Legendary Shore coach Nancy Williams retires

Legendary Shore coach Nancy Williams retires


Legendary Shore coach Nancy Williams retires


Shore Regional’s only field hockey coach, Nancy Williams, announced her retirement from coaching at the West Long Branch school on Tuesday evening after 44 years of being the face of Shore Regional field hockey.

“It was just time,” Williams said. “It doesn’t seem like it was 44 years but the fact that it was 44 years is mind-boggling,” said Williams, who retires with a career record of 839-67-55. She is the winningest high school field hockey coach in the United States.

Shore Regional athletic director Harry Chebookjian said he withheld the secret for a little while because Williams wanted to break the news to her players first, which she did on Tuesday evening on what was a regularly scheduled meeting to update her players on summer plans.

“I’ve known since last Friday when she told me and thesuperintendent,” Chebookjian said. “I just sat there in shock. I couldn’t believe it.”

Williams, 65, who has coach at Shore Regional in field hockey but also softball, girls basketball, track and field and swimming, said she will still attend games but will be in the stands with the fans from now on. After the 2012-13 academic school year, Williams retired from teaching physical education and driver’s education at Shore Regional but coached in 2013, which was one of her greatest seasons as Shore Regional went 24-1-1 and won its 13th state title with a 3-1 victory over Collingswood on November 16, 2013.

“Before I think about all the big games and the big moments that stand out, I think about the players I’ve watched grow from student athletes to college players,” Williams said. “About 95 percent of them went on to participate in athletics in college and a lot of them became coaches and almost all of them are parents now.”

One great example of a Williams’ protégé is the late Southern Regional field hockey and girls basketball coach Kathy Snyder, who died on Jan. 24.

“Kathy was the best athlete that I’ve ever coached and when I got here as the field hockey coach (in 1970) she was a sophomore in high school,” Williams said. “She was a tremendous coach and she had an untimely death and her death weighed on my decision to retire a little bit.”

Williams is a 1966 graduate of Shore Regional and a 1970 graduate from Trenton State, now known as the College of New Jersey. She played field hockey, softball and participated in gymnastics for the Lions program before taking her first and only teaching and coaching job at Shore Regional at 22-years-old.

“She’s irreplaceable and she’s a legend. You just can’t replace her experience and expect things to be the same at Shore Regional year in and year out,” Chebookjian said. “She’s been here so many years and has created the tradition of field hockey at Shore Regional.”

Chebookjian, who has worked with Williams for six years as a school administrator and last season as an athletic director, said the search for her successor will start soon.

“When I went to coach at my alma mater, I started on the week of my 22nd birthday,” Williams said. “I thought I would stay for 10 years as a coach. Then I started to say after this kid graduates, I would retire. Before you knew it, we were into the 90s and I was still coaching.”

In her illustrious career, Williams has won 13 state titles and 19 Shore Conference Tournament titles including the last 15 SCT championships.


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