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  • Uebelhor

Turnaround specialist new NH football coach


June 06, 2012
While a player at Castle High School, Mark Williamson's team went 0-10 his freshman year, followed by a one-win season his sophomore campaign. Steady improvement led to a stellar season in 1981 when Castle won a regional title, followed by a state title in 1982.

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Mark Williamson
"I just missed that state championship, and graduated the year we went to semi-state," Williamson said.

Rebuilding programs is nothing new to Williamson, who was named the head football coach at North Harrison May 10.

Following his playing days at Western Kentucky University as a safety, Williamson returned to Castle as the freshmen coach in 1988. He was also in charge of the strength and conditioning program, and, in 1993, was named defensive coordinator. A year later, the Knights won a state title.

"The state championships brought a lot of notoriety to the school and community of Newburgh," Williamson said.

In 2007, Williamson went across the Ohio River as a defensive coordinator and helped turn around Daviess County (Ky.) to seasons of 8-4 and 9-3 records after struggling in previous years.

Most recently, Williamson took on the Franklin County program as the head coach in 2009. His overall record of 16-18 becomes impressive through the strides they made in three years.

"When I got there, we had 35 players in the program," Williamson said of the Class 4A school. "We were 0-10 my first season, but I didn't get there until June 1. With one full off-season, we were able to gain speed and size and finished 7-5, losing to East Central in the sectional championship."

This past season, Franklin County went 9-3 and lost to Columbus East, which featured Notre Dame signee Gunner Kiel, in the sectional championship.

Now Williamson brings his football knowledge to Ramsey in an attempt to lift the Cougars program.

"I know it has been mediocre as a football program goes," Williamson said of North Harrison. "The administration has made a commitment and the community has made a commitment to do this thing the right way. That was enough for me. To get the administration to take athletics as an important part of these young men's lives is an important start."

Williamson becomes the third football coach in as many years for North Harrison. He succeeds Greg Burton, who went 4-6 in one season.

Off-season workouts have been a key to Williamson's success. But he said the 2012 version of the Cougars will be a step behind.

"Summer is the time to get guys into football shape. Where all the work is done is November to May and that window is closed for the 2012 season," he said. "The one thing you can control is getting kids bigger, strong and faster. Everywhere I've been, that's been a big part of the success."

North Harrison will open the football season at rival Crawford County on Aug. 17 in the Battle of Ol' Blue.

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