In Play with Tom Markowski


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Black History Month: Mike Williams of Flint Beecher is a winning coach on the court, and a community leader off

By: Tom Markowski, February 13, 2017, 11:31 am

Flint – At age 40, Mike Williams still has time on his side.

When one looks at what he’s accomplished as a coach, Williams has established himself as one of the best in his profession.

Flint Beecher has won four of the last five Class C titles with Williams on the bench. In 2008 his Beecher team lost in the final.

This season Beecher is 12-4, 9-0 in the Genesee Area Conference Red Division, and ranked No. 2 in State Champs’ latest poll.

Yet one gets the feeling that there is more to Williams and what he is capable of doing. Perhaps he will remain at Flint Beecher as the orchestrator of the boys basketball program and in the Flint Community Schools as a teacher.

Maybe he won’t. Williams would relish the opportunity to coach in college, should the path lead him in that direction.

“I have put out feelers,” he said. “I’ve talked to coaches. It’s a matter of getting the right relationship.”

Among the coaches and former coaches Williams has spoken to include a few of his mentors including Tony Holiday and Norwaine Reed. Former NBA player Tim McCormick is among those who have counseled Williams. The timing has to be right in order for Williams to take that step.

“I have to treat (coaching in high school) like I’m an NBA coach,” he said. “I put that faith in God. I take pride in knowing I’m happy to help the community. When that opportunity comes, I’ll welcome it.”

As a basketball coach in the Flint area Williams touches many lives. Boys become men for those who follow his rules. Lives are enhanced through his direction. Some lives are saved.

Williams understands his responsibilities to the community. And he also understands the responsibilities he has to his family. Sometimes hard choices have to be made.

He and his wife, Patrese, have two children, both of whom are boys, Buddy, 10, and Cayden, 2. Williams is close to finishing his Master’s Degree in Education Administration and his job as an educator often leaves a few precious moments in a day for his family. They are moments he doesn’t take for granted.

In early 2015 Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The symptoms surfaced as early as 2008. He said he “feels good” as long as he receives the proper rest and maintains a strict diet. Williams takes medication twice a day, continues to suffer from chronic fatigue and vertigo but said it’s something he has to work through.

Last month Williams had to endure another of life’s transitions when his grandmother died.

Through it all Williams remains upbeat.

“I’m blessed,” he said. “My athletic director (Courtney Hawkins) said I have nothing to prove. Relax and enjoy it.”