East Carolina University women’s golf coach Kevin Williams thinks being a Pirate means having a lot of pride in where you are from, and loves the growth and energy he sees around Greenville right now.
Williams has a long history with ECU as both a student and a coach. After graduating from ECU in 1985, Williams started working for Kinston Country Club as the assistant golf professional. He was later promoted to head golf pro and was helping coach a local high school team.
Before getting into the golf industry, Williams had already intended to coach basketball and teach, so transitioning into a golf coach role was not a far stretch. During this time he was also giving private golf lessons to Dave Hart who was the athletic director at ECU at the time. Between Williams’ love of teaching and conversations with Hart, Williams was chosen to be Hal Morrison’s replacement when he retired in 1995.
“The thing I take the most pride in, the highlight of the golf here at ECU for me, has been the reputation that we’ve built nationally through our program,” Williams said.
After replacing Morrison as the men’s golf coach, he then assisted in starting the women’s program in 2000. He takes a lot of pride in the reputation that the women’s program has built over the last 19 years, and also in seeing the players he coaches grow.
“Watching people grow with the game,” Williams said. “The satisfaction I get from teaching. I give private lessons on the side as well. Communicating with students and watching them learn and apply what we’ve worked on to make them better so they can enjoy the game more.”
Williams got a little choked up saying that his favorite part of being a coach is receiving pictures from former players of their children. But the most memorable season as a coach for ECU was the 2007 season.
Williams had just returned after being gone for a year and a half at the time. The team had a lot of motivation after their coach, Williams’ replacement, had left to coach for the University of Virginia. They went on to win six games that season and almost made it to nationals.
“That motivation, we kind of fed off of. We used it, I used it to say ‘hey let’s show them.’ We actually played against Virginia in January and beat them. I can’t tell you how great that was,” Williams said.
Williams doesn’t consider his coaching style to be different or unique, he believes in having a consistent baseline for his athletes to rely on. Keeping his schedule consistent so his players know where they are going to be, in return helps them stay on track and prioritize, as well as keeps them on top of their school work.
“He is very accomodating which does help because there is not as much pressure then on going to practice on certain days,” senior golfer Kate Law said.
Williams’ senior golf players Kate Walsh and Carley Cox described him as persevering, full of energy and very positive. Walsh, who is from Australia, even considers him as a father figure, making it a little easier to be so far away from her own father.
“He always brings the energy,” Cox said. “He is so much fun to be around. Positive energy, he is a great person, a great coach, he cares about his players, pours into us every day. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better coach.”
Williams described his team this season as being very kind and humble. The season got off to a good start, but was stunted by the effects from Hurricane Florence. With a few hiccups to the momentum of the team, such as having to cancel its home tournament, it kept pushing and have come into the spring season even stronger.
When Pirate fans look at the improvement and strides Williams has made with the golf team, they have nothing but appraisal for the work he has done up to this point. Williams finds the future of this golf team to be very bright.
“The ball is going straighter and further than it has ever gone. The women’s game is the deepest it has ever been,” Williams said.