivan, and founder of the Drew League, Alvin Wills.

Sam Sullivan Division

“Sam Sullivan put out legends like Dan Suttles, Casper Ware, Darryl Roper, Dwayne Allen, all of these guys were legendary high school and All-City players from Fremont High School. They all came under the great Sam Sullivan and he’s still there today, 36 years later. It’s important because he is a living testament to the power of a community leader. He provides stability and he has a face that’s known all over. We [the Drew League] just honored him this past July at the Drew League Foundation Gala dinner.” – Dino Smiley

Alvin Wills Division

“If it was not for him, none of this would be possible. He was not only the founder, he was also the junior high school coach at Drew Middle School where I played, my brother [William Smiley] played, Casper Ware Sr. played, [Drew League] referee Mike Houston played, Mike McCaa, the Chief Financial Officer of the Drew League Foundation played, and a ton of ball players who came through Drew all played under Alvin Wills.” – Dino Smiley

Lauren Jones is entering her senior year at USC majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Media Studies. This is her second summer interning for the Drew League. Her career aspirations are to work as an esteemed sports journalist and eventually as a consultant for athletes in financial literacy, public relations and brand management. Her past experiences include interning for Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers, BET Network, EAG Sports Management, and Nike EYBL.