Coaches of Year: Williams, Moore led Bears, Hornets to Birmingham

Published 10:32 pm Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Times-Journal’s basketball coaches of the year took their teams to Birmingham for the Alabama High School Athletic Association state finals this season.

Keith’s Cecil Williams is the girls coach of the year after leading his Bears to the 1A state championship and Dallas County’s Willie Moore is the boys coach of the year after taking Dallas County to Birmingham in consecutive years.

During the summer, Williams thought his team could be special, but he wasn’t sure quite how far they’d come.

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It probably didn’t show until a Central Regional semifinal game in Montgomery against Loachapoka, the team that knocked the Bears from the playoffs last year. Down 11 late, Williams called timeout and gave his team the pep talk they needed.

“It was all heart. I have a talented group of girls,” Williams said at the time. “I called them to the sideline and took a timeout and they had their heads down. I told them if they wanted it, they had to play like they wanted it.”

The Bears hardly trailed the rest of the postseason as they dominated in double digit wins in Birmingham.

Williams dedicated his team’s championship win to the late Eugene Mason, who passed away before the state title game. Williams had known Mason since he was a child and the veteran coach had volunteered his afternoons to help the Bears for years.

This is the second time in three years that Williams has won girls coach of the year. He beat out Selma’s Anthony Harris, who guided the Saints to the Central Regional Final.

On the boys side, Moore beat out Selma’s Woodie Jackson, whose Saints’ lost only one area game all season (Dallas County) and Keith’s Tommy Tisdale, who had the Bears positioned at the top of the ASWA rankings most of the season.

Moore is a back-to-back winner of coach of the year. After losing last season’s Mr. Basketball award winner in William Lee, Moore guided the Hornets all the way back to the state semifinals.

He wasn’t able to coach the team in Birmingham due to being sick, so technically he hasn’t lost a postseason game he’s been on the sideline for since 2013.

He also won the National Federation of High School’s South Sectional Coach of the Year Award in January, which was awarded for the job he did during the 2014 basketball season.

Dallas County’s season ended in the state semifinals with a loss to Ramsay.

“Both of these coaches were able to guide their teams to Birmingham, which is the highest level of high school competition. Keith and Dallas County’s recent success makes that seem like an easy feat, but it’s far from it,” said Times-Journal sports editor Daniel Evans.”They deserve a lot of credit for what they were able to accomplish this season.”