“I really think it’s a good fit for both,” Williams said this week. “It’s a good fit for me and it’s a good fit for the program. It just feels right.”
Williams brings 27 years of coaching experience to the Abingdon program, the last 10 at Burton.
Over the past decade, Williams guided the Raiders to a 149-101 record — including a 22-8 mark this season that included a co-Cumberland District championship, a Region 1D championship and a state semifinal appearance.
Williams also coached Burton to a state semifinal appearance in 2013, which oddly was one of only two losing seasons for the Raiders in his time at the school.
He has a record of 426-212 for his career, which also has included stops at Castlewood, in Tennessee and in his home state of Indiana.
Williams — who replaces Casey Johnson, who resigned earlier this year — is very familiar with the Mountain 7 District and the competition the Falcons will face.
“Abingdon is (Class 3) and everyone else is (Class 2) but it’s a very tough district with a lot of good teams. And then when you go to region (3D) it’s also tough. It’s really a challenge,” Williams said. “It’s going to be fun.”
It’s still a few months from the kickoff for high school football season in Southwest Virginia. However, all the schools in the region have their schedules completed heading into the first year of the two-year contract cycle.
There aren’t a lot of changes from the past couple of years, though still enough to make it interesting.
Ridgeview will play J.I. Burton for the first time this fall, a game that opens the season on a Thursday night prior to the traditional Friday kickoff on Aug. 29. Union vs. Burton had occupied that Thursday slot the past four seasons, but the schools located 15 miles apart did not renew their game for this season.
Rye Cove and Twin Springs both have Jenkins, Ky., on the calendar for the next two seasons. Rye Cove opens its 2019 season with the Cavaliers and Twin Springs has them down for homecoming on Oct. 4.
Other games to mark on your calendar this fall include: Union at Graham on Sept. 20, Gate City at George Wythe on Oct. 4 and — in a matchup that covers one of the longest distances between regular-season opponents — Thomas Walker will travel about 136 miles to Twin Valley on Oct. 18.
CRUNCH TIME FOR THE CAVS
Virginia-Wise split baseball games with Mountain East Conference foe Charleston on Thursday.
The teams meet Monday in another doubleheader with a lot on the line. The Cavs (20-19, 14-8) trail South Division-leading Charleston (27-12, 19-3) by five games with 10 league games left on the regular-season schedule.
A sweep by Virginia-Wise on Monday would all but assure the squad a trip to the MEC tournament and increase greatly its chance of winning the South Division. Conversely, a sweep by Charleston would nearly guarantee the Golden Eagles the division title and possibly put the Cavs’ spot in the MEC tournament in jeopardy.
The twin bill is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at the Cavs’ Stallard Field.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA TOP SIX
A lot of games have been played and there’s been a lot of shifting among the top six baseball and softball teams in Southwest Virginia.
Lebanon maintains the top spot in baseball and John Battle holds onto the top spot in softball, but several new teams joined the rankings.
A look at the Top Six with their records and last week’s ranking.
1. Lebanon (10-1) — 1
2. Chilhowie (15-0) — 2
3. Abingdon (10-2) — 3
4. Patrick Henry (11-3) — NR
5. John Battle (7-5) — NR
6. Holston (9-4) — NR
1. John Battle (10-2) — 1
2. Graham (12-4) — 2
3. Lebanon (7-5) — 3
4. Northwood (13-1) — NR
5. Union (7-4) — 5
6. Gate City (9-4) — NR