Inspirational coach finally retires because of battle with ALS

Cameron Smith

Prep Rally first wrote about inspirational Greenville (Ga.) High football coach Jeremy Williams in late September, when the longtime head coach was in the midst of a season in which he would be followed by cameras while leading his team, all while fighting ALS.

Now, sadly, Williams' career has come to an end because of the very debilitating disease for which he captured the nation's imagination.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Williams announced his retirement from both of his positions within the Greenville school district, where he has long served as both head football coach and athletic director, and met with his players to tell them of his decision last week.

"Jeremy thought he could coach this year, but he having a lot of breathing issues," Meriwether County schools superintendent Carol Lane told the Journal-Constitution. "I think he probably realized that there was no way he could stay out there on the field with the kids in this kind of heat."

The coach's exit brings a long running inspirational saga to an end. Williams was followed throughout his team's 2010 campaign for a documentary which will be titled "Season of a Lifetime," which he and the filmmakers hope will inspire viewers to fight to overcome debilitating illness. In both 2009 and 2010, when he coached with significant trauma from ALS, Williams led his team to the state playoffs.
Now he's stepping aside for good, though it seems unlikely that he will ever be forgotten by the Greenville community. Lane certainly echoed those sentiments on Saturday.

"I told Jeremy he's still part of our family and can come to Greenville High School anytime he wanted to because those kids are his life. It's bittersweet for us, and I know it was a tough decision for Jeremy and his family. We certainly understand his decision, and we know that he wanted to do what was best for his family and his players."

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