By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.—Over the past several years, Cristina Williams has been a vocal point for the Cascade Cougar Volleyball team.
During the last seven, the Cougars have been 113-18 overall and 62-8 under Williams and have created a respectful and successful environment at Cascade High School.
Not to mention, for Williams, she has won her fifth Conference Coach of the Year award to this point of her coaching career; having won it in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 before adding her fifth this year to go with her All-State honor from 2013.
It is an absolute honor for me to receive this award,” said Williams. “My peer coaches are the ones who vote on it and it means a lot that they have chosen me each of those years. I think my favorite thing about it is when I get to share coach of the year along with player of the year with one of my girls which has been four out of the five years.
“I am humbled and blessed to have earned each and every one of those awards and the biggest reason I have earned those awards is because of my girls! I mean how lucky am I to have such hard workers who believe in this program and give so effort each time the step on the court. They are the reason why people notice this program and they are the reason we are so respected and successful.”
She won this Coach of the Year award the same year when Cascade Cougar junior Tori Lewis won the OWC Player of the Year.
But it’s not all about her.
It was the team around her taking what the seven-year coaching veteran and using them on the court in practice or in games with the philosophy of playing for each other and not themselves.
“We never play for ourselves and I really try to send the message to the girls that it is not about you but it is about us,” said Williams. “We are a family and we work together to achieve the goals that we make. This is my seventh-year coaching and building this program has been an honor. I am coaching in a great community that focuses on building strong character in our children and our coaching philosophy is just that. I want these girls to know what hard work is and that if you want something you have to work at it.
“I want them to know what it is to be a good person and be inspired to do great things in this world. I say these things to my girls all the time and express to them that they are capable of anything they set their minds to. I respect the girls and they respect me and this program. They believe in the program and what it teaches and guides. It’s not about winning ( even though it’s really nice to win). It’s about being a good person and inspiring them to be the great at everything they do. So winning this award I feel is not about me but about what this program is all about.”
And you can see what the program is all about on any given game night. Passion for one another, Williams supporting the team and pushing them to be the best that they can be.
The crowd, parents and the student body, you see the support from them as well as the girls feed off them as well come game day.
And Williams know that this award, no matter if it’s her first or her fifth, has inspire and drive her to be the best she can be to develop these young women into strong women by the time they get done wearing the Black and Yellow.
“I am always wanting to improve and continue doing the best that I can in order to make this program great, as well as help every girl who comes through this program,” said Williams. “To me it is not about the award it is more about the girls and having them compete to be the best they can be in school, volleyball and life.
“I want the girls to build their confidence and to become strong women and to know that they are capable of doing whatever they dream of. The world needs more strong leaders and good people and this is what the program is all about.
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