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Williams leaves Paxton for Tennessee

July 27, 2015
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Citing family reasons, Steve Williams resigned Monday as the Paxton girls basketball coach, softball coach and athletic director and will return home to Tennessee to coach for Rhea County’s girls basketball team.

“In my gut and heart,” said Williams, the anguish thick in his voice, “it wasn’t the best thing to do, but the right thing to do.”

“We love Paxton and this is where we want to be. But my wife’s parents and my dad are all in their mid-70s, and my father-in-law recently had open-heart surgery. We started the conversation in mid-April and decided it was just something that needed to be done.”

Over the past six years, Williams built a rich legacy for a program steeped in tradition and state titles.

His 30-year girls basketball résumé featured 417 wins, five district titles, two region crowns and a 1A state championship with his daughter, Quinn, in 2014. In his swan song, the defending champs went 21-8 and advanced to their second straight final four appearance, which ended with a loss to eventual champion Freeport.

“I’m ecstatic about what’s been accomplished,” he said. “We’ve had great support from a great community.”

Williams has no doubt the winning tradition, established long before he came to Paxton in 2009, will continue in his absence.

“I told the team, the name on the jersey is ‘Paxton’ not ‘Williams,’ ” he said.

The 53-year-old’s next stop, the eighth of his career, will be in Evansville, Tenn.

“It was more about the location — it’s about 45 minutes from my dad, and an hour and 15 minutes from my in-laws,” said Williams, who won’t carry his athletic director title with him.

Williams, whose “blood runs orange” and has a cellphone ring tone of “Rocky Top,” has already gotten the ball rolling on summer camps for his new program, but his family will stay behind so his eldest son, Connor, can complete his senior year as a Bobcat.

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