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Gingrich speaks on Mike Williams retirement, early relationship

There’s been a lot talk since it was reported that Mike Williams decided that 2014 will be his last season as Manheim Central’s head football coach.

And rightfully so.

Under Williams, the Barons have gone 340-71-3 with 17 section titles and a state championship in 2003.

Williams exit after this year will not only be monumental to Manheim Central, but also the L-L League in general, which is losing one of its best personalities.

“Over the years, people have thought I’m not a very nice guy but I think people learn that I’m more than just football and winning,” Williams said. “I’m caring about the whole league.”

One of those who didn’t get along with Williams at first was Cocalico head coach Dave Gingrich, Williams’ counterpart in the L-L’s most fierce rivalry.

“As a first year head coach back in 2004 playing against the great Mike Williams of Manheim Central, it was intimidating. The first game I coached against him was at their place and when you lost, they turned the numbered sign over,” Gingrich said. “You never wanted to be over there when they turned the sign.”

Though they may not have seen eye to eye right off the bat, Gingrich explained that that through football, the two coaches were able to become close.

“Our relationship early on wasn’t good. I don’t know if it was because they beat the tar out of us and moved on to bigger and better things but as each game passed, our relationship got better. Our games got more competitive and we developed a good rivalry and when you have that, there’s always mutual respect.”

With Williams’ final showdown with Cocalico looming on October 17 in Manheim, he admitted that he will take some to relish the moment.

“There will be certain games that will be special, Cocalico for one. Dave and I have become pretty close even though he probably didn’t like me five years ago,” Williams said. “I think we have developed a different relationship now and competing against coaches like that is special.”

“Our relationship has grown through the games. The games have been ugly, hard-hitting and fierce but at the end of the game, we shake their hands and they shake ours.