Troup honors legendary football coach Danny Williams before homecoming game

Published 2:59 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

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Troup High School honored some coaching royalty before hosting Riverdale for its homecoming game on Thursday. Legendary Tiger football coach Danny Williams was joined by about 50 of his former players and coaches before the game and was honored for his contributions to the football program.

“The thing about Troup is that we had a group of kids that were committed to having a winning program,” Williams said. “That is the key story, the commitment of the kids that set out to have a winning program.

“There were a bunch of people in the Troup High community that wanted to win and there is no substitute for that.”

Williams coached just three seasons at Troup, compiling a record of 21-12 from 1978-1980 and making the playoffs three straight seasons — the first time in program history.

”When you go awhile without success and then all of a sudden you have a taste of success it grows in you,” Williams said. “The players started to believe in themselves, and they started to believe that we could win.”

Jeff Hicks, a former player for Williams on those teams added that “We had a coach that made us believe in ourselves, then we started to believe in the coach and then we got it done on the field.”

The team did not make three straight playoff appearances again until making seven straight from 2000-2007.

Williams inherited a team that won just four games total in the three seasons prior to his arrival. It was a swift turnaround for Tigers who went 9-3 in his first season in charge. 

The Tigers earned a 7-0 win over Manchester that season that put the team back on the map.

“We got beat by Manchester 35-0 in the spring game, so I was in a bad mood all summer long,” Williams said with a chuckle. “We changed the offense, and when we came back in the fall some of the leaders on the team took over some discipline issues on the team, and when you have players doing that there is nothing to coaching.

“We came back and beat them 7-0 in the fall and that is a credit to the guys who stuck with it.”

On the drive up to Callaway Stadium on Thursday, Williams was flooded with memories of times long since past. He thinks of the lives he impacted on the gridiron and the impact this area had on him as a coach and as a man.

Williams passes through Troup County somewhat frequently and always wonders alone with his wife why their stay in the area was as brief as it was.

“When I told my wife that they would be honoring me before the game, she said ‘I can’t wait,’” Williams said. “Both our kids were born here, and there were a lot of nights for her at this stadium while I was coaching.

“Every time we pass through she asks me why we left here.”

Williams’ impact at Troup High could be felt generations after he left the school. Bubba Jeter, who played for Williams, said that he was one of the biggest factors in Jeter eventually going into coaching, where he led Troup to its first semifinals in playoff history.

Before Williams took over the team had just one playoff appearance in its history — a run to the state quarterfinals in 1972.