Randy Williams: Coach, Mentor, and Hero

Master Sergeant Randy Williams, the head coach of the boys track and field team and assistant coach of the boys cross country team, will be temporarily leaving his post at Divine Child High School as he serves our country in Afghanistan with the National Guard. Williams, who works by night as a Detroit Police Officer, left for Camp Shelby on Thursday, February 16th and will be deployed with his comrades to the Middle East later this year. Before he left, the DC community and his athletes made sure to give him the proper sendoff.

At the annual boys track and field bowling fundraiser on January 21st, the boys and their parents gave Williams a personal farewell, complete with pizza and face cake. The man of the hour was extremely happy with how the fundraiser was planned and organized, as it was estimated that twice as many people attended in 2012 than in 2011.

On February 3rd, at halftime of the varsity girls home basketball game against Ladywood, DC honored and thanked Williams for his service to our school and our country. Williams proceeded to thank the DC community as his graduating seniors gathered around him. He explained that his deployment had recently been changed from Kuwait to Afghanistan, but that he would still be in contact with his team via Skype and email. Slyly, Williams mentioned that there is a chance that he might not have to go overseas, later explaining that “if our mission gets nixed, I could be back here as early as the first, second week of May.”

The 15th of February was a very solemn day for the athletes that attended the official sendoff ceremony from the National Guard at Taylor Sportsplex. About 20 Falcons, most of them seniors, joined their coaches and a few parents as they wished Williams and the rest of his comrades well as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan. Williams will be “working in operations…dealing with all the statistical stuff coming in, keeping track of what the companies are doing…most likely I’ll be working the midnights…behind a desk.”

Taking over as the interim head coach of the boys track and field will be Robert Glenn, who is the head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach. Glenn, who was Williams’ high school track and field coach, will be helped out by returning coaches Ron and Michelle “Mama” Batten, who coach sprints and throwers, respectively. In addition, John Manchell, formerly the track and field coach at Divine Child Elementary School, will take over Williams’ role as the intimidator and middle distance coach, while volunteer coach Antonio Cosenza (’11) will help coach the hurdlers. Glenn has publicly stated that he will put Williams’ name as the head coach on all the trophies that the team collects this spring.

Although knowing that he will not be patrolling will bring some comfort to his athletes, this season will not be the same without Williams’ encouragement and life lessons every day. Senior Matthew Mangulabnan says that “in order to win, you have to have a ghetto attitude, that’s the one thing (Williams) taught me over 4 yrs (sic).” It will be particularly difficult for the team to be without its head coach this year, as it has high aspirations. “I believe our team could be the state champions this year,” Williams declared in a recent interview before describing why his team has enough high-caliber athletes to win it all. “I can think (about a state championship) and not be here to see it.”