At the West Bolivar School Board Meeting Thursday evening, former WBHS high school football standout and assistant coach Joac Williams was officially hired as head football coach of the Eagles. Williams took the position after previous coach Henry Johnson resigned to take the head football coaching position at Clarksdale High School.
Williams, 28, served as an assistant coach under Johnson from 2009-12, playing an instrumental role in the Eagles winning the 2A State Title in 2011. He was also the West Bolivar Middle School head football coach in 2012 as he guided the team to a 6-1 record with a Delta Valley Conference North Division Championship.
As a player, Williams played wide receiver, running back and defensive back at WBHS and was one of the Eagles’ key players as a senior in 2002 when they went 10-2 and advanced to the second round of the 3A State Playoffs. After high school, he played at Delta State from 2003-06 as a cornerback. After DSU, he was an assistant football coach at John F. Kennedy for one season before going back to West Bolivar to be an assistant coach.
Williams said the opportunity to be the coach at West Bolivar is a privilege.
“It’s kind of a surreal moment, kind of a dream come true for me,” Williams said. “To be back at home and be the head coach of a program that I once was a player of, I always dreamed of maybe one day having the opportunity and now it’s a reality. I’m very excited about the opportunity to coach back at home.”
Williams will have some big shoes to fill as Johnson, who also played high school football at WBHS, posted a an impressive 142-32 record with 10 region championships and two state titles in 13 seasons with the Eagles. In its history, West Bolivar has won five state championships and has made the Mississippi High School Activities Association State Football Playoffs 28 times.
Williams, a native of Beulah, has grown up knowing the overall tradition of the program and the passion of the people that support it.
“The community is great,” Williams said. “I’m just looking forward to continuing to keeping up and carrying on that tradition that coach Johnson and all the coaches before me started and established.”
One thing that West Bolivar football knows is defense. Over the last 10 years, the Eagles have played 138 games and have given up just 11.6 points per game during that stretch. From 2009-2011, West Bolivar yielded just 8.8 points per contest in 46 total games.
“I really want to stress having a great defense at Rosedale,” Williams said. “Defense wins you ball games. Over at Rosedale under coach Johnson, we won a lot of games. I want to carry on that tradition of playing tough defense.”
West Bolivar Athletic Director Willie Thomas said the overall athletics program has prospered from having former players come back to coach.
“We’ve always had success with that,” Thomas said. “We try to keep it the way we’ve been doing it and there’s no sense in messing it up. We’re just doing what we’ve been doing.”
Thomas said Williams’ overall personality and work ethic fit what the program needs to lead the way.
“The main thing is he’s a quality young man,” Thomas said. “We want to win, but we want to win and do things the right way. We’re going to build off of him. He played in the system. He was the defensive coordinator last year. He was the middle school coach for us and that’s a huge advantage, because he can bring those guys up.”