Michael Williams is now just like his father and uncle - a head basketball coach at a Georgia high school.
The 25-year-old former Monticello basketball star seemed destined to fulfill such a role someday since coaching basketball runs in his family. His father, Johnny Williams, coaches the boys' varsity basketball team at Jones County High School, while his twin brother, Jack Williams, serves as head boys' basketball coach at Monticello High School.
Now it's time for the younger Coach Williams to begin setting his mark on the Georgia basketball scene. He recently was hired to become the new head girls' varsity basketball coach at Thomson High School.
"When I applied at Thomson High School, I had two other job offers, too," said Coach Williams during an interview in his office last Thursday. The other two job opportunities included taking over boys' basketball programs. He opted, instead, to accept the job at Thomson High School, coaching a girls' program that has been struggling for several years.
Ironically, on the same day that Coach Williams was interviewed for the position at Thomson High, he was hired.
It all began with a telephone call that he received from Principal Rudy Falana's secretary, Mary McClendon. She wanted to know whether he could come in for an interview.
He was interviewed for the position by Mr. Falana, Lynn Cato, an assistant principal and a parent. Afterwards, he drove to the Central Office of the McDuffie County Board of Education and met with Superintendent Mark Petersen. Minutes later, he received another call asking him to return to Thomson High. It was then that he was offered the job at THS.
Coach Williams replaces Eric Rogers who guided the Lady Bulldogs for four years. Mr. Rogers will be teaching at a Columbia County middle school when school resumes following the summer break.
As for Coach Williams, he's already on the job. He has been busy working with the Lady Bulldogs in a summer program.
"I'm hoping this is going to help them when our season begins," said Coach Williams, a Baldwin County native, who will teach math at THS, aside from his coaching responsibilities.
One of the biggest challenges facing Coach Williams is how to get his team consistent on the basketball court. "Repetition is the only way I know how to get them consistent, which is what we're working on," said Coach Williams. "It's going to take a lot of work on my part and on their part, but I think we can get there."
In observing his team during summer games, he said the team lacks the ability to finish a game in the same manner they started the game.
"I want us to play a complete game," said Coach Williams. "I want us to play every minute of a game. I don't want us to slack off."
He feels that if the players listen to him, they could see a dramatic difference in the win-loss column when regular season comes around.
Coach Williams said he currently is emphasizing to his players the importance of being prepared, being intense and believing.
"We've got to do those things in order to be successful," said Coach Williams, who earned a middle schools education degree from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.