EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 12th chapter in a 13-part series saluting the 2020 Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame class. Today is Ashland High School graduate Tom Williams, who became a successful football coach at Hillsdale High School.
JEROMESVILLE -- Tom Williams grew up in Ashland playing whatever sport was in season. At Ashland High School he played varsity football and baseball.
Then, after a short stint on the Ashland University baseball team, he began his coaching career by volunteering for his dad with the Ashland High School softball program. He also coached middle school football and basketball while studying to become a teacher.
Tom launched his teaching career in 1995 at Clear Fork Local Schools. He taught middle school math while working an assistant football, girls’ basketball, and track coach for the Colts.
In 1997, he accepted a middle school history teaching position at Madison Local Schools and was also be an assistant football coach and the head softball coach. His 1998 Madison softball team won a District Championship.
During his six years at Madison, he moved up the coaching ladder to become the defensive coordinator which got him thinking about becoming a head football coach.
In 2003, Tom was offered the head football coaching position at Hillsdale High School. Hillsdale had a pretty rough history in football as it took over 40 years for the Falcons to reach their 100th win.
Tom found things pretty difficult early on, but in 2005 the program turned around in Week 9 as the 2-6 Falcons upset #2 ranked and undefeated Smithville. That game marked the turning point for the Falcons, who went on to have winning seasons in 10 of the next 12 seasons Tom was the head coach.
Included in those seasons are 3 WCAL Championships (2010, 2011, 2014) and 6 Playoff Appearances (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017). The 2010 and 2017 teams advanced to the Elite 8 and the 2009 team made it the Sweet 16.
Tom was also the athletic director at Hillsdale from 2005-2012 and during that time Hillsdale won its only WCAL All Sports Trophy during the 2009-2010 school year.
Many players earned All-Ohio status under his tutelage at Hillsdale, including Chet Minniear, Ryan Brewer, Clay Nelson, Trent Kimball, Dustin Simpson, Nate Rogers, David Taylor, Jared Whitcomb, Ryan Moore, Zach Fulk, Levi Licata, Sam Young, Trevor Badertscher, Brooke Switzer, Ryan Bee, Doug Cline, Walker Summerfield, Corbin Mager, Andrew Wolf, Ben Rogers, Eric Pickering, Craig Cline, Trey Williams, Kyle Martin, Trace Stiltner, Alex Becker, Mike Garn, and Ty Williams.
Tom is extremely proud of the coaches that he played for and the ones he has coached with over the years.
He wanted to mention his longtime coaches at Hillsdale which include: Mike Mack, Chad Buzzard, Mark Jump, Ed Yetzer, Dan Mager, Jeff Goodwin, Mike Sigler, Mike Wolf, and Trevor Cline. Trevor was the QB of the WCAL Championship Teams in 2010 and 2011 and is now the head coach of the Falcons.
Tom is the son of Tom and Donna Williams. His parents have been very supportive over the years of all of the activities that he and his sister Teri have pursued. His dad earned his induction into the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and his mom was the tournament manager for the OHSAA State Softball tournament for many years.
Tom has been married to his wife Tammy for 25 years and he appreciates, and can’t thank her enough, for putting up with all that goes into being married to a coach. They have two sons, Trey and Ty. Trey is a senior at Thiel College where he studies Supply Chain Management and plays baseball. Ty is a freshman at Hillsdale College, where he is studying biology and playing football.
Tom is the Principal at Hillsdale Elementary and is still an assistant coach of the Falcon football and baseball teams.