Williams to lead SHS football

Published 1:33 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Delta State coordinator will take over in January

After sifting through 60 applications from people interested in becoming head football coach at Straughn, the Covington County Board of Education on Tuesday hired Joel Melvin Williams.

Williams has served as the offensive coordinator at Delta State University since 2013, but will begin coaching at SHS in January. He is a native of Marietta, Ga.

Covington County Superintendent Shannon Driver said that he is excited to bring Williams to SHS.

“Mr. Powell has interviewed quite a few people,” Driver said. “And I think that 25 of those 60 were current or former head coaches, so there was a lot of good interest in this job and I feel really good about this selection.”

SHS Principal Donny Powell said that one of the things that stood out the most when he interviewed Williams was his high energy.

“We were talking and he was almost coming up out of his chair because he was so excited about being at Straughn High School,” Powell said. “So I was really impressed with just the excitement that he had about just being at Straughn and getting our program on the right track.”

Driver said that he is excited because Williams has a lot of experience at the high school and college level.

“I know that he has been all over the coaching world, being a college coach and high school coach,” Driver said. “So we are excited about that experience that he will bring to our football program. We are looking for good things and we wish him well.”

SHS head coach John Higgins stepped down on Sept. 17, but remained at the school as a teacher and athletic director. Assistant coaches Michael Smith and Jarrod Wooten took over for the remainder of the season. 

Board member Jeff Bailey said that he researched on the new coach’s record and he is excited to see what he can do.

“I looked back at Coach Williams’ record and he has been pretty successful everywhere he has been,” Bailey said. “So we look forward for that success to continue here at Straughn.”

Williams said that being at Straughn fits his goals.

“I was really, really looking for the spot where I wanted to return to high school football,” Williams said. “I’ve been really blessed in my career and have done everything that I wanted to do in the upper levels.”

Williams said that he was looking for that one school that was in a town setting.

“I just wanted everything to be in a town setting,” Williams said. “Where you have your high school, middle school and elementary school all right there. When we drove up and saw Straughn, I said out loud, ‘Yep, that is the picture that I had in my mind of where I want to be.’ I’m just coming back to my roots.”

Williams’ career stops in Alabama include Foley High School, Birmingham Southern College, Gadsden High School, Samford University, Mountain Brook High School, UMS Wright (head coach from 1994-96), Birmingham Fire, and T.R. Miller High School (head coach, 1987-89).

Along the way, in the 2005-06 seasons, as offensive coordinator at Foley High School, he coached University of Alabama All-American and current Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

He and his wife, Martha, have one son, Garrison, who plays for coach Ron Roberts at Southeastern Louisiana University.