There may have been a few raised eyebrows when handed the role during the summer, but it seems it was always a case of when, not if, Yorick Williams would take on the role of coaching the Manchester Giants.
Growing up in the Moss Side area, Williams made his BBL debut for the original Giants twenty-one years ago and after a long playing career, he’s now back in the city where it all began.
As the hometown boy coming back to lead his hometown team, it feels like it was always destined to happen one day.
For a number for years Williams resisted the temptation to move into a coaching role, preferring to concentrate on the playing side.
But, the opportunity during this past summer came at just the right time.
“I think it was a natural progression,” said Williams.
“The Giants approached me when Jeff Jones was stepping down to concentrate on community projects.
“I played for Manchester a long, long time ago and then came back and played a few years back under Jeff.”
“It was put to me back then whether I would like to coach and at the time, I was not really interested.”
Having turned 40 during the summer, Williams accepts his days playing are numbered and says this played a part in his decision to take the role.
He added, “When I played at Leicester last year, the conversation was going more towards coaching, since the body’s not what it used to be.
“It’s bizarre as the mind still wants to play, but I can only sustain it for so long and then my body’s telling me to sit down.”
Having initially resisted the overtures, Williams is embracing his new role and is grateful to his peers for the help they are giving him.
He revealed, “I am finding it interesting and exciting and I’m learning a lot from other coaches around the league and they have given me lots of advice.
“I used to help out on the bench at Leicester a lot, but to actually be in charge and making all the decisions is way different, but I am enjoying it.
“I am constantly on the phone with other coaches and it is a great network to have.
“I speak to Jeff [Jones] a lot and we have a great relationship.
“Me and Rob [Paternostro] are best friends, and he is a coaching mentor to me. He has been there, done it, and got the t-shirt.”
It has been a difficult start to the season for the Giants, who go into tonight’s game at London Lions in the midst of a six-game losing streak, but Williams knew it was going to take time to get the Giants heading in the right direction.
“I’m just taking it one week at a time, one day if you like,” said the Giants’ player-coach
“We are not winning games right now but we are playing hard and trying to fix things as we go along.
“Once we start believing in each other and fix the mistakes we make, we are going to be really good.”
He added. “This is year one of many so I won’t look at the losses and start panicking, we have got time.
“I want to build a core and I have got a great group of young guys who are all working to get better.
“Everyone understands it is not a one-year thing.”