First Flight’s Chad Williams talks shop
Anyone who has watched First Flight High School varsity boys basketball coach Chad Williams work the sidelines, knows that energy, drive and enthusiasm are very much part of the game plan. Now the athletic director at the high school in the shadow of the Wright Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, Williams is focusing his efforts on the entire athletic program at a place that has achieved more than its fair share of success on the playing fields.
We asked the athletic director to respond to a series of questions, ranging from how he views his job to the longest road trip he’s taken at First Flight. Here’s what he told us.
Q: How long have you been in the Dare County school system and how long have you been in coaching?
A: I have been at First Flight High School since it opened in 2004. I started coaching as an undergraduate assistant at East Carolina in 1994. I have coached cross country, golf, girls and boys basketball and filled in with track one season.
Q: In your mind, what’s the most important function an athletic director has?
A: As an athletic director you have to wear many hats. Overall, ensuring that our student athletes have the safest venues and best available practice resources and are led by the best coaches we can find is an ultimate goal. I also believe that being the face of the athletic program to the community and the voice of the coaches is a prime responsibility. Also, with the success of the programs that we have had, I think the athletic director needs to take on a fundraising role to take some of that off of our individual coaches.
Q: Given that Dare County is a small community, it seems like a number of its athletic teams punch above their weight class — soccer and wrestling certainly come to mind. What explains the level of success from such a relatively small population?
A: We have so many successful programs at First Flight. Ultimately, I believe a lot of that is in direct correlation to the tremendous job our youth coaches are doing and that Parks and Recreation and other clubs are promoting. Certainly, our soccer and wrestling programs and their state championships come to mind. However, we have a two-time girls golf state champion, emerging indoor and outdoor track and cross-country programs under Coach Chris Layton that resulted in state champions, and a football team that gets as much or more out their kids than any sport we have. We also once again had conference championships in boys golf and tennis and a boys basketball tournament championship for the first time.
Q: Are there any sports in which you are expected big breakout years at FFHS in the 2019-2020 school season?
A: We are very excited about our fall sports. Girls tennis is now being coached by Aly Andrews who brings an energetic and extremely impressive playing and coaching resume to First Flight High School. We also have hired Kevin Charles to lead our volleyball program. Kevin is well known in the volleyball community and has had an extremely successful club program and also at the high school level at Salem High School in Virginia Beach. Obviously, what Coach Ramirez and Coach Mount do with our soccer program speaks for itself.
Q: What’s the longest bus ride you and your players have had to take to play a game?
A: We actually chartered a bus to go to Asheville for the Coaches vs Cancer event last year. Second round of the state playoffs took us to Columbus County on the South Carolina border.
Q: Do you expect to be watching Katherine Schuster on TV in LPGA tournaments at some point?
A: I would be very surprised to not see Katherine on TV one day. She is an incredible golfer and a better person. She is awesome.