New assistant coach a family man

Coach Williford spent time with his wife and son during the recent Mustang cookout at the Monette park.

AMBER ROLLAND – Hoof Prints Staff

He ran up and down the court. Passing. Shooting. Defending. Rebounding. He was out-of-breath by the end of the drill. After the team broke the huddle, signaling the end of the practice, he stayed on the court with Coach Eoff instead of joining the rest of the players in the locker room. This was because he wasn’t a player. He was the new senior high boys’ basketball assistant coach, Marty Williford.

After the senior high boys’ team fell one player short at a recent practice, they immediately responded with, “We’ll take Coach Williford.” Without missing a beat, he changed into a white undershirt and got on the court to continue the 4-on-4 drill demonstrating his devotion to the team and basketball itself.

Beneath this love and compassion for sports is a dedicated family man.

“My greatest achievement thus far in life is my family,” he said of his wife Ashley and their five month-old son Rylan. “I hope to be a successful father and husband. I hope I already am.”

His love for his relatives isn’t just limited to his household though. Williford considers his grandpa to be his hero.

“My grandpa’s seen so many things and gone through so much, yet he keeps going,” he said. “He never gives up.”

He also spoke fondly of his uncle, who introduced him to sports, and his late grandma, even though it was she who sparked his fear of mustard.

“My grandma gave me a big spoonful of mustard when I was little to help me get rid of my hiccups. I threw up everywhere, and now the smell, the look, everything, just repulses me,” he said. “She always wanted me to succeed at coaching, though.”

Coaching wasn’t always what Williford wanted to do in life, though his other option didn’t stray too far from it. He also once considered being an athletic trainer.

“I love to teach, and I’ve always loved basketball. I wanted to pass down the things I know,” he said. “Now that my eligibility as a player is up, I want to help the current players as a coach.”

Though coaching was always his dream and he went to college at Arkansas State University to pursue it, Williford temporarily sacrificed this goal for one special person, his wife. He took a break from college, effectively putting his plans of becoming a coach on hold, so that she could get her master’s degree before he returned to graduate.

Just like the main characters of his two favorite films, Rudy and Hoosiers, Coach Williford never seems to give up or let his dedication falter, whether for sports or for his family.