Coach Ryan Williams Resigns After 7-3 Season
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After six years as head coach of the BHS varsity football team, Ryan Williams has resigned. Williams took the team to great heights, and ended this season with one of the best records that BHS football has seen in many years, falling just short of the playoffs.
Despite this success, for most, Williams’ resignation was sad but not shocking.
Assistant coach Adam Bickel said, “I was not surprised by Coach Williams’ decision, [but] of course there is a part of me that is saddened by it. We built a team from 0-10 to four consecutive winning years. There will be sadness because we wanted to finish the job, the vision, the goal of bringing championships to Beachwood.”
As for the reason of resignation, Williams said, “I just decided that I’m ready to move on to other football challenges.”
However, some players indicated alternative reasons.
Junior right tackle Josh Goode suggested football players felt they did not receive sufficient support from the school administration.
“I feel there’s a lot of support from the student body, but I just wish there was more support from the people with authority,” said Goode.
Senior Rob Goldberg also attributed Williams’ resignation to lack of communication and support from the school administration.
While assistant coach Willie Smith was not sure of all the parameters of Williams’ resignation, Smith said he was, “disappointed that it had to come to this.”
Athletic Director Ryan Peters understands why Williams decided to resign. He explained, “I’m sure in the back of his mind, there’s some things that he wish would have been handled differently. I don’t want to speak on his behalf, but it is obviously an emotional time for everybody involved.”
Peters later wrote in an email, “We will remember all of his coaching triumphs and success over the past six years… He made a difference in many of our football players’ lives, and should be commended for his hard work and dedication to our student athletes and our community.”
Assistant coach Herb Schoen declined to be interviewed.
Bickel declined to comment on the speculation that Williams’ resignation was in response to the controversy surrounding Beachwood going to the playoffs this season.
Commenting on the reasons for his resignation, Williams said, “It didn’t have to do with anything in particular. I think some people speculate it had to do with [the playoffs], but really it had nothing to do with that situation.” He went on to say, “…the school teachers and administration were always supportive of me and my effort.”
Regardless of Williams’ reasons, Bickel echoed the sentiments of the players and other coaches, saying “Coach Williams did not quit on the program or any player. It was just time to look for the next challenge in his coaching career.”
Since assistant coaches often come and go with the head coach, the nine assistant coaching positions are up for rehiring as well. While it is unclear as to the future plans of all the current coaches, Bickel has already decided to go another direction.
“Unfortunately, I will not be returning to Beachwood this season. After eight seasons with the school, and growing from the Middle School Head Coach to Defensive Coordinator / assistant coach of the varsity team, it is time to move on,” said Bickel.
Senior tight end and captain Brandon Rotsky speculated, “I think a lot of [assistant coaches] will probably go their own separate ways right now.”
While the players are disappointed to lose the current coaching staff, they are excited to see where their coaches end up.
“I am very excited to see where Coach Williams goes. Wherever he ends up, he is going to win a lot of games and change a lot of lives,” said Goldberg.
While this job is Williams’ first time holding the title of head coach, he was an assistant coach at Maple Heights, Case Western Reserve University and Bedford St. Peter Chanel High School prior to coming to Beachwood. Under his coaching, Chanel made the State Playoffs three seasons in a row, and Maple Heights went to State Playoffs all five seasons he coached.
Williams has yet to decide where his next coaching job will be, but many opportunities have already been made available to him.
“I’ve had several people contact me already about joining their staff and coaching with them. [However], right now I’m going to enjoy some time off. I haven’t taken time off in sixteen years. I’ll make a decision in the next month or two,” said Williams.
As for Bickel’s plans, he said, “My future plans are uncertain, but as a coach, I will never stop teaching, coaching and mentoring student athletes. I will be on the sidelines next year.”
Nonetheless, the resignation of the head coach and parting of the assistant coaches is still a heartbreaking loss for both the athletes and coaches involved. Coach Williams even said the teamwork between the coaches is what led to the football team’s success.
“[The success of the football team] had less to do with me and more to do with the assistant coaches and the players. The whole school bought in, and that led to success,” said Williams.
Coach Bickel will also miss the camaraderie among the nine coaches. “We had a fantastic coaching staff that worked very well together. It took us years to build continuity, and we were much more successful because of that. This group of coaches were a very dedicated, committed and passionate group, and I think these qualities were passed down to the student athletes,” said Bickel.
Players also affirmed they felt inspired by the coaches. Rotsky said of Williams, “He’s a head coach at heart, and he had the goal of building a program, and developing a winning culture.”
“What I will remember the most is how much he fought for us, he cared about all forty of us,” said Rotsky. “[At our game against Berkshire] I remember Rob Goldberg pointed to him and said ‘we’re gonna get this one for you.’ [Coach Williams] just has a way of inspiring you. You want to win the game as much for yourself and him as well; it’s a respect thing.”
Given that equally passionate coaches take over next year, the varsity football team can continue to build on Williams’ legacy.
Speaking to the future success of the team, Smith said, “It depends on the coach coming in, and if they can make the transition to the level the kids are on.”
Peters agreed. “I think whoever comes in has phenomenal opportunities, the sky’s the limit,” he said. “I think next year’s team will be equally good, if not better. But there’s going to be some growing pains too. Every time I bring a new coach in, kids react differently. I’m going to bank on that new coach to make sure that they make every kid feel special, and help them reach their ultimate level of potential. It’s my job to make sure that our coaches do that.”
Regardless of where Williams goes, he will not forget Beachwood.
“I appreciate and had a great time over the last six years, I will never forget the great times that we had, and the great experience. I’m just grateful that Beachwood gave me the opportunity to be head coach,” said Williams.
The Beachwood community will also have fond memories of Williams.
“If you leave a position making an impact and changing a life, you should be very proud when you leave,” said Peters. “Williams deserves that credit, that’s for sure.”