BENSON — When Jimmy Williams was named head football coach at West Johnston High School, he felt like he’d found the leadership position he’d been looking for a few years.
Seventeen months after that move, Williams is taking over the leadership role of the entire Wildcat athletic program as athletic director and promising stability to the school’s athletic leadership.
“I’ve had to battle the perception that I would leave for another football job since I got here (in 2011) , because of the number of different football coaches they’ve had,” Williams said. “My plan is to retire at West Johnston. Being athletic director on top of football, I hope is another sign of long term stability here. We have great students here at West and we want to give them every opportunity to succeed.”
Williams is bringing 24 years of coaching experience with him to the new position, which includes head coaching positions in football, wrestling and track. He also served as an assistant athletic director in Wake County Public School System for six years.
Williams has been a teacher and coach at West Johnston since 2011. Previously, he was a successful head football coach at East Wake, winning two conference championships.
“Coach Williams has both the experience and the enthusiasm necessary for this position,” said principal Paula Coates, “and I am confident he will do a great job leading our athletic program.”
Williams will lead a program that has dealt with the opening of nearby Cleveland High School four years ago, which cut deeply into West’s previous attendance zone. The Wildcats are now battling size issues. They’re currently a 3A-sized school but will play three more years in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference.
“We’re going to work to give our student-athletes every opportunity to succeed in a challenging league,” he said. “It takes a lot of money to run a 4A athletic program and we get a lot of support from Johnston County Schools, but it’s still going to take contributions from the family of every student-athlete at West to help us become a great athletic program.”
Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest