When Kavin Williams steps on the University of Puget Sound campus, it is with a different perspective than he had a few years ago.
Back in 2009, he was the king of the hill – the starting quarterback in his senior season. Teammates looked up to him. Classmates admired him. He was set to graduate and do great things.
Three years later, Williams has returned – through personal circumstances and retrospection – as an assistant under third-year coach Jeff Thomas.
“Being back on this campus, I have mixed feelings because there were other things I wanted to do,” said Williams, now 25. “I still like the on-the-field time and the game days. Obviously, the results could be better, but the process of a college game day is still fun.”
Before Thomas made the Loggers a pass-happy program, Williams was the quarterback under former coach Phil Willenbrock, who generally called an offensive game plan closer to the vest.
Williams, an Ocean Shores product, was an ideal igniter for that style – a dual-threat who finished his career with 2,554 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, and 1,833 rushing yards.
When it was over, Williams still had the itch to play and created a player profile on EuroPlayers.com with links to highlight videos on YouTube.
Within a week, professional organizations contacted him about flying out for an interview.
“I almost could not believe it,” Williams said.
In the spring of 2010, Williams signed with the Basel MeanMachine in Switzerland. Each squad was allowed to utilize two American “import” players – and Williams was one of them as the starting quarterback.
Receiving room and board, and a salary that ranged between $500 to $2,000 per month, Williams led Basel to a 10-0 record, and the Swiss B League championship.
The level of play in the league, Williams noted, was comparable to the NCAA Division III level in the Northwest Conference, where UPS plays.
“The American players, they were studs – good enough to pursue a professional career,” Williams said.
The next year, Williams signed with the Helsinki Roosters in Finland. His season was cut short after three games when he learned his father, Ron, died suddenly of a massive stroke in Ocean Shores.
He returned home in July of 2011 to help his mother, Tricia, move to Federal Way, where his sister lived. After that, he settled down in the area, taking on different jobs. He currently works in sales for a telecommunication company in Fife.
Last summer, UPS offensive coordinator Jeff Halstead contacted Williams about an opening on the Loggers’ staff. He accepted, and serves as the tight ends coach.
“We want to have as many alums in this program. Kavin brings credibility, is well-liked across campus and is well-respected among the players,” Thomas said. “As a coach, he constantly analyzes information, and finds better ways to run our offense against whoever we are playing.”
With coaching comes a learning curve, Williams said.
“Playing quarterback, I could always draw up the way the offensive line was supposed to block on a play,” Williams said. “But I didn’t know a lot of the technical side of offensive-line play, so I have been working hard to get caught up on that.”
Williams is taking the coaching gig one year at a time. He still has thoughts about pursuing a career in politics or law.
“Coaching college football is year-round commitment,” Williams said. “I am not sure I can make a real decision on that until I see the whole process.”