This season for the Powell County Pirates has been up and down, but recently the Pirates have been playing some of their best ball of the season, winning six of their last seven games. They have faced injuries, a tough schedule, and even a coaching change. Through all this, it hasn’t stopped the Pirates on their pursuit of a district tournament championship and a trip to the 14th Region tournament though, as they have locked up the top seed for the district. Through all of their adversities, new Pirates coach Blake Williams has found a way to turn this season around.
Williams, a former Knott County Central assistant coach, has always loved the game of basketball. Though at first he didn’t think he would go into coaching, as he was finishing college he realized he wanted to coach and hasn’t looked back since.
Basketball isn’t the most important thing in his life either. He is a devout Christian and he says his relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in his life. His wife (Kelsey) and his daughter (Hallie Blake), are his biggest fans and they mean everything to him.
I sat down with Coach Williams recently to discuss his first year in Powell County, here is our conversation below:
EK: Before coming to Powell, you were with Knott County Central for 8 years. What made you want to make the move here?
BW: I think the intrigue of the possibility of taking over as head coach of Powell County, a school I have always had a lot of respect for. It is a great location in the region and they are always competitive, so it was intriguing all around.
EK: So when you came here, you thought there was a good chance you could one day become head coach?
BW: I wasn’t really sure about what the exact time frame of that was, but I thought it could be a possibility within a season or two.
EK: You started this year as the assistant coach of the Pirates and have since been named interim head coach. How has this experience been for you so far?
BW: It has been a great experience so far. We’ve had some success in the last eight games and it’s given me a lot more experience. It’s just been great all around.
EK: There is a big difference in being the lead assistant and in being head coach. How have you handled the extra pressure and responsibility?
BW: It’s not been so much the extra responsibility and pressure, I’ve been in this situation before. I was co-interim head coach at Knott County Central while the head coach was out for a little while, so I’ve had a lot of experience with that. I use that experience to go with what I’m doing now.
EK: The Pirates struggled to start the season, going 3-11, but since you have taken over you are 6-1. What has changed for the team?
BW: I think it’s all with the boys. With all our players, they realize what they are capable of doing and actually going out there and proving that to themselves and all the other teams in the region as well.
EK: You had only one loss in district play, and have secured the #1 seed in the tournament. How do you feel about your chances in the tourney?
BW: Well I really feel like that if we continue to play to the level we are playing at right now and continue to improve our defense, we have a really good shot to win the district this year.
In Williams, the Pirates now have their coach for the future and all signs point to a very successful tenure with the team. He will surely do all he can to turn the Pirates into regional contenders soon and continue to keep them competitive now and for years to come.