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Robert “Coach” Williams

Obituary for Robert Everett “Coach” Williams

Former SHSU coach

Services will be conducted Saturday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at Family Faith Church for Robert E. “Coach” Williams, 84, who passed way Tuesday, oct. 2. Visitation will be Friday, Oct. 5, 5-8p.at Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home.  Burial will be in Oak Grove Cemetery in Irving, TX at 4 p.m.

Bob will be lovingly remembered by his three children; daughter and son-in-law Stacy and Matthew Wagner of Huntsville, son and daughter-in-law Dallas and Diane Williams of Huntsville, and son Riley Williams of the Woodlands, as well as his brother, Stanley Williams of Houston. Bob has seven grandchildren; Jaron Wagner, Sierra Wagner Henry, Clay Williams, Wade Williams, Jude Williams, Natanyah Williams, and Naomi Williams Seidel. He also has three great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his mother Georgia Howell Williams and father Robert E. Williams, Sr., his wife Dolores Carol Riley Williams, sister Linda Williams Brown, and grandson Joseph Williams.

Bob or “Coach” as many knew him, is best known for his love and passion for the game of basketball. Next to his love for Jesus and his family, basketball was what got him excited. He had a lifetime of basketball knowledge stored in his brain, and he enjoyed sharing and learning from anyone who had the same pursuit…the pursuit of excellence.

This transcended into all areas of his life and was taught to his children and grandchildren as well, especially in competitive athletics of swimming and basketball. He was known by those who ever had the privilege of playing for him, as a fierce competitor, who was committed to helping young people maximize their God given talent through hard work and commitment. His style of leadership was unique yet quite effective, to say the least. He was driven in this pursuit and expected the same from those around him.

Color of skin, ethnicity, or size didn’t matter to him, only effort level and attitude did. He would often say, “If we are going to play this game, why not try and be the best that we can be.” Anyone who knew him and/or played for him will tell you that he was always fair, and all were treated equal. He believed in “Team” concepts, not individuals, and it worked.

His enjoyment and pursuit of the game of basketball began in the late 1940s when he played at Sunset High School in Dallas. His senior year, he led his team to the State semifinals. After High School he moved on to play at Howard County JC in Big Springs, Texas. In two seasons there he earned all-conference honors…known for his toughness and rebounding determination. His second season there his team was a NJCAA semi-finalist. From there he went to East Texas State University in Commerce, TX. where he was one of only two Texas recruited players mixed in with Head Coach Bobby Rogers’ Oklahoma players. While at ETSU, his teams made two NAIA National Tournament appearances, winning one and a semi-finalist in another. He received his Masters of Education degree from ETSU in 1967.

Just after marrying Dolores Carol Riley in 1955, his coaching career began the following year in Joshua, TX, where he became both the girls and boys head basketball coach. There were several other coaching jobs along the way… Alex Spence Jr High in Dallas, Tx, Mount Vernon High School, and Galena Park High School.

He and his young family arrived at SHSU in 1967 where he became the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach under Head Coach Archie Porter. His coaching years at SHSU lasted from 1967-1973. During his time coaching at SHSU, many will remember the progressive growth of the basketball program into a National small college power house, culminating into the 1973 season. This team became both UPI/AP Small College National Champions with an overall season record of 28 wins 1 loss.

He was instrumental in recruiting and bringing to Huntsville some of the Country’s best basketball talent of that time, along with developing that talent into a team concept unlike anything that had ever come along in the south. That season will always be remembered by the way it united the community and “packed” the Men’s Gym. His support and love for SHSU Basketball has never ended.

A special thank you goes out to each person who called and came by to visit Dad over the past year.

Condolences may be left at www.shmfh.com

About Rich Heiland

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

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