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.

&#8220I'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 &#8220remains hopeful” to make a recommendation for a new head football coach and athletic director at Greenville by the January board meeting.

&#8220Coach Williams did an outstanding job for us as interim head football

coach,” Murphy said in a statement released to the Advocate. &#8220He 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.

&#8220It was something that I have missed,” Williams said. &#8220The 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.

&#8220I think the program has been left in great shape,” he said. &#8220The 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.

&#8220Part of the meeting yesterday was to encourage them to continue forward and stay focused,” Williams said. &#8220Coaching 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.”