High School Sports

Ex-UW player Jamaal Williams resigns as Thomas Jefferson’s basketball coach after 2 months

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar hugs Jamaal Williams after defeating Arizona 81-72 to win the Pac-10 college basketball tournament Saturday, March 12, 2005, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Williams resigned as the boys basketball coach at Jefferson after two months in the position, his first head-coaching job since graduating from UW about 10 years ago.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar hugs Jamaal Williams after defeating Arizona 81-72 to win the Pac-10 college basketball tournament Saturday, March 12, 2005, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Williams resigned as the boys basketball coach at Jefferson after two months in the position, his first head-coaching job since graduating from UW about 10 years ago. The Associated Press

Jamaal Williams was the boys basketball coach at Thomas Jefferson High School for two months.

The former University of Washington player said Wednesday that he resigned this week because he was unable to also get another position at Jefferson to supplement his coaching stipend.

"If it comes to me making a decision between basketball and my family – my family is always going to win out," said Williams, who is married and has four children.

Williams helped UW reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and again in 2006 and had spent the past two months since he was hired at Jefferson coordinating open gyms and coaching practices and summer league games. He said his coaching stipend at Jefferson was going to be a little more than $5,000 for the year.

He said the team was not a factor in his resignation.

"Things were going well," Williams said. "We had some bumps in the road early. We had a couple close games and we lost on like three or four buzzer beaters (in summer league). That didn’t affect me – where we were at.

"They were trying to figure out me and I was trying to figure out them. I was looking forward to getting a full amount of time with them working and putting things into place."

Williams spent the past three years as an assistant coach at Garfield, which won state titles in his first two years and reached the state semifinals last year.

Jefferson, a Class 4A school in the Federal Way School District, was Williams’ first taste of a head-coaching position after he had graduated from UW 10 years ago. Williams said he also applied for a job at Jefferson as a college and career specialist – the same position he said he held at Garfield last year – but wasn’t hired for it.

Federal Way Public Schools spokeswoman Kassie Swenson declined to confirm the reasoning behind Williams’ resignation, saying the school cannot comment on human resources matters.

Thomas Jefferson athletic director Gracie Holden had said in April when Williams was hired that she believed Williams was going to be coaching at Jefferson "for a while."

"He knows he’s going to have to create a program that is going to fit him," Holden had said said. "We have some great players coming in, but we’re losing all those seniors. In the same sense, I feel like he will be around for a while because this will be his program and it will be as successful as he wants it to be."

Williams said he isn’t ruling out a return to Jefferson if a teaching position were to become available. Though he said he’s also considering heading back to Garfield.

"If they figure out something and that works then I will come back," said Williams, a 2001 graduate of Centennial High School in Corona, California. "I’m not closing that option. But right now I have to do what’s best for me to step away and spend my time and energy on finding full-time employment.

"I loved being a part of the TJ family. I wish it had worked out. But we’ll see if our paths cross again down the road."

Williams took over for Kyle Templeton, a 1995 graduate of Jefferson. Templeton coached the Raiders for seven years, leading them to the 4A West Central District tournament this past season before resigning in February.

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677

@TJCotterill

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