Williams steps down as coach with a 302-154 record over 17 years

May 2—MOULTRIE — Rondesha Williams clearly remembers taking her sixth Colquitt County girls basketball team to McEachern High in the first round of the 2012-2013 state basketball tournament.

The Lady Packers had not won a state tournament game in six years and had lost in the first round 10 times dating back to 1998-1999.

"They didn't even know where Colquitt County was," Williams said.

Colquitt defeated the Lady Indians 54-49 and the Lady Packers have continued to be among the state's top programs since.

"Everybody knows where Colquitt County is now," she said.

Williams has stepped down after leading the Lady Packers to a 302-154 record over the last 17 seasons. Her teams have won 20 or more game six times and the 2023-2024 team was one her most successful.

The Lady Packers went 23-6 and defeated Archer in the first round of the state tournament.

And even though Colquitt will have its top two scorers — Amira Walter-Smith, who has already scored 1,600 points in her career and Amareyia Knighton, who is just 25 points short of 1,000 — Williams said it was time to step back.

She is not leaving Colquitt County, however. She has been named the school system's Director of Student Services.

"It was a hard decision," said Williams, who also was an assistant principal at the high school. "But I need to spend some time with my mom. She has been my rock."

Remarkably, Williams was able to win more than 300 games despite never having had a traditional post-sized player.

But she could develop scorers.

Of the nine Moultrie/Colquitt County players who have scored more than 1,000 points in their careers, five — Makeba Ponder, Za'Nautica Downs, Diamond Hall, Carliss Johnson and Janiah Ellis — played for Williams.

And Knighton is likely to join the list next season.

"We just tried to put the kids in the right spot to be successful," she said. "We did have some talented kids and we just tried to make them winners.

"Look, I'm just excited to have been a part of this."

Williams deflects much of the credit for the program's success to two assistant coaches — Stephanie Cody and Thad Brown.

She also said that her program has benefited significantly from the booster club that started under president Mike Boyd and has thrived in recent years under Michelle Griffin.

"The community support we have received has been overwhelming," she said.

Williams was born and raised in Miami, where she played high school basketball.

She came to South Georgia when she received a scholarship to play at Albany State in 1996.

After playing for the Lady Rams, she took a job as an assistant at Dougherty, where she coached for seven seasons.

In 2007, she got her first and only head coaching job when she was hired to replace Joe Parker.

Her first team went 15-14 and she has never had a sub-.500 record.

Her teams won 20 or more games six times (and won 19 in 2012-2013) and earned region titles in 2017 and 2019.

She won her 100th game in 2013 and her 200th game in 2018.

Her 300th victory came on February 9, 2024, a 57-29 win over Brooks County on the William Bryant Court.

Dan Chappuis, the former Colquitt County principal who is now taking over as superintendent of schools, said he is looking forward to Williams continuing to motivate students in her new role.

After watching Lady Packers basketball the last several years, he has seen her work up close.

"She maximized their talent," he said.