Sunday Sports: Former basketball coach reflects on his time at JCC

Sunday Sports: Former basketball coach reflects on his time at JCC

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The JCC Mens Basketball Team has had a great deal of success through the years, but the 2 best seasons in program history came under a man who grew up around the program and led them to new heights in his only 2 seasons at the helm.

Bob Williams’ first college head coaching job was at his alma mater.

In his 2 seasons at the Coffeen Street campus, Williams posted a 53-14 record and won 2 Mid-State Conference Championships and 1 regular season title.

“I think we were just fortunate enough to be able to lure some talent. And it’s not easy to recruit kids from New York City to come all the way up to Watertown, 20 miles from the Canadian border,” said Williams.

He led the JCC Mens Basketball Team to 2 straight NJCAA Final 4′s, and in his final season took the Cannoneers to the NJCAA Division 3 National Title game with a team led by all-Americans Floyd Burgher and Watertown High grad Steve Howard, where they lost to Eastfield College 79-75.

“In the ’97 national championship game, we were down, I believe it was 16 points with 8 minutes to go and didn’t look good. We were playing a team out of Texas but the game was in Delhi, New York so we had a lot of people from Watertown at the game and then we went on a big run and got hot and took the lead by 3 points with a minute to go and then unfortunately they scored the last 7 points of the game and we lost by 4. We had 2 kids foul out the last minute. Didn’t really have and depth and couldn’t get a basket in the last minute," said Williams.

Williams says his father, Bob Sr., was his biggest influence as a coach, but adds that he learned a great deal from his former high school hoops coach Lou Kibbling and former Potsdam coach Jerry Welsh, who Williams was an assistant under in Welsh’s final season with the Bears.

“I learned a lot about coaching in detail, coaching defense and organization and practice, planning. But I coached the J.V. team up there for a couple years and really was a great education for me as a basketball coach coming to JCC after that experience,” said Williams.

After leaving JCC in 1997, Williams went on to be the head coach at Glenville State for 5 seasons and then took over the reigns at West Virginia Tech, where he coached until last season, when he stepped down after posting a 402-304 record.

“I took this past year off coaching and I loved it down here. I’ve built, you know, I raised my family in West Virginia. This has become our home, Charleston, West Virginia, but Watertown will always be my true home. But it’s been a great experience. I am looking to possibly coach again. We’ll just see if that happens. It would have to be the right situation though," said Williams.

And if Williams does get back into coaching, the next team he has the opportunity to lead will not only be getting a quality coach but a quality individual as well.

Section 10 Boys Basketball not only boasted the best team in the state in the shortened 2019-2020 season, but the best player as well.

The Chateaugay Bulldogs finished tied for 1st in the state in the New York State Sportswriters Association Poll. Bulldogs senior Jonah McDonald was named the Player of the Year in Class D.

McDonald had a stellar season, eclipsing the 2000 point mark in his career and breaking the Section 10 all time scoring record set by Declan Porter.

“Break the 2,000 and win the sectional game at the same time was pretty, something special and just fun to share it with my teammates and stuff like that,” said McDonald.

“Working hard every day and getting, becoming the player he is comes with a lot of hard work and that’s how you get confident. And he was very confident in himself, in his team, his teammates. Whatever we asked throughout the years he was there and then above and beyond. You know, he did all the travel teams and the open gyms. When other kids were probably playing video games, whatever, he had a ball in his hand,” Said Chateaugay Coach Mike Martin.

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