by Seth Wilkerson
When former Humboldt Viking football coach Teddy Pettigrew announced his resignation last year, it left a void in the football program. Immediately after, Humboldt City Schools Athletic Director George Yarbro began the process of finding the next head coach.
Last week, Yarbro announce and introduced Hayden Williams, a seasoned football coach, as the head football coach of the Humboldt Vikings.
Williams grew up in Crockett County and attended Jackson Northside for his high school years, brings a wealth of experience and passion for the game to his new role.
In a press conference on Wednesday, January 10, Coach Williams expressed his excitement for the Humboldt job and his desire to see the Vikings return to their former glory. He acknowledged the rich history of football in Humboldt and the talented athletes that have come through the program in the past.
One of the challenges that Coach Williams anticipates is keeping kids within the system. He emphasized the importance of communication and understanding why some students may choose to transfer to other programs. Williams believes that building a strong program starts with getting the players to buy in and have a desire to be a part of the team.
“You have to get kids that want to be here and will show up for you and your coaches,” Williams stated, “and that’s what we will do here in Humboldt.”
Coach Williams has had an impressive coaching career so far. He started coaching in 2014 at Avery Trace Middle School where he held various positions and achieved a combined record of 20-12. He then moved on to the Trousdale County Tennessee School System, where he served as an assistant coach before becoming the head coach of the middle school team, leading them to a 7-3 season.
After a successful stint at Trousdale County, Williams accepted the assistant head football coach position at Bolivar Central High School. In just one year, the administration discovered they had found a gem of a coach. The program became a winning program and he was named the head football coach in 2021.
“I have nothing but wonderful to say about the Bolivar program,” Williams said of his former position. “It was a wonderful three years. I loved my time there but this was another opportunity for me to get closer to home. I get to spend more time with my wife. I get to spend more time actually working on football as opposed to driving two hours every day.”
Now, Coach Williams is ready to tackle the challenge of leading the Humboldt Viking football program. While he acknowledges the work that needs to be done, he is already evaluating the roster and believes that the pieces are in place for success. He plans to focus on setting a strong foundation for the future, especially with the upcoming seniors, and hopes to recruit more talented athletes that are already in the building and have yet to join the team in previous years.
When asked about his goals for his tenure at Humboldt, Coach Williams focused on the development of the players, both on and off the field. He hopes to help them become productive members of society and to succeed not just in football but in their lives beyond the game.
Coach Williams is excited about the style of football that he plans to implement at Humboldt. He is known for his offensive-minded approach and aims to create an exciting and dynamic offense that fans will enjoy watching.
“From a line standpoint, we have to be technically sound. We have to get these guys on the same page. I like to utilize a lot of speed,” Williams said. “And I like to get the ball in the athlete’s hands and let them go to work.”
Williams wants to help his players pursue opportunities at the college level and fight for scholarships, and have a chance to further their education and playing career.
The past decade has been difficult for Humboldt football. There has been minimal success on the field and Coach Williams looks for that to change.
“This offense is going to be fun to watch, especially this year,” Williams said. “I strive for good defense as well—be gap sound and blitz a little bit. Come out to the games this season. I think you will be excited to see the growth in this team.”
As Coach Williams and his wife Ashley settle into the community of Humboldt, they look forward to investing in the lives of the students and becoming an integral part of Humboldt City Schools. With his experience and vision, Coach Williams brings a sense of optimism and a commitment to success in the Humboldt Vikings football program.