Greenville High loses Williams
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2006
Just a few weeks before Greenville High Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy was to make a recommendation to the Butler County Board of Education to retain Mike Williams as head football coach and athletic director, Williams tendered his resignation Friday morning.
After leading Greenville to a 1-9 season in his return to high school coaching for the first time in almost 20 years, Williams said Friday that he has accepted a coaching position at Division I-AA University of Tennessee-Martin.
Williams will serve as assistant head football coach in charge of running backs and special teams under newly hired head football coach Jason Simpson.
Williams returns to the college ranks almost six years after serving as head football coach at Jacksonville State for two and a half seasons. Ironically, Williams will have the opportunity to coach against his former team, which is now within the same conference (Ohio Valley) as UT-Martin.
“I'm sure I'll get a standing ovation when I return there,” he joked.
Before coming to Jacksonville State, Williams served as an assistant for six years at Southern Mississippi.
Even after Williams submitted his resignation less than two weeks before the Butler County Board of Education's scheduled meeting,
Murphy said that she “remains hopeful” to make a recommendation for a new head football coach and athletic director at Greenville by the January board meeting.
“Coach Williams did an outstanding job for us as interim head football
coach,” Murphy said in a statement released to the Advocate. “He brought much needed discipline and structure to our football program. Mike Williams is a man of integrity, and I wish him the best as he moves to a new position.”
Williams said his decision was based strictly on the fact that he wanted to get back into coaching at the collegiate level.
“It was something that I have missed,” Williams said. “The challenge of college football is much greater, and I enjoy those challenges.”
Williams said he's feels that he's leaving the Greenville football program in much better shape than when he took on the job on an interim basis just five weeks before the season started.
“I think the program has been left in great shape,” he said. “The kids have responded positively to what we've been trying to accomplish, and I believe they will continue to do that.”
Williams said that assistant coaches Matt Coghlan and David Hartman will continue to work with the players during morning and afternoon sessions of weight training until a new football coach is hired.
Williams met with his players and the coaches Thursday afternoon to deliver the news before submitting his resignation Friday morning.
“Part of the meeting yesterday was to encourage them to continue forward and stay focused,” Williams said. “Coaching is a big part of the program, but the program is going to be successful because of the players. I wanted them to be aware that every day they miss, that there's a Rehobeth or somebody getting a step ahead of them.”