Coach’s Corner: Getting to Know Coach Larry Williams
By Amanda Lowrance
From the Sunshine State of Florida, Coach Larry Williams of Selmer Lions Football has found a home in McNairy County.
“It’s definitely got that small town homey kind of feeling,” said Larry Williams. “There are a lot of wonderful people in the community that I have met that have made my time here a wonderful experience.”
Brought up near the beach and the palm trees by his mother, Barbara Williams, Larry was the oldest son of four children.
Even though Larry still lives in Jackson after transferring from Jackson Central Merry High School, he makes the 40-minute drive every day to Selmer, to the job he loves, stating, “If you love what you do, then it’s not work.”
“Growing up, I wasn’t a very athletic person,” said Williams. “I was in the seventh grade, and I had a couple of my buddies trying out for the basketball team.”
“I didn’t make the first cut, which was kind of sad.” Williams went to the coach and asked what he could do to improve and make the team the following year. “And I made the team.”
“My mother really didn’t want me to play football.” Williams’ 9th grade football coach met and talked with his mother. “I don’t know what he said or what was talked about, but she said I could play.”
Williams moved up to Sebastian River High School, in Florida. “When I was in high school I was kind of an average player. I played with a team full of athletes.”
After encouragement from SRHS Coach Randy Bethel and Coach Smith, Williams signed a letter of intent to play at Lambuth University.
“They saw something in me that I didn’t,” said Williams. “Coaches like that are neat. Not so much as like, going undefeated or winning trophies, but showing players the potential that sometimes they don’t see in themselves.”
In 2006, he graduated from Lambuth University with a degree in Sports Management and History. Later, Williams attended grad school at Lindenwood University where he received a master’s in Educational Administration.
Coach Williams accepted the job at Selmer almost a year ago. He has spent every spare moment trying to influence the lives of children by volunteering and working as an umpire at Dixie Youth baseball games and refereeing at basketball camp.
“You need to dive deep into the community,” said Williams.
“I like to count my days at the YMCA as part of my coaching history, because it helped build me.” Jackson Central Merry High School landed him his first coaching job.
From there Williams helped out with many summer teams in the offseason from football and track at JCM. Selmer Middle School hooked Larry in after two years in Jackson.
The transition from high school to middle school has been a key highlight in the decision to come to Selmer.
“A lot of people in the community have made it worthwhile,” said Williams, “and seeing these kids progress step by step.”
“It’s good to see these kids with hard-working attitudes want to get better. No matter what I asked of them, they took it and ran with it.”
Several players started out at a young age and moved on from Williams’ instructions to play on the collegiate level.
Namely, Darius Lynwood played football for Tennessee State University, but now runs track for the University of Memphis. Darius Person plays at Bethel University as quarterback of the football team.
“I tell my players to have that farming attitude. If you want to eat you got to reap and harvest.”