Williams takes control of Roaring Fork’s boys basketball program
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Replacing a legend is no pedestrian task, but Roaring Fork High School officials think Larry Williams is up to the job.Williams, who’s worn several coaching hats for the Rams, will do his best to replace the man who led the Roaring Fork boys basketball program to five straight state tournaments – Roger Walters.After leading the Rams’ boys C hoops team to a 14-1 record this past season, Williams is set to make the leap to the top of the program.The view from the top is not unfamiliar territory for the Carbondale native and 1981 Roaring Fork High School graduate. Williams coached the girls hoops squad from 1994-99 and was the school’s athletic director from 1999 to 2004. Oh, and he served a seven-year stint as the head track and field coach and filled in for a year as the the football head coach.All that on top of numerous assistant coaching gigs since he started at Roaring Fork as a teacher in the fall of 1987.Now, basketball is taking center stage. Williams wandered back into the hoops world just before the 2007-08 season. He simply surrendered to a hoops itch.”I missed coaching basketball,” Williams recalled. “I just happened to tell (AD) Larry (Black) one day that if the freshman boys job came open, I’d be open to doing it. I didn’t know that Rob Velesquez had resigned and it was open. I was fortunate enough that Roger brought me on.”After a year of success, and sponging up all the coaching knowledge he could from Walters and assistant coach Rick Sorensen, Williams is the new face of Roaring Fork boys hoops.”It makes it a lot easier to walk away when you know the kids won’t miss a beat,” said Walters, who left Roaring Fork after five seasons with a 115-16 record. “Larry’s got good rapport with the kids, and he understands the X and O part of the game. The kids are going to play hard for him.”The man in charge of the hire is also pleased with Walters’ replacement.”It’s exciting,” Black said of his hire. “Larry’s coached a lot of different things at Roaring Fork High School. He tries to get the kids their money’s worth every time he’s out with ’em. He’s always a student of the game. He loves to learn everything he can about the different sports he’s working with. That’s probably one of his greatest qualities.”That quality also translates into Williams’ classroom, in which he’s a social studies and physical education teacher.”I think he really cares about the kids at Roaring Fork High School,” Black added. “He’s been here for a long time as a teacher. He grew up here, and the kids really sense that. They know he cares an awful lot for them, and he works really hard for them.”Williams is taking over a team that went 19-7 in 2007-08 and lost four seniors – including all-everything post Torrey Udall and exchange-student standout Matthias Weissl – to graduation. He foresees fielding a competitive team in what will likely be a balanced 3A Western Slope League.”I don’t see anybody really standing out,” Williams gauged. “Nobody’s going to be a pushover. It’ll be a battle every night.”
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