Jeffrey Williams steps down as West Forsyth boys soccer coach

Published 6:00 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

After having what he says is “the most successful season” in West Forsyth boys soccer history, Jeffrey Williams has resigned as the head coach.  

Williams, who was the boys head coach for the past nine seasons, helped West Forsyth to a 20-1-2 overall record last fall, not losing until Nov. 2 of the second round of the NCJHSAA Class 4-A playoffs to Charlotte Providence. West Forsyth also finished 14-0 in the Central Piedmont 4-A. He finished his career with the boys with a record of 130-53-21. 

“A lot of factors played into me stepping down from men’s soccer, with the highest of those factors being just the growing family with an almost 3-year-old and an almost 1-year-old,” Williams said. “And my wife’s transition in job and some of the higher-priority things in my life, getting some neglection, or not having enough time for some other things.” 

Williams took the girls job at West Forsyth in June after Scott Bilton resigned following the season last spring, with Williams fully expecting to coach both the boys and girls. Williams will remain the girls coach, as well as continuing to teach math at West Forsyth. 

“I took the girls job thinking that I would at least coach four or five years for both the guys and the girls,” Williams said. “And this summer and this fall was — and there was some other things that come into play, and outside of soccer. It’s not soccer stuff. Nothing with soccer stuff. But I needed to find some room other places in my life.” 

Williams is married to his wife, Sharon, and they have two daughters – Hannah Mae and Sophie. 

“In the last two or three years at one time I think I was a leader of eight different groups of people,” Williams said. “And I got worn out.” 

Williams said he met with Principal Kevin Spainhour and Athletic Director Mike Pennington on Jan. 3, the day students returned to school after Christmas break that had decided to resign.  

“We know that it’s hard to do both sports – in the fall and the spring – and with him being an excellent math teacher to boot, you knew that there would be a time where he would go with one,” Pennington said. “And I think it’s something he and his family talked about at Christmas, and this was a move he needed to make. So, we understand.” 

Using those two weeks with his family, Williams knew it was the right decision.  

“I feel like I’m a very reflective person,” Williams said. “And like, I’ve used the word ‘prioritize’ and such. I guess as I get older, I think more about the moment. I think about I spend my time and the quality of that, and how that sets up for the future. And so, looking at it from that point of view, in order of the way I like to manage teams and coach teams, like it’s not a three-month or four-month commitment. It’s a year-long commitment.” 

The hard part for Williams was meeting the boys team to tell them about his decision to step down.  

“I think Spainhour asked in the following days how it was, and I was, ‘It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,’” Williams said. “I was trying to get feelers from different people, from different parents afterwards, but I think they were shocked. No one had an idea.” 

Pennington has seen up-close and personal how well Williams relates with the players as a coach and as a mentor.  

“He does a great job with his players,” Pennington said. “He’s got an ability to be hard on them, but to love them, too. Not everybody can do that. Some coaches are just tyrants and just ride them hard. You don’t push them to get better, but Jeffrey has the ability to do both. He can push them to make them better, but then he develops a relationship and is close to them as well. So, it was tough on those kids.” 

According to Pennington, the job has been posted on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools website. 

“Obviously, as soon as possible,” Pennington said of when he’d like a new boys coach in place. “We’ve got some time. That’s the good thing. Still, you’d like to have somebody in there.” 

Even though Williams won’t be coaching the boys anymore, he won’t be far away. He’s still going be the girls coach.  

“I’m currently talking with and helping three or four players with college recruitment,” Williams said. “Getting things set up and getting connections there. And when the new coach is hired, I’m not going to step in the way. I’m not going to get in the way.  

“You know, I’ll help the guys and help the coach with whatever, and I’m sure I’ll be at games. I’ll be a listening board, if needed, or whatever’s needed. Like, I just can’t take on this specific role right now of being head coach.”