Selma native Porter Jr. led Samson to AHSAA regional

Published 7:50 pm Monday, March 20, 2017

It’s been several years since Selma native Bill Porter Jr. made a visit to his hometown, but the city is never too far from his mind.

He graduated from Selma High School in 1990 and served as assistant basketball coach at the school for three years before being hired as the head basketball coach at Dallas County High School. Porter Jr. has also made stops at Headland High and Dothan High School, and currently serves as the head boys’ basketball coach at Samson High School.

“I remember playing at the old YMCA in Selma and I remember it being as early as the third or fourth grade,” Porter Jr. said. “Just knowing that I loved the game … I knew then that one day that I wanted to be a basketball coach.”

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Porter played basketball at Selma High under coaches A.A. Sewell and Willie Maxey. After high school, he played at Berry College in Rome, Georgia for Todd Smyly, a Selma native that helped lead the Saints to the 1977 4A state championship.

Now, he’s making his mark in Samson, where he’s coached the last five years.

Porter just wrapped up his 19th season as a head basketball coach, and it was one of his most successful. He led Samson High School to an appearance in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s South Regional this year and was also named Geneva County coach of the year.  Samson, a team where 11 of the 12 players were seniors, lost to Barbour County in the South semifinals.

“I was real proud of my guys. This is a special group here and I’ve had them all since the eighth grade,” Porter Jr said. “This is our fifth year together and they accomplished some great things as seniors.”

Berry said he hasn’t been to Selma since 2013, and he hasn’t coached a game in the county since his first year at Dothan High. Samson was invited to Selma High’s Thanksgiving Tournament last year, but had already agreed to the max number of tournaments allowed in a season.

“We had already filled our three tournaments,” Porter Jr. said.

Although the season just ended in February, Porter Jr. is already looking forward to next year when he’ll have a new looking team. After a couple of seasons where he had a lot of experienced players, next year the Samson team will look a lot different.

“A couple of thoughts go through your head. Sometimes like me I’ve been coaching for 20 something years. I thought am I done, do I want to teach out my years and retire or do I want to keep on coaching? After a couple of days, I wasn’t real sure, but then you get back in the gym with the younger guys who are coming up and that passion hits you again,” Porter Jr. said.

“Now, I’m gung-ho and excited. We’ve started our spring stuff now.”