From the Sports editor: Williams ready for new Caesar Rodney role

Freeman Williams stepped down as Caesar Rodney High’s boys’ basketball coach when he was hired as an assistant principal at CR’s Postlethwait Middle School.

In some ways, Freeman Williams was born to be a school administrator.

His dad, also named Freeman, was a long-time administrator in New Castle County.

A former teacher, coach and principal, he was a superintendent of the Appoquinimink School District in the mid-1990s and then of the Christina School District when he retired in 2016.

“He’s definitely somebody I look up to — and have always looked up to,” said the younger Williams. “I’m definitely proud of the things that he has experienced and accomplished.

“But, at the same time, he has always supported me in the different avenues I’ve taken. You’re writing your own story but it’s nice to have somebody you can lean on at different times. My whole entire family has been so supportive along the way.”

This week the 42-year-old Williams stepped down as Caesar Rodney High’s boys’ basketball coach when he was hired as an assistant principal at CR’s Postlethwait Middle School.

It’s not an unfamiliar story any more.

There’s any number of successful, young high school coaches who moved on to the ranks of school administrators.

Superintendents like Woodbridge’s Heath Chasanov, Milford’s Kevin Dickerson and CR’s Kevin Fitzgerald are all former coaches. And administrators Derek Prillaman (Woodbridge) and Lenny Richardson (Cape Henlopen) were both pretty good baseball coaches when they were younger.

As for Williams, he stepped down as the Riders’ basketball coach once before to pursue different roles within the district. He ended up coming back three years later to help rebuild the program.

This time, though, he’s planning to stay on the administrative side of things.

Williams will leave behind a legacy of being a really good basketball coach. His Riders teams were almost always successful, including reaching the DIAA state finals in 2009.

Williams knows there’s going to be times when he misses coaching. But he also hopes he can impact even more kids’ lives in his new role.

“It’s like you can’t thank enough people,” he said. “I’m thankful for the players that we coached, my staff and all the people that supported us. It’s an exciting time, a new chapter, and I obviously wish the next staff well.

“Obviously, all coaches would love to win every game,” Williams added. “But it’s not really about that. It’s about the relationships what we established with our kids. We have a lot of kids who have gone onto college, a lot of kids who have been really productive in the community, a lot of kids who are involved in the military and kids who have gotten into law enforcement.

“Those are the takeaways that you really appreciate when you reflect on things.”

Back on campus

Wesley College’s football offices have been housed in a few different locations over the years.

But there’s a feeling of coming full circle with them moving back into the basement of the campus’ main building this year.

They were in the same basement — although in a different hallway — when coach Chip Knapp was first hired as an assistant three decades ago.

These offices are a lot nicer than the bare-bones one that Knapp had back then (he just had an old spray painted-blue table with no phone).

After several years in the old Little School house near Miller Stadium, Knapp said there’s something to be said for being back in the middle of Wesley’s central campus.

“It’s nice to be on campus and closer to the guys,” said Knapp. “We have more access as opposed to where we were. Making that connection with the guys, we’re able to see them on campus — and actually see everyone else on campus.

“We were kind of isolated out there.”

The Wolverines also have a nice football display in a room next to the cafeteria that includes the program’s trophies and a portrait of former coach Mike Drass.

Local NFL update

Joe Callahan has now completed 5-of-7 passes for 78 yards in two preseason games for the Ravens. And how fitting was it that the former Wesley College quarterback’s 38-yard strike against Green Bay on Thursday was caught by Antoine Wesley?

Delaware’s Troy Reeder posted a team-high eight tackles for the Rams in his pro debut against the Raiders last week.

Another former Blue Hen, running back Wes Hills, has 51 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for the Cardinals.

Odds & ends

• UD put a story on its website this week detailing what Blue Hen football fans can expect at Delaware Stadium as it continues to be renovated this fall. Among other things, it noted that capacity will be only 16,730 this season because of the temporary press boxes on the visitor’s side. When the work is complete, the new capacity will be 18,309.

•The reason that preseason fall sports practice for Delaware high schools started three days earlier than usual this year is because the DIAA is now using the NFSHS standardized calendar. So other starting dates for seasons will probably be a little different in the coming years, too.

•About half the Henlopen Conference is slated to take part when Polytech High hosts its annual preseason field hockey play day next Saturday at DE Turf Complex starting at 8 a.m.

•Dover’s field hockey squad was slated to leave at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday to take part in an 8 a.m. play day at Tulpehocken, Pa.

•Former CR athlete and Delaware quarterback Sam Postlethwait was named the principal at Appoquinimink High this week. He had been the principal at Christiana High.

•The State News’ own Andy West has been named the new varsity head girls’ soccer coach at Lake Forest High. He’s been the coach at Lake’s Chipman Middle School for several years.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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