Williams makes a hometown return to inspire local coaches
“This is the coolest thing I've done - listen to me say this - to return to my hometown school to speak to the entire staff,’” said Brent "Buzz" Williams, who spoke at the Van Alstyne ISD Convocation on Aug. 7.
Williams is currently the head basketball coach at Texas A&M University. He also had head coaching stops at Virginia Tech and Marquette universities.
At Marquette, he led his team into the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. This past season at TAMU, he was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year for his unexpected success in his first season.
The story of the journey from a non-standout player at Van Alstyne, Williams’ self-description, to a head coach at the D1 level of collegiate basketball is something out of a Hollywood script - one that started by watching basketball practice at Navarro Junior College that he was attending. The head coach said, "The only way you can do that is if you do some work."
Before stepping in front of the large, socially distanced crowd in the gymnasium, he met with the coaches of Van Alstyne. The special meeting was a chance for him to connect, encourage and challenge those who share the same calling.
Williams took the opportunity to challenge them to be the "Coach Weatherley" in someone's life, and the difference it could make.
Mike Weatherley, a former Van Alstyne High School coach, was in the room as Williams spoke about the role Weatherly played in his life.
The “Buzz” nickname that has replaced his first name in the world of college basketball came after he left Van Alstyne. It is not because of his haircut, but because of Williams’ uncommon energy that is quickly evident upon being in the room with him.
Williams talked about Weatherley as one of the people in his life who still calls him Brent and has known him since before the nickname and fame.
Williams said that he played sports that he had no interest or talent for while at Van Alsrtyne just to be around Weatherley.
"I couldn't play anything ... but I loved being around coaches. I played tennis because it was Coach Weatherley's second sport. I never owned a racket. I used Coach W's racket for practice and matches. I couldn't play a lick, I just wanted to be around Coach."
Williams spent some time speaking to the coaches about areas of their vocation, summarizing the tasks in the “what” and “how.”
However, he emphasized that it was their “why” powering the actions of “what and how” that make the difference. It's the passion and reasons why they coach.
Williams said, "They (students) are counting on you. They do not know their 'why.’ You know your 'why,' they don't know their 'why' yet, but they are watching you, and because they are watching you, they are determining their 'why.'
"I wanted to be the person today to remind you why you do it, to give you a little bit of perspective," he said. “Don't look at them as the people they are now. Give them some grace, give them some love, give them energy. Be the example to them - not so they can be coaches, but be the husband, father, the wife, the mother they are going to become. Give them grace even when they don't deserve it.”
Williams spoke of the power of a coach in the life of a student - the power that impacted his life.
"One of y’all is Coach Weatherley. All of y'all are Coach Weatherley, and you have to do your job."