New coach wants to re-energize program

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Williams says he’ll stress system, development from varsity to YAFL

By Mike Cote

Garett Williams has been around football for some time now.

With stops at the prep, college and even pro level, Williams has seen football in all shapes and sizes.

Now, he wants to cut his own niche.

Williams was hired Thursday to take over the Los Alamos Hilltopper football program. He is replacing Bob Scott, who racked up a school record 124 wins in his

20 seasons of guiding the Hilltoppers.

“Right now, I’m excited,” Williams said. “I’m honored to be a part of this community in this capacity. This is a step I’ve been working toward for a long time. After being here for two years, I’m excited to try to bring a whole new level of intensity and enthusiasm to this school and this community.”

Williams, whose day job is that of a seventh-grade science teacher at Los Alamos Middle School, assisted with the Hilltopper program for the last two seasons, in 2008 as a C team coach and in 2009 as a linebackers, running backs and special teams assistant coach.

His coaching resume, despite not having previous head coaching experience, is impressive.

Williams, who graduated with a master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University, played professional football for a short time with the Colorado Venom, an arena-style football team that quickly collapsed due to economic and legal pressures. While playing with the Venom, Williams was promoted to defensive coordinator, although that stint lasted only as long as the franchise did — exactly one game in 2004.

Just prior to joining the Hilltopper program, Williams was also an assistant coach at ENMU. He also has experience coaching in Colorado. Fort Collins, playing in Colorado’s Class 5A, advanced to the state semifinals one season while Williams was its defensive coordinator.

Coming in, Williams said he wants to give the program a new shot in the arm.

While the majority of Scott’s years leading Los Alamos were successful ones on the field, participation in the sport was often sporadic — the team even once had to forfeit a game, in 1998, because it could not find enough healthy players to compete.

His focus, he said, will be to cultivate the school and community support for the team. He said that starts at the first level.

“I want this to be a full program,” he said. “That’s going to make the biggest change and that’s not the way it’s been done here in the past. We want the junior high and even through to the YAFL coaches.”

A coordinated effort, he said, will be necessary to get the younger players and the community to get behind the high school’s program.

Los Alamos will come into this season off a 4-6 finish in Scott’s final year. It was the District 2AAAA runner-up behind Bernalillo — it lost a tough 14-0 decision in Bernalillo this season in what was essentially the district championship game.

Going into 2010, however, the district will have a slightly different look with Taos dropping into Class AAA and Santa Fe, currently a Class 5A program, entering the district in Taos’ place.

While the program under Scott was well known for pounding out yards on the ground, Williams said he’d like to incorporate some different formations and even some verticality to his offense, although that might be more than a one-year process to install such an offense, depending on his personnel.

For the first time in several years, Los Alamos is scheduled to have a seasoned returner at the quarterback spot. Kory Balog, who took over the quarterback position in the second half of Los Alamos’ second game last season, is slated to return for his senior year this fall.

Williams said he can hardly wait for the summer workouts to get going, which will be about a week after the dismissal of classes for vacation.

“One thing that I want to get across is that I want to bring something to this community that it hasn’t seen before,” he said. “I want to bring a new level of excitement.”