The Piedmont men’s tennis team has a new leader at the helm, as Matt Williams goes from being an assistant coach to becoming the head coach this season.
“I am inspired to be a coach because I know that athletics provide a unique environment to acquire essential life skills,” Coach Matt Williams said. “Win-loss records don’t make it to tombstones, but if you’ve impacted their lives, they’ll show up to your funeral.”
Williams received his undergraduate degree from Mercer University in 2012 and received his master’s degree from the University of Georgia in 2016. He started his tennis career at Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina in 2014 as an assistant coach. After leaving Southern Wesleyan, Williams became a graduate manage for women’s tennis in 2014-15 at the University of Georgia. Later in 2015-16, he became a volunteer assistant coach for the women’s team. Williams helped with the University of Georgia’s women tennis from 2014 to 2018, where he helped with recruiting and match day analytics.
With Williams at the helm, the team is hoping to build on its second-place finish in conference last season. In previous years, the team expectations were not as high as most of the players would have liked. But under Williams, that has changed, and players are already recognizing a difference.
“This tennis season is about the discipline and hard work we are going to have to put in,” said Cooper Kework, a senior player on the team. “I know it will pay off in the long run.”
Captain of the team, Kework feels the impact that Coach Williams is making this year. He is not the only one who feels the impact. The whole team can see the difference.
“Matt provides a major emphasis on investing in all of his players not only to become better tennis players, but better people. That says a lot about his character,” Kework said.
Williams wants the team to be closer together rather than being distant with each other. As a team he wants players to respect each other on and off the court. He also wants the team to be each other’s “safe place.” Communication is very big when it comes to teams, Williams said, and he wants the Lions to take it to another level.
“There is so much pressure on you especially if you are the last person on court and when you have that support from your team, which will help push you through the match,” Williams said. “We want the energy from our team to help encourage each other and push each other through the match.”