Tigers, Williams already a success

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

It was about 15 years ago today that Mike Williams prepared for what would be his last season as a high school football coach.

He was watching film and working on a practice plan in Andalusia, where he was entering his third season.

"I had two falls, two springs and three summer workouts with my players by then," Williams recalled.

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Now, 15 years later, Williams is back as a high school football coach in his hometown of Greenville. He hasn't had near the quality time with his new Tiger team as he did 15 years ago in Andalusia.

Williams hasn't been through spring drills or a full season with the Tigers. All Williams has had with his team is about a week during the summer to meet and greet his players before fall practice kicked off.

Williams came aboard less than five weeks before Friday's opening whistle. And it's been go, go, go for Williams, his coaching staff and his players since he arrived.

"Just sitting back and reflecting, it's amazing what have gotten accomplished in such a short amount of time," Williams said.

Driving by the high school on Saturday, I noticed one vehicle beside the gymnasium during the early afternoon. It was Williams' truck.

There is no doubting Williams' dedication.

It's not just a dedication he has to his job or to winning, either.

His dedication is to the young men and his assistant coaches, who have worked in less than favorable conditions, to try to resuscitate a football program that seemed close to flatlining.

Sure he's taken his lumps along the way, but he's dusted himself off and come back for more.

There aren't many coaches who would be crazy enough to take over a football program just four weeks before the season started.

But what Williams has done in just four weeks is light years better than what the program has endured in the last few years.

Williams may second-guess himself when the chips look to be down, but you would never know it.

He's taken on a job that not many would even bat an eye at, but he's pulled up his boot straps and taken this program on head first. He hasn't been alone either. His assistant coaches and the players have taken on this challenge with Williams.

"The coaches and players have had to be focused to catch on as fast as they have," he said. "I'm pretty impressed with how much we've gotten done in such a short amount of time."

Williams has met resistance along the way, but he's managed to bull his way through the hurdle s and walls.

Success as a football coach is typically measured in wins and losses.

No matter what the wins and the losses total for Greenville this year, it's already been a successful year for Williams, his coaching staff and the Tigers.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. E-mail kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.