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Gettysburg finds its boys' basketball coach at Delone

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Lawrence Williams was very happy with his job as the boys' basketball coach at Delone Catholic.

But the opportunity to go home to Gettysburg High School proved to be too much for him ignore, and at Tuesday's school board meeting, Williams was unanimously approved as the Warriors' boys' basketball coach.

"I never had any intentions to leave Delone," he said. "What attracted me to the Gettysburg job is the fact that it's home. It's hard not to want to go back to coach at the place where you went to school."

A 2000 graduate of Gettysburg, Williams led the Squires to a 35-36 record and three appearances in the District 3 tournament in his three years on the job. They won a district game in both 2015 and 2016 and qualified for the YAIAA tournament in 2017 by virtue of finishing second in YAIAA Division IV before losing in the quarterfinals.

He had nothing but good things to say about his time at Delone.

"It wasn't easy to leave and I've developed some wonderful relationships with the people there," Williams said. "Gerry Eckenrode (Delone's girls coach), I love that guy and hope to one day be as successful as he's been. Dave Lawrence (Delone's athletic director) is another guy that I love. From day one, he made me feel right at home and I have great respect for him. I'll always be thankful that he gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach.

"The people at Delone, the players and the fans were great to me and I'll always hold a special place in my heart for them."

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One of the first things on Williams' agenda is meeting with former Gettysburg boys' coach Jeff Bair to get a feel for what his new players are like. Bair guided the Warriors for 12 seasons and led them to the district tournament eight times in his final ten seasons, including two trips to the state tournament before stepping down and taking over Gettysburg's girls' program. That position came open when Max Laing resigned in March.

"I want to get coach Bair's input on the players and what he has done over the years to establish the program," Williams said. "He's been taking teams to districts and states, so that's always going to be the goal."

Gettysburg went 7-15 with a team that entered the season with a brand new starting lineup and had four seniors in its starting five this past year, so there is plenty of playing time be earned. The team went 7-7 after an 0-8 start. The lone returning starter is Cade Eckhart, who averaged 12 points per game. Charles Warren (6.3 ppg) and Zach Ketterman (6 ppg) both saw significant time off the bench as freshmen.

A youthful roster isn't keeping Williams from expecting a good season from happening as soon as next year.

"I'm a realist and understand that things take time," he said. "That said, I believe that if you put in the work and you have guys that are committed to the process of getting better and you go out and compete every night that anything is possible."

Gettysburg athletic director Mike Williams headed the committee that made the hire and praised the new coach.

"Lawrence interviewed very well and he has a solid plan," Mike Williams said. "Everyone who was contacted as a reference had high praise for Lawrence as a coach and a person of integrity, including his former teachers who still teach here."

Before taking over at Delone, Lawrence Williams was an assistant at Dover High, coaching the JV team for eight years.

A three-sport standout in high school, playing football and basketball while also running track, Williams played college football at Lehigh University and was a three-year starter at defensive back. He completed his time there holding the Patriot League career record for interceptions returned for a touchdown with five.