Former players reunite with coach as colleagues

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 13, 2005

When Mike Williams took on the job as interim head football coach at Greenville, he said that he was anxious over the job.

He had been out of high school coaching for almost 15 years, but he was returning to coach his hometown team.

While most new coaches have to get acquainted with a new staff wherever they go, Williams was greeted by some familiar faces.

Matt Coghlan and Joey Hamilton are former players for Williams while he was at the University of Southern Mississippi and Jacksonville State University.

"It did put me in a comfort zone because I knew and worked with both of these young men in college," Williams said. "I knew what kind of people they were and I was confident that they would understand what I'm trying to do here."

Coghlan did not work directly with Williams while he was there, but Coghlan said that you knew when Williams was near.

"He made his presence known," said Coghlan, who was a tight end for the Golden Eagles in 1993-95. "He worked with the running backs, and they usually were the last ones off the field each day and the last ones to finish up team meetings each night."

Coghlan said Williams has not changed since his days of playing in Hattiesburg, Miss.

"He's a hard worker and leader by example," Coghlan said. "That's the way he was in 1993, 4 and 5 and that's the way he is in 2005."

While the two didn't work directly with each other at Southern Miss, Coghlan now is working closer with Williams at Greenville.

Williams continues to work with running backs and the offense, while Coghlan has become the team's defensive coordinator.

Coghlan said that he was relieved to find out that Williams would be the next coach at Greenville.

"I feel like I don't have to tip toe around to get a read on a guy that I've never met," he said. "I know what (Williams) is all about and what he wants to accomplish here."

Hamilton and Williams have a closer bond.

Hamilton was a star wide receiver at Jacksonville State while Williams was head coach of the Gamecocks from 1996-99.

"He was a great one," Williams said. "He was one of our go-to guys."

The two continue to work side by side. Hamilton and Williams are joint offensive coordinators for the Tigers.

"I know the intestinal fortitude they both have, and they know I will not accept mediocrity."