Loudoun County's Chase Williams and Arundel's Billy Cosh Stayed at Their Schools Even After Their Dads Took Coaching Jobs Elsewhere
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
At some point during weekends, after his Friday night football games starring for Loudoun County, linebacker Chase Williams will sit in the basement of his Leesburg home watching film of the contest, a phone pressed to his ear.
Just more than 1,000 miles away on the other end of the line, Williams's father, Gregg, the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, and Chase's brother, Blake, a coaching assistant with the Saints, will sit in the headquarters of the NFL franchise and, together, they will break down Chase's performance, play-by-play.
The long-distance film session is possible because of the donation of a state-of-the-art film system by Gregg Williams to the Loudoun County High School football program, giving the Raiders' coaching staff a boost in their film capabilities while allowing them to produce and send a DVD to Louisiana the day after games.
The weekly in-season tradition is also a part of the compromise that was made when Gregg Williams left the Washington Redskins to become the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, and Chase stayed behind to complete his high school career in Leesburg. The film sessions provide an opportunity for father and son to talk football, even if they can't do it face-to-face. And even with Dad several states away, the sessions remain intense.
"Oh yeah, nothing's changed from that respect," Chase Williams said. "Blake and my dad are still just as hard on the phone, maybe even a bit harder on the phone than they would be in person."
One of the top recruits in the country, Chase Williams is one of two high-profile players in the Washington area who chose to stay with their high school teams despite the departure of their coach fathers. Arundel quarterback Billy Cosh remained with the Wildcats when his father, Chris, left the University of Maryland to coach the defense at Kansas State.
Such family decisions are not unprecedented, especially in Loudoun County. Scott Spurrier, for example, remained behind at Loudoun County when his father, Steve, stepped down as head coach of the Redskins.
Coaching at the game's higher levels can often mean family compromises, but in the cases of Williams and Cosh the decision was made in the interest of the teenagers' high school experience.
"It's never easy, that's the hardest part about this nomadic profession we're in, in pro sports," Gregg Williams said. "When I became head coach of the Buffalo Bills we took [Blake] out of a great high school situation in Nashville, and even though he excelled and made it through okay in Buffalo, my wife and I said we'd do [everything] to make sure our other two children could have a junior prom, a senior prom, a high school graduation, some kind of base of support to go back to and be a proud alum of a high school. We were going to make a sacrifice to do it right for our kids and we felt that we've done that."
While the reasons for staying go beyond football, for both Chase Williams and Billy Cosh, there is no doubt the sport played a major role in the decisions.
To Williams, who has committed to play for Virginia Tech, it was about staying to finish what he had helped start. When Williams first arrived at Loudoun County, the Virginia AA Dulles District program was in the early stages of what would become an 18-game losing streak. In his first two seasons with the Raiders, Loudoun County won just twice.
Last season, their second under Coach Todd Hill, the Raiders made a surprising run to the postseason, booking a trip to the Region II playoffs with a win over city rival Heritage in the regular season finale.