Last Thursday, Bossier High boys basketball head coach Jeremiah Williams accepted the position of assistant principal at Elm Grove Middle School.
On Friday, principal David Thrash named longtime assistant Nick Bohanan to replace him.
Williams’ exit ends one of the most — if not the most — highly successful head coaching tenures in Bossier Parish history.
In nine seasons, Williams’ teams won two Class 4A state championships and finished as state runner-up three other times. Bossier won state titles in 2011 and 2016. The Bearkats were runners-up in 4A in 2009 and 2010 and in 3A in 2012.
Bossier also reached the 3A semifinals in 2013 and 2014.
Before arriving at Bossier, Williams was the head coach at Northwood. He also spent three years at Benton Middle and two years at Parkway as an assistant.
As much as Williams loves coaching, he said his plan has always been to move into administration. He knew that whenever he decided to make the move, it wouldn’t be easy.
“I don’t think there’s every going to be a good time per se,” he said. “Like I was telling my kids, I love these kids, but in two more years these freshman and sophomores will be juniors and moving and progressing on,” he said. “I don’t think there will ever be a good time for me particularly so it was an opportunity for me to advance in the system and I had plans at doing that at some point anyway. After much consideration and prayer and counsel, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity that was given to me.”
Williams is thankful for the opportunity he was given at Bossier.
“I would like Bearkat Nation and the community to know how appreciative I am for the years I spent at Bossier,” he said. “I truly love our community. I’ve been blessed to be a part of it. They’ve embraced me. They’ve been supportive for the most part of me leaving. The word I’ve been hearing is bittersweet. I guess that’s great. I just want everyone to know how much of a blessing it’s been to be the head coach at Bossier High for nine years.”
Williams said he’s humbled by the incredible success he enjoyed.
“I know coaches that coach 30 years and don’t have an opportunity to go to a Top 28 let alone win a state championship,” he said. “To have been there seven times, played for a state championship five times and to have won two, it’s just a blessing.
“I’m humbled by it. I understand who I am. I’m a hard worker. But I don’t think I’m anything special. I just work hard and try to do the best I can and the good Lord blessed me to have success. When I look back I’m very appreciative. I don’t take for granted any of the things that I’ve done.”
Williams was happy to see Bohanan, his assistant for eight seasons, take over for him.
“I’m so excited for Coach Bohanan,” he said “He did so many things behind the scenes that he never got credit for. Anything we did we always pushed, even with our kids, that we do it together. When I got Coach of the Year, we got Coach of the Year.
“He and my other coaches didn’t get the recognition they deserved often because I’m the head coach. But he’ll now get a chance to get in there and put his influence on the program. Everybody’s coaching style is different. He’s been there with me. He knows what championship basketball looks like. He’s watched championship practices. He’s watched the process so I think that he’ll do great.”
In addition to assisting Williams with the varsity, Bohanan has coached the freshman and JV teams. He knows it won’t be easy following Williams, but he’s glad to get the chance.
“I’ve had other schools call, but I was kind of going to stay with coach Williams until he left,” he said. “I was hoping to get the opportunity to take over, so after Mr. Thrash said to do that I’m blessed to have the opportunity.”
Bohanan said the goal remains the same as it was under Williams — win the state championship.
“We’re going to try to keep it going. We hate to lose coach, but we all understand. We knew the time would come eventually. We’re going to try to keep the train on the tracks. Keep rolling.
“He isn’t leaving me with an empty cupboard. I feel like we’ve got plenty of pieces in place to make another good run. We’re fairly young really, majority sophomores and juniors.
“I’m excited about getting it going. We’re just going to have to put the work in and do what we do, that’s hard work and defense. That’s still going to be our mantra. That’s what we’ll live and die by.”
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org