|Gallatin's Williams 'excited, anxious' to make debut|
|Thursday, August 16, 2012|
Mark Williams begins a new era at Gallatin High Friday night as he steps onto the field for his first game as the Green Wave’s head coach.
And fittingly, he will be doing it on a night where there will be a lot going on with Gallatin High head coaches as the 2012 TSSAA football season kicks off.
One will be down the road at Pope John Paul II, as former Green Wave coach and Gallatin graduate Jerry Joslin leads JPII on to the field as its new head coach. Fellow GHS alum, Robert Lassiter, the coach Williams takes over for, is still on staff as an assistant. And legendary coach Calvin Short will be honored 20 minutes prior to kickoff as the field is dedicated in his honor.
Short coached 17 years at Gallatin, won three state titles, had three more teams in the title game and posted 205 wins while leading the Green Wave. Joslin won 35 games and appeared in the playoffs all five seasons. Lassiter recorded 102 wins and playoff appearances in 12 of his 13 years at the helm and two quarterfinal berths.
Now it is Williams’ turn.
He has paid his dues as a longtime assistant — 12 years, including seven as an offensive coordinator. That is the role he returned to Gallatin for last season and one year later, he will put on the headset as a head coach for the first time.
“I’m excited and I’m ready for it,” Williams said. “It’s not much different than in the past. You always look forward to that first game. Being a first year head coach I’m read to get the lights on and know the kids are ready. I’m anxious and excited to get going.”
He previously served on Lassiter’s staff for the 2002-04 seasons, was at Blackman for the 2005-07 seasons and Smyrna for the 2008-10 seasons, including a run to the Class 6A title game in 2010, before returning to Gallatin last season.
Fittingly again, the field that will be dedicated tonight is the last field Williams has actually coached on — literally on. Since leaving in 2004, Williams has done all his coaching on Friday nights from the press box.
“I liked being in the box,” he said. “I could see everything. I could see our kids, see who’s not on, see who’s in the huddle and make adjustments.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love being down on the field, I do; I just think there’s something you miss being in the box. You miss the closeness to it. You miss the smell of it and all that stuff, that’s something I’m going to enjoy getting back to this year.”
His coordinators Daniel Childs (offense) and Chase Brooks (defense) will be in the box. And Williams admits it will be interesting being on the other end of the headset. But it won’t be something new as preparation is in the details and the Green Wave coaching staff practice coaching scenarios just as their players would.
“We kind of practice it,” Williams said. “We’ll go through a dress rehearsal at times. We’ll get the headsets and use the headsets out here one day and practice. We actually sit down and talk about situations. We practice it just like the kids practice the game so when we go out there it’s not shocking or spur of the moment. I believe as you coach more games it becomes old hat to you because you’ve been in those situations, but something new comes along every year.”
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor
Photo by Daniel Burton l THE GALLATIN NEWS