New coach takes over girls varsity basketball team

BUILDING A STRONGER TEAM. Stephen Williams, center , oversees girls basketball team tryouts. Williams took over coaching the varsity team this school year.

Meredith Mooney

BUILDING A STRONGER TEAM. Stephen Williams, center , oversees girls basketball team tryouts. Williams took over coaching the varsity team this school year.

JaKyla Chambers, Staff Writer

The basketball team is in the middle of a match, playing hard for a win. As they make another shot, they look to the sidelines and realize that there is a new coach cheering them on: Stephen Williams.

Williams was a Sevier teacher several years ago before he decided to move to another school system and become an administrator. Last year, he returned to Sevier as a seventh grade science teacher.

During his first turn at Sevier, Williams coached the boys’ junior varsity basketball team and the junior varsity baseball team.

“I loved it,” Williams said. “The interaction is fun with the student athletes.”

Williams enjoys basketball and was excited for the opportunity of becoming the girls’ varsity basketball coach

“This seemed like a very good opportunity,” he said. “It’s fun forming new relationships with our student athletes,” Williams said.

As the new coach, Williams had to go through the try-out process and choose his players. This can be a difficult process.

“I look for good attitude and being a good teammate,” Williams said. “I also look for hustle and good fundamental skills. Traits of a good middle school athlete are a willingness to have a good attitude and to work outside of practice to get better.”

Growing up, Williams played both basketball and football. He loved being in these sports because it gave him a chance to be a part of something outside of the classroom.

He learned a lot from his time as a student athlete, and hopes his players will, too.

“I hope my athletes will learn what good character is more than anything, and to work hard for each other,” he said. “I have been trying to teach unselfishness, morality and integrity as much as I have been trying to teach basketball.”

Williams believes that basketball is a lot of fun because it is very fast paced.

“So many things are happening at once,” he said. “It makes things fun to watch and to try to make adjustments during those games.”

For Williams, it can be difficult to juggle coaching and teaching. The demands for teaching are very high, and it can be hard to manage both. Still, he believes coaching is worth the extra effort.

“My best experience this year has been just getting to know the girls and watch how they react to certain challenges and overcoming those challenges,” Williams said. “Watching them grow over the course of the season mentally is great, as well.”

Communication is a huge part of building a strong team.

“We split time each practice working with position players and JV/Varsity,” Williams said. “We run the same plays and our communication is great. That is the key to building successful programs.”

His hope for the basketball team this year is for the ladies to continually grow and get better each day.

“My hope is that they work for each other and are unselfish in everything they do,” he said. “If all those things fall into place, we will win games. We have started strong. I hope we can keep that up.”

As a coach, Williams likes to pay attention to details.

“I feel like that is the only way players get better,” he said. “We teach fundamentals mostly in practice and spend very little time scrimmaging. We try to break as many things as possible and work on that.”

Williams has some advice for girls who hope to join his team in the future.

“Have a good attitude and [remember] that school comes first,” he said. “You must succeed in the classroom to play sports. Also, be unselfish and work for each other. Practicing throughout the year also lets me know what kind of dedication you have to the sport.”