Looney: Stability needed in next Greenville coach

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2006

With the announced departure of Mike Williams as head coach and athletic director at Greenville High, area coaches and Butler County administrators agree that the next coach at Greenville needs to bring some stability to the program.

The hiring of a new coach, possibly later this month, will mark the third head coach at Greenville in less than two years. Alvin Briggs resigned five weeks before the season started, and Williams was hired on an interim basis.

&#8220I think it's important that we look to create stability in that program,” Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney said. &#8220We need a stable force in a football coach there. So we'll be looking for coach that is talented and will bring stability. I'm confident that we'll find that.”

Williams resigned Friday to accept an assistant head coaching position at the University of Tennessee-Martin. It will mark Williams first year back in college coaching in almost six years when he served as head coach at Jacksonville State for two and a half seasons.

&#8220I'm proud for Mike,” Georgiana coach Greg Ennis said. &#8220I'm sure he'll do a great job up there. But I hate it for Butler County because we are losing one of the best coaches in the southeast.”

While Williams was only able to match the number of wins that his predecessor had in 2004, he was able to revive a program that had limited interest among the male students. Williams said in December that he had more than 60 eigthth-graders to sign up for football and 56 other players in grades 9-11.

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

coach,” Greenville Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy wrote in a statement to the Advocate. &#8220He brought much needed discipline and structure to our football program.”

Still the general perception of Greenville is the lack of stability within the football program as far as keeping a head football coach, according to Charles Henderson coach Hugh Fountain.

&#8220He knew what it takes to win, but he's gone and the school will have to start all over again,” Fountain said. &#8220And when you try to scout Greenville, it is a great unknown because you don't know what to expect from them one year to the next.”

But does the fact that there has been a spurt of turnover at Greenville make it a less desirable job among prospective coaches around the state?

Fountain said no.

&#8220I think that what makes Greenville appealing is that they have good athletes,” Fountain said. &#8220Every coach wants the opportunity to win, and you can do that at Greenville if you can get them working toward the same goals.

&#8220I don't think they will have a problem finding a new football coach. Butler County has always had good football. The tradition is rich there. It's a matter of reviving that tradition.”

Indeed winning is not something new for the Tiger football program, winning state titles in 1994 and '87. Greenville also played for the state title in 1993 and '84.