Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith inspired by story of Greenville High coach Jeremy Williams with terminal illness

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. What about spring sports? Click here)

Mike Smith, the highest-profile football coach in Georgia, says he has been touched by the story of Jeremy Williams.

Williams has inspired many with his attitude toward his terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He led Greenville High School to an 11-1 record this past season, with the Patriots losing in the second round to the eventual Class A champions.
“It’s such a great story, the success they had as a football team,” Smith told the AJC recently. “But I also think probably the big story is the fight and will in Coach Jeremy Williams. He has got a really tough battle and such a great outlook on it. [Despite, the illness,  he is] out there coaching those guys every single day.”
“I think it is a great story, not only about the community and high school, but also Jeremy as an outstanding man.”
Williams will be the star of an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” that is schedule to air on ABC-TV on May 16. Williams had his house leveled and new one built to accomdate his health issues, along with those of his son, Jacob, who was born with spina bifida. The TV show also remodeled the fieldhouse at Greenville High School.Mike Smith, the highest-profile football coach in Georgia, knows all about the story of Jeremy Williams.

Smith is head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, which honored Williams earlier this year as one of the NFL team’s High School Coaches of the Week.

Jeremy Williams (right in red shirt) is congratulated by UGA recruit Kenarious Gates after the newly-remodeled fieldhouse in named in is honored (Photo by AJC's Curtis Compton)

Jeremy Williams (right in red shirt) is congratulated by UGA recruit Kenarious Gates after the newly-remodeled fieldhouse is named in his honor (Photo by AJC's Curtis Compton)

Williams has inspired many with his attitude toward his terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He led Greenville High School to an 11-1 record this past season, with the Patriots losing in the second round to the eventual Class A champions.

“It’s such a great story, the success they had as a football team,” Smith told the AJC recently. “But I also think probably the big story is the fight and will in Coach Jeremy Williams. He has got a really tough battle and such a great outlook on it. [Despite, the illness,  he is] out there coaching those guys every single day.”

“I think it is a great story, not only about the community and high school, but also Jeremy as an outstanding man.”

Williams will be the star of an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” that is schedule to air on ABC-TV on May 16. Williams had his house leveled and new one built to accomdate his health issues, along with those of his son, Jacob, who was born with spina bifida. The TV show also remodeled the fieldhouse at Greenville High School in late February.

Smith: Member of Jeremy Williams' Fan Club

Smith: Member of Jeremy Williams Fan Club (AJC)

Team: Greenville Patriots

Spring Game: None

Spring practice dates: May 3-16

Last year’s record: 11-1

Starters lost: 9

Follow the Jeremy Williams series in its entirety (click on each link):

Voted as AJC’s Sports Story of Year for 2009: Jeremy Williams remains undefeated, even against fierce illness

Photos: Greenville coach fights ALS

Story: Greenville, inspired by coach, tops Pellham in playoffs

Photos: Jeremy Willilams after playoff win

Story: Greenville coach a rock — and so’s his wife

Story: Greenville’s season ends with loss in playoffs

Photos: Jeremy Williams after team’s playoff loss

Story: Greenville football coach plans to return to sideline

Story: NFL star Michael Oher makes appearance at house renovation for Greenville football coach

One comment Add your comment

Shawn

April 30th, 2010
6:58 pm

First. And proud of it. Jeremy Williams is a great man. Ive had the pleasure of knowing him since we played little league together. Looking forward to May 16th and the Extreme Makeover show.