Football player, coach Jeremy Williams who battled ALS, dies

Jeremy Williams is joined by his son Jacob, daughter Josie and wife Jennifer, outside their new Harris County home in 2010 after appearing on the TV show

Jeremy Williams is joined by his son Jacob, daughter Josie and wife Jennifer, outside their new Harris County home in 2010 after appearing on the TV show ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’.

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Jeremy Williams, the former Kendrick High School football star who coached Greenville High School to an undefeated regular season in 2009 after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) the previous year, has died.

Williams died Sunday in hospice care at his home in Harris County, family friend Steven Camp confirmed to the Ledger-Enquirer. He was 50 years old.

“Jennifer and the kids (Josie and Jacob) are torn and broken, but they also see it as a blessing,” Camp said. “They celebrate the life of their father and their husband – and what a life, and what a role model.”

Jeremy served as a father figure to many of his underprivileged players. He was named the 2009 National Football Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association. Known as the “Georgia Assassin” for his hard-hitting style as an undersized but overachieving defensive back for the University of Memphis, he was inducted into the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Camp is the executive producer of “The Jeremy Williams Story,” a faith-based Hollywood film slated to shoot in Columbus in the spring of 2023 and debut in theaters during the 2024 football season.

“I wanted to sit next to him at home or at the cinema and watch this movie with him,” said Camp, who continues to fundraise for the project. “Unfortunately, that can’t happen now. But we are more determined than ever to do so. We will work hand in hand with Jennifer and the children. Jeremy is with Jesus, so let’s honor this man and honor his family.

Jeremy’s story went national in 2010, when the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” built a new home for the Williams family of four in Harris County, allowing Jeremy and Jacob, born with spina bifida, to move around more easily in a wheelchair.

Even though he could no longer coach football, Jeremy was still teaching life lessons by giving his testimony in churches and hosting Bible study groups in his home. He has also advised coaches and participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes events. He ate through a feeding tube and communicated using a laser machine that followed the path of his eyes as he spelled words.

The film will be based on Williams’ 2013 autobiography, “Tenacious: How God Used a Terminal Diagnosis to Turn a Family and Football Team into Champions,” co-written by Jennifer. A documentary about Williams, “Season of a Lifetime”, premiered in Columbus at Edgewood Baptist Church in 2011.

Funeral arrangements were not available prior to publication.

Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other youth issues. He also writes reports on any exciting subject. He has reported from Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter century. He welcomes your tips and questions about local news.

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