Questions about the health of former football coach Vic Williams have been whirling around the area for months. Many Thomas Dale alumni and fans have shown their concern. Coach Williams died on Saturday, Nov. 20, after a drawn out battle with cancer.
“His legacy of setting a winning tradition as a Thomas Dale Knight was secondary to his setting of high expectations for his athletes and students to continue excelling in their academic careers while striving to be their very best in their athletic endeavors,” said Judy Crocker, a 1972 Thomas Dale alumna.
Williams lived and breathed the sport of high school football and accomplished his dream of a Virginia High School League Group AAA, Division 6 championship at the culmination of the 2009 season. He won 213 games and seven Central Region championships during his 23 years as head coach.
His strength was in his relationship to his players. Williams’ ability to relate to his Knights may have come from his time as a quarterback at Thomas Dale. His coaching produced at least 100 college scholarships and three NFL players – William Henderson, Rudi Johnson and Ken Oxendine. Proving their devotion to Williams, these players were not above returning to Chester for summer football camps, motivating young players to stay the course.
In October, the Chesterfield County School Board voted to name the field house at Thomas Dale the Vic Williams Field House. William “Boogie” Henderson, who played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers and was there for their Super Bowl win in 1996, was at the School Board session. Williams attended the 2005 Pro Bowl proudly rooting for Henderson and Johnson.
“He believed it was an honor to serve this school,” Henderson said, commenting on the naming of the field house in October. For Williams, it wasn’t about winning state championships, but rather about getting kids into a position where they could get college scholarships.
Thomas Dale Principal Rob Stansberry said: “He’s more than a teacher. He’s more than a coach.”
Bermuda District School Board Member Marshall Trammell said Williams taught life lessons on and off the field. Trammell’s words ring true even after Williams’ death. “Vic, if you’re watching, we love you,” Trammell said during the field house naming proceedings.
After the Associated Press and the Virginia High School Coaches Association named him “Coach of the Year” last year, Williams finished his career on top and he resigned at the end of the school year in May.
Williams is survived by his wife, Lyn, and his two children.
A funeral has not been planned, although a celebration of Williams’ life will take place at Thomas Dale on Jan. 3, 2011 at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to a coming scholarship in his name.