ZEPHYR — The Zephyr Bulldogs are in the market for a new head football coach and athletic director as Shannon Williams accepted the same position with Leakey ISD Monday night.
Williams 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.
“It was a super tough decision,” Williams said. “There's some good memories here and I'm leaving a team that has chance to play for it all. It's tough on the kids, tough on me, and tough on my two sons, especially my oldest. If you look at the now, Zephyr's it. But if you look down the road, Leakey's it.”
Leakey will be playing its first season of six-man football later this year, dropping down from the 11-man ranks, and the number of students at Leakey compared to Zephyr played a role in Williams' decision.
“My son Hunter is a freshman in a class of 25 or 26 at Zephyr, then I have a sixth-grade son in the smallest class with 12,” Williams said. “At Leakey there's 30 sixth-graders so he's going to have a bigger class, but Hunter is going to be in a smaller class of 14, but heavy boys.”
Williams stated that starting a program from scratch was appealing as well.
“The coolest part about that job is you're starting from the ground up, there's not a six-man foundation at all there,” Williams said. “There's a lot of kids, a lot of hungry kids. Everything that will be taught to them will be my program, so that's all they will know about six-man. You're not going into a town that will press for spread offense or tight, anything like that. Everything is new and they're eager for it. That's appealing by itself, then it's a beautiful place — the country's nice, the schools's nice and everyone I've met is super excited about coming into the six-man family.”
As for his fondest memories at Zephyr, Williams said, “The kids here are great, as well as the town support. They're loud in the stands with the cans and the loud horn they've got, I'm going to miss all that. Any time you play Zephyr the atmosphere is always a playoff atmosphere.
“The state semifinal season is a good memory, and last year was a good one too because we were pretty much a dark horse and having a lot of freshmen and sophomores step up and play like they did was huge. This group of kids we have, I'm going to miss their work ethic. They really bought in and went hard. Something we tell the kids every week is to make memories and I can definitely leave Zephyr with my head held high, knowing we developed a strong program that I feel like will stay successful.”