Judson promotes assistant coach to top spot
Rodney Williams felt he had the résumé to be a high school head football coach.
Williams was offensive coordinator of four teams, at two different schools, that advanced to the UIL state semifinals. But when he put his name in for head-coach openings at Gonzales, Clemens, Madison and Steele, the outcome was the same.
The job went to someone else.
“It made you question yourself a little bit,” Williams said. “It’s like, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ My mom told me, just leave it in God’s hands. Someday, somebody will give you a shot at what you need to do.”
The opportunity came Tuesday when Williams was promoted from assistant coach to interim head coach at Judson. The Judson ISD board of trustees approved Williams with a 6-0 vote after meeting for an hour in closed session.
Williams replaces Sean McAuliffe, who resigned April 18 after five seasons to become head coach/athletic coordinator at Cy Ranch, near Houston.
RELATED: O’Connor baseball coach announces retirement
McAuliffe, a 1993 Judson graduate and a defensive lineman on the Rockets’ 1992 Class 5A Division I state title team, was 54-13 during his tenure and guided his alma mater to two state semifinals, one regional final and two district crowns.
“We’re very pleased with the direction of the program,” Judson ISD athletic director Mike Miller said. “It’s been very successful, and we want to continue that success. Coach Williams is a big part of that success. He has all the criteria necessary to continue taking the Judson Rockets to excellence.”
A Flatonia native and St. Mary’s graduate, Williams will become the Rockets’ third head coach in nine seasons. He follows Mark Smith (2012-13) and McAuliffe (2014-18).
He came to Judson in 2012 after 12 seasons on coach Greg Ferrara’s staff at Clemens, including seven as offensive coordinator. He was promoted to the Rockets’ offensive coordinator in 2014.
Judson has been a state powerhouse since the early 1980s, winning six state championships under head coaches Frank Arnold (1983), D.W. Rutledge (’88, ’92, ’93, ’95) and Jim Rackley (2002).
RELATED: SACS sweeps TAPPS state championships
The Rockets have recorded a state-record 42 straight winning seasons — a streak that began in 1977 under the late Jerry Sanders — and have compiled a 444-101-5 record during the span.
They advanced last fall to a regional final for the 23rd time in the past 37 seasons before falling to Austin Lake Travis 38-21 at the Alamodome.
“You can’t ask anything else but to be at Judson,” Williams said.