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Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Ben Williams is beginning his fifth year as the high school baseball coach at Nashville Christian School where he also teaches eighth grade U.S. History, seventh grade geography and two physical education classes. Williams was a second baseman and a Ken Dugan Award winner at Lipscomb. He was also a member of the Lipscomb Bisons team that defeated Gardner-Webb 10-9 in 15 innings to win the Atlantic Sun Championship in 2008 and earn a berth in the NCAA Athens Regional where they won a game against host Georgia. He graduated from Lipscomb with a degree in oral communication. Williams, the first recruit signed by Brian Ryman for Lipscomb, spent some time this week talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What sport did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
"I played baseball in 2007 and 2008. I came from Gordon Junior College in Barnesville in middle Georgia.
"I was recruited by Brian Ryman and Cliff Terracuso. I planned to play for Wynn Fletcher. I was also being recruited at the time by Jeff Forehand who was then the head coach at Trevecca. He met my parents. He was interested in me coming to Trevecca. We had that whole conversation. When I came to Lipscomb Jeff had moved here to be the head coach. It is strange how God works at times."
As a native of the state of Georgia why did you decide to finish your career at Lipscomb after spending two years at Gordon?
"I came up to Nashville in the summer of my sophomore year and played in the Sandlot Wooden Bat League for Brian Ryman on the Nashville Navigators. I had a good year. I had some success. I was player of the year in the league.
"The reason I came to Lipscomb was I wanted to play NCAA Division I baseball. I wanted to sign early and they were willing to let me. I could play early on. I could play the position I wanted to play. I had a better chance to have more opportunities while playing against good competition.
"To be honest with you, at that point of time in my life I was trying to put myself in a position to play professional baseball. Ironically, I found out that playing professional baseball was really not what I wanted to do. I found that out while I was playing.
"I thought coaching was better suited for me. I don't know if I would have done that if I had been playing anywhere else."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"Winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship game with Gardner-Webb down at Stetson's field in DeLand, Fla. It was an emotional game. It was up and down. I thought we were out of the game after being down 3-0 in the first inning. Then I thought we were going to win and then it looked like we weren't going to win.
"I remember the dog pile as we celebrated at the end of the game. It was just not about winning the Atlantic Sun Championship. It was about turning the program around and getting it back to a championship-type program. It was about reaching the goal we had set. We were glad we accomplished that."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Jeff Forehand was definitely my biggest influence in teaching me how to become the man I am today. He is one of the main reasons I wanted to become a coach because of the impact he had on my life. It was not necessarily how to be the best baseball player but how to be a good man and live your life where it has some meaning
"It was about leaving a footprint that is going to be worth something and that you are proud of and willing to stand behind.
"He taught us how we should treat people. I took away the most the importance of the relationships with my teammates, my friends and my family members. He taught us how to go about living our lives."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"It was definitely the down time with the guys on the road and during rain delays. We played stupid games in the hotel rooms. We had inside jokes.
"We would put mattresses against the walls and play basketball on our knees. We had some fun times outside of playing baseball.
"Every time I stay in a hotel I feel like I have to play a baseball game the next day. It was always all about getting up and taking batting practice and then going to play a game."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"The most valuable thing is having good relationships. I implement this the most with our players. One thing I learned from Jeff was how to be a better teammate and a better person. It is about being a good teammate and being responsible. It is going to make you a better baseball player, but you turn around and look and it is going to help you to be a better husband, a better brother, a better employer and a better employee.
"It is important to be a good baseball player but it is more important to be a good person. I want to teach them the intangibles that I learned at Lipscomb - how being a good person is going to make you a better baseball player and how those roads work together. It is about learning the small things."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"I had Dr. Tom Seals for several Bible classes. I felt like he was a straight shooter. Every day he was going to teach. It didn't matter if you showed up or not. It didn't matter who was there. He was going to teach the same lesson.
"He was very fair. He was very honest. He took everybody for what they were. He was not a judgmental guy.
"He had played baseball. I met my wife in his class so it was a win-win."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"This is my fifth year at Nashville Christian School. My first year there we had a very successful year. We went to the TSSAA State Tournament for the first time in school history and finished fourth. We have won three district championships and we have had six players go on and play college baseball somewhere."
Tell us about your family.
“I met my wife Niki Guldin in Dr. Seals’ class. We dated for several years. She is a nurse at Centennial. We have been married for almost two years.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.