ZEPHYR — Blanket ISD Athletic Director Brent Williamson will return to his alma mater Zephyr High School following his unanimous approval as the head football coach/athletic director Wednesday night.
On Feb. 12, the Blanket ISD Board of Trustees opted not to renew Williamson’s contract, which led to a backlash from students and parents alike. Williamson, who was in his first year with the district, was on a probationary contract and state school law requires the board to hold have a separate vote to terminate Williamson’s probationary contract. That vote did not occur, so Williamson’s contract was not terminated. A specially-called meeting on Feb. 27 to resolve the matter never took place as more than 200 members of the community attended in support of Williamson, but only three of seven school board members. Without a quorum, no action could take place.
Instead of waiting until at least March 19 for the Blanket board members to decide his fate, Williamson decided to take a trip 10 miles south to interview for a position vacated Feb. 20 when then-Zephyr ISD Athletic Director and ZHS Football Coach Shannon Williams announced his intention to accept the same position at Leakey ISD.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s good to be back here – back home in Zephyr,” Williamson said. “It’s always been something I wanted to do. It was a matter of time and the right timing.”
Brent is not the only Williamson to become a member of the Zephyr High School family Wednesday night. He also announced his daughter, Tori Williamson, will join him and finish her senior year at ZHS. During the town hall forum in Blanket that was held in place of the specially-called school board meeting, the younger Williamson stated she wanted to graduate as a Tiger.
“We sat and talked about it and for my daughter being able to graduate from the same school that I went to, I don’t really know if I have words for it,” Williamson said. “It’s going to be good to see her walk the same halls I walked, play on the same court I played on and be around the same families that are here now that have kids. It’s going to be great for my whole family.”
Last fall, Williamson finished his first season as the Blanket Tigers’ coach by leading them to a 5-5 record with their final loss coming to Zephyr 60-14. He replaces Williams, who posted a 43-18 mark in five seasons at Zephyr, and came within one victory of a state championship game berth in 2015. Williams also collected the 100th victory of his career this past season when Zephyr knocked off Gorman, 72-26, on Oct. 20. Williamson said he does not feel intimidated coming into a program with a history of success.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Williamson said. “That was the way it was when I was in school. Zephyr has a rich tradition of being good in football, basketball and track. I’m looking forward to being a part of that, continuing that tradition and hopefully building on that tradition.”
Williamson said he would stay with Blanket ISD until the end of the school year, but hopes he can make a few trips south to visit with his new players. One of those players was Devin Williams, who was among the first to shake Williamson’s hand before Wednesday’s meeting.
“It’s awesome. I’ve known him all of my life,” junior Devin Williams said. “… [Blanket] was pretty quick out of the backfield and they tackled pretty well. He’s a good person that believes in the Lord a lot and preaches about him.”
Zephyr Superintendent Stanton Marwitz said he knew Williamson from their interactions throughout the school year while Marwitz worked as the UIL district chairman. During the meeting, he recommended board members accept him for a two-year contract.
“I could tell how professional he was,” Marwitz said. “I knew a little bit about him before we interviewed him. The thing that stuck out the most was he said ‘It’s all about the kids.’ He wants them to be successful and do things right. He wants to make them into good people. With that being his goal and focus, I don’t think you can go wrong. We’re in the kid business.”