Rondesha Williams sees 300th win as head coach

Feb. 27—MOULTRIE — "It's a wow moment."

It was on Friday, February 9, 2024, when Lady Packer varsity basketball head coach Rondesha Williams hit a major milestone in her career.

The Lady Packers' 57-29 victory over Brooks County in the last game of the regular season gave Williams her 300th career win at Colquitt County.

"Hitting that 300 number is really special," said Williams. "But, for me, it was seeing the kids be able to achieve it that made it something I'll never forget."

During their 2023-24 regular season, the Lady Packers only lost six games making it one of the highest scoring for the program.

"After we lost against Lowndes and Camden in the region I told them everything has to be worked for and earned," said Williams. "Now they've seen they can do it and can look back on this with pride."

Williams became the highest winning Lady Packer basketball head coach on Jan. 26, 2016, when the Lady Packers won against Lee County 49-28.

Marking Williams' 150th win, she usurped Julian Granthan who had held the record since 1986.

Granthan had an overall record of 149-44 over eight seasons.

Over doubling Grantham's time as coach, Williams has been head of the program for 17 years.

"It's rare for someone to stay at the same coaching position as long as I have, especially when it's not their hometown," said Williams. "But, I just felt in my heart like God wanted me to be here."

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Williams first came to work at Colquitt County High School in 2007; however, it wasn't the opportunity at CCHS that brought Williams to Georgia.

"Albany State offered me a scholarship in 1996," said Williams. "I wanted to go somewhere different, and I ended up staying."

}Williams was on the Lady Rams Southern Intercollegiate basketball team, graduating in 1998.

"I started coaching at Dougherty High School (in Albany) as the assistant coach the year after I graduated," said Williams. "When I got offered the head coaching job here, that was my first opportunity as a head coach."

Starting off her career with CCHS with a win, Williams defeated Ware County on Nov. 20, 2007 at the Charles Cooper Memorial Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Lowndes.

The final score was 48-39.

"It was challenging when I realized the magnitude of what goes into being a head coach," said Williams. "To build a program is hard work."

However, Williams knew she would have the assistance she needed.

"Building your own program is like building a business," said Williams. "You have to have that business mindset and put people around you who are a good fit."

Williams did just that.

"I've always had a good assistant coach with Stephanie Cody," said Williams. "She does the gritty work and a lot of the grinding with the girls."

Cody has been the assistant coach for 13 years.

"People don't understand how much Coach Cody does," said Williams. "Because of her, really all I do now is stand up on the sideline and fuss and yell. Everyone needs to get them a Stephanie Cody on their staff."

When it was time to start the Lady Packers Fast Break Club, Williams utilized that same business strategy.

"I've put people around me that are able to help me build a brand," said Williams. "I'm like the CEO of a business and I need that solid team around me. One I trust. That's what I have."

Because of her position as assistant principal the jobs sometimes intertwine.

"I have to give a shoutout to the staff here because during crunch time they will really step up and fill in the gaps when I have to leave early," said Williams.

"Principal, Chappuis, Dr. Baker, Mr. Greg Tillery, Chad Horne, Dr. Jessica Graves, Ms. Copper and Coach Edwards. They really just do their part to pitch in."

Also on Williams' team is the booster club president, who ensures the Lady Packer basketball program can function effectively.

"The booster club goes out and fundraises to make sure the program not only has everything it needs but can flourish," said Williams. "Times are hard and you can't expect the parents to pay for everything."

After factoring in team apparel, shoes, training equipment and travel expenses — such as: gas, food and hotels when needed — the price to navigate a single season can get quite expensive.

"We are so blessed to live and be part of a community where they don't mind pouring back into the programs. This community allows us to do a lot of things that other schools aren't able to."

Each Lady Packer athlete pays $150 as a program fee, but that's it.

"We take them everywhere, feed them, and give them whatever they need in order to play," said Williams. "I don't ever want a kid to feel like they can't afford to participate."

Williams understands how important sports can be for a developing adult.

"Sports allowed me to see a lot of different things growing up," said Williams. "I traveled a lot and it kept me well-rounded. Not all kids have that and that's why I make sure these kids have what they need."

In return, William asks only one thing of those Lady Packers in her program.

"I tell them that to preform and do their school work," said Williams. "If they do that, I will make sure they have what they need."

And preform the Lady Packer do.

Nov. 29, 2013 was the day Williams hit that first big checkmark.

"That 100th win will always be special because it was the first," said Williams.

The Lady Packers beat Godby High 54-52 in the Fast Break Shootout at Rickards High in Tallahassee.

Williams also got her 200th win in the Fast Break Shootout.

This time it was when the Lady Packer won against Rickards 64-36 — Nov. 24, 2018.

"A bunch of my kids came back and watched me win my 200," said Williams. "So, that was really special."

To date, Williams has two region championships, sent 12 teams to the state tournament and has had six seasons with over 20 wins.

But for Williams, the program isn't just about basketball and those achievements.

"I remember all the kids," said Williams. "Each year was special in it's own way and I've been able to help influence so many lives."

Williams did have one year were the vibe on the team was just a little more unique.

"Usually, a team will have one or two key players that the season builds from," said Williams. "But those six? They were all good, and they hung onto your every word and did anything you asked of them."

Diamond Hall, Kiarra Lovett, Za'Nautica Downs, Chyna Calhoun, Abiyah Spenser and Akia Sutton made up the entire teams' roster for the 2016-2017 season.

They became known as the Big Six.

"They won region and went to the elite 8 [state tournament]," said Williams. "They worked hard in the season like never before and they all knew their role and came everyday ready to play, even when I was fussing."

It wasn't just the athletic abilities that made this team so well connected.

"They were all just really good friends," said Williams. "So mischievous, but it made it fun. That group will always be special to me."

The Big 6 also came with an entourage.

"I've never had a group of parents so involved," said Williams. "It didn't matter where we were playing or when. They would be loaded up and ready to follow the bus."

No matter what though, Williams remains true to her primary objective.

"It's about building up the kids so they can be a positive person in their community," said Williams. "Every year at the beginning of each season that's the focus, not basketball."

How does Williams do this?

"I always push them to be ready for the real world," said Williams. "They may not understand in the moment, but they always come back and say thank you."

Why is this Williams' philosophy?

"You can't let yourself get satisfied," said Williams. "You want to get better everyday that you wake up. You're chasing perfection. You're never going to achieve that, but you still chase it."

Because of her diligent efforts to inspire, most of Williams players still maintain contact.

"At this point everyone is pretty spread out, but every now and then I will send out group chats to the teams to make sure everyone is okay," said Williams. "I have players in all walks of life, but they are all doing great things and are taking care of themselves."

Williams wouldn't have dreamed of doing anything else.

"It's always surreal when there are moments like this one," said Williams. "Not all coaches can say they have 100, 200, 300 wins. It's really a testament to how hard these kids come in and work for you as a coach and coaching staff."