Editor’s note: Ross’ weekly column was inadvertently left out of Friday’s print edition. His weekly columns will resume running on Friday next week.
Maggi Williams graduated from Sidney High School in 1973 at a time that girls sports teams were forming within athletic departments and scheduling outside competition. However, the first OHSAA girls state tournaments in volleyball and basketball were still three school years away. Maggi was too early for the full high school athletic playing experience.
She enrolled at Ohio Northern University that fall and just 17 years later was named to the ONU Athletic Hall of Fame. In between she had a fine (if not exhausting) playing career with the Polar Bears that included four letters each in volleyball, basketball, and softball. At the time of her 1990 induction, Williams had already established herself as an outstanding and respected girls head basketball coach at Sidney HS.
Maggi’s Sidney resume’ eventually included 285 wins and a .705 winning percentage in 18 campaigns. She won three district titles and had amazing success in conference play including eight titles. Maggi was only 15 victories from 300 when she decided to retire from coaching in 1999. I was one of many who wanted to see her win 300. I didn’t think she needed any further validation but would like to have seen her in that elite grouping to enhance the memory of her excellence.
Williams appreciated our thoughts but said simply, “it’s time.” That’s the real Maggi, doing what she felt was truly right at the right time. However, the coach would work another 22 years as an associate athletic director who handled many duties including ticketing and game staffing. These 22 years extended well past her teaching retirement. She helped ensure that events ran smoothly and that visitors experienced a warm welcome.
Though the position opened four times during that span, she had no desire to become athletic director. “I like what I do. Somebody else can do that.” The Sinatra tune “My Way” definitely applies here.
It became official last month that Maggi has now fully retired from the Sidney City Schools. Once again, “it’s time.” She has other things on her plate and feels she’s leaving Sidney athletics in solid position. Williams has been one of its cornerstones. I’m sure we’ll still see her when we watch our Yellow Jackets.
I will miss her in many ways including her wit. Back in 2004 we hosted a tour of the new Sidney Memorial Stadium leading toward approval as a host site for the football playoffs. I was on top of the press box along with Maggi, AD Scott Stemple, and OHSAA football commissioner Hank Zaborniak when she made a remark toward me that started serious and got downright funny. “Dave, now you know what it’s like to be a minority. You’re the only one up here who didn’t graduate from Ohio Northern.”
Much of my life has revolved around Sidney High School and the Sidney City Schools. I’m both pleased and proud that Margaret “Maggi” Williams is one of us.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross is a 1972 SHS graduate and longtime fan of Maggi Williams. Since 2005 he has assisted her with football press box operations. Next Friday Dave will salute new Lehman Hall of Famer Chuck Asher.