Mineral Bluff native Chris Williams donned a football uniform for the first time as a member the East Fannin Junior High School Wildcats in the fall of 1983. It was the first step in a 19-year journey during which the game of football would be an important part of his life, first as a player and then as a coach. His resume of outstanding gridiron accomplishments has earned him a place in the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame, class of 2017.
Chris describes his early days of football competition thusly: “Coaches Jack McHan, Robert Craig and Jeff Quinton took a big overweight kid with some skill and helped him develop and learn to love the game of football. This kid even became team captain his ninth grade year”. He also credits his Uncle Aldon Farmer, a charter member of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame, for encouraging him to continue to participate in athletics and try to make it to the next level.
The next level for Chris Williams came when he entered Fannin County High School. There, he played football and participated in track and field from 1985 through 1988. He was awarded three varsity letters in football and two in track and field. In track and field, he competed in both the shot put and discus events. He was a two time Region 8AA runner-up in the shot put competition and finished second in the Region in the discus throw at the 1988 Region track meet.
In football at Fannin County High, Chris played both offense and defense. He was named as the Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Union County in 1987 earning a grade of 91% for his blocking success in that game. He was singled out as the ‘Lineman of the Week’ on several occasions. Coach Marty Jackson said that Chris was “the best lineman yet to come out of Fannin County. He is a great athlete, a team leader who also leads by example. He came on real strong last season”.
At Fannin High, Chris played for teams that improved from an 0-10 record in 1985 to a mark of 7-3 in 1987. The latter was the best record that the Fannin Rebels had ever achieved.
After his high school senior season, Chris was awarded a football scholarship to attend the University of North Alabama, a perennial powerhouse in Division II college football. Teammate Brian Satterfield also received a scholarship from the Lions, and the two became the first athletes in Fannin County High School history to earn college grants for athletics.
Chris played four seasons at North Alabama, earning three varsity letters in the process. He played in the offensive line in 1989 and competed as a defensive lineman in 1990 and 1991. He was selected as game captain on several occasions as a junior and senior.
He stayed at North Alabama as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons after completing his playing eligibility. During those two years, Chris earned his Masters Degree and was a member of the coaching staff of the 1993 North Alabama team that won the Division II National Championship with an overall record of 14 wins and no losses.
Chris returned to Fannin County in August, 1994, where he began his high school coaching career. He was on the staff at Fannin for three seasons. The 1995 Rebels posted a school-best record of 12-1 and a final ranking of 7th in Class AA competition in the state of Georgia.
Chris went on to coach for four more seasons, at Forsyth Central High in 1997 and 1998 and then at Pickens County High in 1999 and 2000. During the summer of 1998, he was honored by being selected as assistant coach of the North team in the annual North vs South Georgia All-Star game played in Athens. He served as the offensive line coach and player liaison director. In addition to his football coaching duties, Chris was also the Head Wrestling Coach at Forsyth and Pickens County.
Chris describes his biggest thrill in athletics as just being one of the ‘Boys of Fall’. He says that he “enjoyed the competition and tough lessons that sports can teach you. I learned more from losing than I did winning but I enjoyed winning much better”.
Chris Williams currently resides in Blue Ridge with his wife Kristen. He is employed by the Gilmer County Education Department. He enjoys coaching his 10-year old son, Isaiah, in wrestling and watching 3-year old daughter Kensington dance. Isaiah is an up and coming young wrestler and has already won two state titles in his weight division.
He credits his parents, Rev. Larry and Beulah Williams, with being the biggest influences in his life. He also mentions the many coaches with whom he has played or worked, including North Alabama Head Coach Bobby Wallace, as being positive influences in his life and career. Finally, he credits his “second mom and dad, Dr. Ron and Kay Jabaley” and Dr. Tim Jabaley for their support and love “along the journey”.