Thomas E. Williams
Tom grew up on a farm in northern Ashland County and played Little League and Pony League baseball for Albion, the Ashland County Youth League. Tom had watched his Dad play fast pitch softball for the Jackson Grange while he was a little kid. At age 16 Tom started playing softball and after his junior year at Black River High School he gave up baseball to play softball entirely.
Tom played for various teams while attending Ashland College, such as Knapp Shoes, Hyco, and Shelby V.F.W.
In 1967, Tom went to New London High School to teach and coach. He was an Assistant Coach in Football and basketball, and Head Golf Coach. In 1968, his golf team won the Lakeland Conference Championship. This was the only championship New London won in any sport while they were in the Lakeland Conference.
In 1970, Tom came to Ashland Junior High to teach and be the Head Freshman Football Coach. He later moved to the varsity staff and was very proud to be part of the 1971 and 1972 Cardinal Conference Championships under Head Coach Paul Dienstberger.
In 1971, Tom formed a men’s fast pitch softball team, Ashland Businessmen. He played and coached for eleven seasons under various sponsors, including Bob-A-Lou, Mr. D’s, Creative Cartons, and Ashland Merchants-ESS. In 1982, Tom became a Coach and Business Manager of Faultless Rubber softball for the next six seasons.
In 1979, Tom took over as Head Coach of the Ashland Arrows Softball Team. He led the Lady Arrows for the next 22 years compiling a record of 315-129, for a .709 winning percentage. At the time of his retirement from coaching he was on the Top Ten All-time Winning Softball Coaches List in Ohio.
During his time as Head Coach the Arrows won six Cardinal Conference Championships and eight Ohio Heartland Conference Championships. The Lady Arrows won ten sectional championships, six district championships in 83, 84, 86, 89, 96, and 97. The Arrows were regional runner-ups in 84, 89, and 96. They were Regional Champions in 1997 and also State Runner-Up that same year.
The Arrows had seven players that received All-Oho status during his tenure. They were Laura Vermilya (1986), Donna Lash (1987, ’88, ’89), Kolleen Kopchak (1990, ’91), Becky Foster (1991, ’92), Joni Derr (1995, ’97), Julie Mulkey (1998), and Erin Brubaker (1998, ’99). During that time Ashland had over 50 players make All-District and over 120 players that made All-Conference.
Tom served as president of the Northwest District Fast Pitch Softball Coaches Association from 1990-96. In 1997, Tom was honored by the Ohio Amateur Softball Association by being inducted into the Hall of Honor. In 1998, the Ohio Fastpitch Coaches Association awarded him their Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award, and in 1999 he was voted into the Softball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Tom has been married to his wife Donna for over 35 years. Donna has been the Tournament Manager for the Ohio High School Association State Softball Tournament for the past 16 years.
Tom and Donna have two children, Tommy and Teri. Tommy, is a teacher and Head Football and Head Baseball coach at Hillsdale High School, and is married to his wife Tammy. They have two boys Trey and Ty, who look to be players as they grow up. His daughter Teri is a former softball player at Ashland and is now a Sales Representative for Kehl Kolor.
Tom still works at the Ashland City Parks and oversees the Girls Summer Softball program.
Nominators: Norm Fierbaugh & Loren Green