By Darryl G. Smart
Tara Williams has always loved volleyball, and that passion for the game is on display when you see her around any gym. And for that, and many more reasons, she was honoured by the Ontario Volleyball Association.
This week, the OVA began to hand out its 2020 OVAtion Awards, and Williams was one of five named on Monday.
“This year to see our small club recognized for contributing to the development of the sport in Ontario by the association is just overwhelming,” Williams said. “I love coaching and to be recognized for doing something you love is amazing.”
In typical Williams form, winning this award wasn’t about her.
Williams said that she and a group of dedicated volunteers are just glad to keep the vision Simcoe Xtreme founder Stan Goch had in 2011.
“Really this recognition belongs to the club,” Williams said. “It belongs to all the coaches, players and families who have made it a great place to be over the past several years. I really believe that Stan’s vision to grow the sport of volleyball in the county has come to fruition and that this vision has spilled over and improved the level of competition at the secondary level.”
The Recognition Award is presented annually to an individual who has been involved in the development of volleyball at the club, regional or provincial level as an administrator (OVA committee work, referee, coach development, etc.) for five years or more.
Williams’ first coaching opportunity came in 1994, while teaching on an isolated Cree reserve in Northern Ontario. She started and coached a high school girls team that only played exhibition games, where the team flew to Moosonee, Cochrane, and Timmins because they were the only team in the area.
As a teacher at Holy Trinity, she coached senior boys and girls from 2012-2017, winning numerous Norfolk Secondary School Athletic Association titles, while also guiding successful teams at the club level with the Xtreme.
Now the vice principal at Assumption College in Brantford, Williams is president of the Xtreme club and is the head coach for a 15U team.
This past season, the 15U team won a bronze medal in the McGregor Cup and a silver medal in the Bugarski Cup.
“I love every minute of coaching, both at the club and school level,” Williams said. “Coaching is about much more than the sport. It’s about developing confidence and character. I love watching the girls develop a love of the game. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a player who is determined to succeed, master a skill and be part of the joy when they finally reach a personal goal.”