Lead Dog: Jerome Williams

Findlay Prep basketball head coach

Photo by Zack W

Photo by Zack W

ACHIEVEMENTS: The 6-foot-9 “Junkyard Dog,” an NBA first-round draft pick in 1996 after playing at Georgetown University, was a nine-year pro. He became a volunteer coach for Findlay Prep in 2008 and now is in his first year coaching the Pilots.

COACH’S CHALLENGE: Williams is attempting to lead Findlay Prep to its fourth ESPN National High School Invitational championship in six years. The Pilots, based at Henderson International School, have three McDonald’s All-American nominees. “Getting this many high-profile players to connect and give of themselves, that’s the challenge. Most young players are taught to be the guy. Now we’re saying, ‘It’s not about you.’ You’re trying to reconfigure their whole mindset.”

MOTIVATION: “The overall goal is not to produce NBA stars; it’s to produce well-rounded citizens who can contribute to society. I’ve always tried to take everything I’ve learned in terms of being successful in life and pay it forward in ways that better the lives of others: Yes, you’re gifted and talented, but how are you going to use this gift? What are you aspiring to ultimately become?”

PROUD PEDIGREE: Williams played for a Hall of Fame coach in college at Georgetown (John Thompson), a Hall of Fame coach in the NBA (Lenny Wilkens, in Toronto and New York) and his first NBA coach (Doug Collins, in Detroit) was an NBA All-Star as a player.

INTANGIBLES: He was college roommates with NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brendan Gaughan, the grandson of Las Vegas gaming pioneer Jackie Gaughan and son of South Point owner Michael Gaughan.

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