After two-plus decades, Chris Williams is headed back to Gar-Field.
On Monday, the Woodbridge school announced the hiring of Williams – a 1993 graduate – as the Indians’ new varsity football coach. Tom Gryder stepped down from the position in December after an 0-10 season.
“Anytime you get a chance to go back and coach where you played, it’s a unique and special opportunity,” Williams said in a phone interview. “It’s one that I’m definitely looking forward to.
According to a news release issued by Gar-Field, Williams was a three-year letter winner for the Indians in both baseball and football. He was an outfielder on the school’s 1992 state championship team.
After graduating from James Madison University in 1997, Williams worked in the information technology field at Booz Allen Hamilton for nine years, but the prospect of coaching always lingered for the former quarterback.
He got his first shot as an assistant at Chantilly in 2005 under former Coach Marty Riddle. After moving to North Carolina, Williams served as an assistant at Charlotte’s South Mecklenberg High School for five years, before taking over as the head coach at East Mecklenberg in 2011. In two years under Williams, the Eagles went 3-19.
During the interview process, Williams found common ground with the administration on the role of a student-athlete.
“Obviously, what we do on the field is important, but I agreed with [the administration] in what the student-athletes do off the field is just as important,” he said.
“For most of them, once they finish high school, their playing careers are going to be done, and what are they going to be able to do when they move past that? Are they going to be able to go to college, out into the workforce, and be positive members of our community?
Schematically, Williams favors an attacking defense and a pro-style offense. But he’s run multiple permutations on both sides of the ball in the past, including a 4-2-5, 4-3, and a 3-3-5 stack on defense.
“It really depends on the personnel that we have that will give us the best opportunity to be successful,” he said. “If you try to fit a square peg in a round hole it won’t work.”
Williams will meet with prospective players at 2:15 p.m. on Friday in the school’s gymnasium.