Porter gradually restoring pride to program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The Headland boys’ basketball team is in the midst of rebuilding, and Bill Porter Jr. is the architect.

Porter, a 1990 graduate of Selma High, is coming off his first season with the Rams – an 8-15 year that was a success in many respects.

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He inherited a group that included an eighth grader in the starting five and came within an overtime 3-point shot of playing in the area title game.

“We’re losing one senior, but we didn’t have much depth to start with,” Porter said. “We started one eighth grader, one sophomore, a junior and we might lose another to transfer.”

Porter saw dividends even before last season ended. Before losing to Geneva 58-56 in the area tournament semifinal, the Rams lost to that same team by 25 and then 12 in their two regular-season meetings.

“The poise they showed was important being so young,” Porter said. “We had no depth and no height whatsoever. Our tallest guy was 6-foot-1, and they had guys that were 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5.”

To say Porter is in the shadow of a legacy is an understatement. Steve Williams, Headland’s principal for the past 20 years, compiled a 455-122 record over 18 years and was an inductee into the AHSAA Hall of Fame this year. His resume includes a 1984 state championship win over R.C. Hatch, seven other state tournament appearances and a state Coach of the Year award.

But that’s not news to Porter. This is still the job he would like to have.

And after taking a year off before last season, that fact became clearer.

“I definitely wanted to get back into coaching; I was dying to get back in,” he said. “This is a basketball school. Any time a basketball coach gets an opportunity to coach at a basketball school, you want to take it. They told me up front it was definitely a rebuilding job.”

It seems Porter is well suited for the task.

He guided Wilcox Academy to a 10-win improvement in his first season as a head coach, and next year the Wildcats made the AISA Final Four.

In 1999, he coached Selma’s freshman team to a 17-0 record and was an assistant to Willie Maxey’s varsity squad when it went to a pair of regional semifinals.

He then reached the regional semifinals and won the regular season and area tournament title in his second year at Dallas County High.

Porter doesn’t particularly like the clich “five-year plan.” But with a team that still has some growing up to do, that’s the kind of timetable he’s working with.

“Our goal every year is to win the area tournament, and we’ll move on from there.”