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Williams steps down after decade leading Burton hoops

Kevin Mays • Mar 25, 2019 at 10:20 PM

NORTON — After 10 years at the helm of the J.I. Burton boys basketball program, veteran coach Aaron Williams said it was time to call it quits.

For now.

Williams resigned his position as Burton’s coach Monday but remains as a math teacher at Norton Elementary Middle School.

A GOOD SEASON

“I just felt like this year we had a good season and I thought it was just time,” Williams said of his decision to step down. “There’s a season for all things and this was just time to finish here at Burton. I’m satisfied and content.”

Williams’ Raiders went 22-8 this season, the best finish in terms of wins and losses in the coach’s decade-long tenure leading the Burton program.

Williams guided the Raiders to a 149-101 overall record that includes eight winning seasons, including this year’s Region 1D championship, Cumberland District regular-season co-championship and trip to the VHSL Class 1 final four.

His 27 years as a coach included stints at Castlewood, Abingdon and schools in Tennessee and his home state of Indiana, with Williams amassing a record of 426-212.

Burton’s state semifinal appearance this past season was its second under Williams, who also directed the team to the final four in 2013.

Williams said on a personal level, this year’s team, which included his son Caleb, was one of the better squads he’s coached.

“The credit for that goes to the players and the parents,” the coach said. “It was one of the more enjoyable seasons I’ve had.”

THE FUTURE

For now, Aaron Williams said he’s content being a husband, father and teacher without the title of coach. He has no immediate plans to go somewhere else to coach but admits that door is far from closed.

“I’ve got a family and I’ve got a responsibility that I take very seriously to provide for my family,” he said. “Right now, I’m employed as a math teacher at Norton Elementary.

“If another opportunity comes about where I feel like there’s a chance to build a good program and I think it’s a good fit and they think I’m a good fit, then we’ll see. But right now, I don’t have any plans to go anywhere else.”

Williams said the new Burton coach won’t be inheriting a program that is bare.

“I remember my first season here. We were 3-15 and finished the season with six players. It was very frustrating,” he said. “We’ve built this program back up. We’re leaving a very good nucleus for this team.”

Building programs from the ground up has been a cornerstone for Williams during his coaching career in Southwest Virginia.

“One of the proudest things about my coaching career is the two years after I left Castlewood, they went to the final four,” he noted.

His legacy is another point of pride. Two of Williams’ players at Castlewood, Patrick Fisher and Chris Smith, landed at Burton in the basketball coaching field.

Fisher has been a successful junior varsity coach with the Raiders. Smith has held various jobs in the basketball coaching ranks at Burton, including as varsity girls coach the last couple of years.

“That’s been a good,” Williams said.

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