CARMICHAELS — Don Williams reached a rare milestone among high school basketball coaches last year when he coached the Carmichaels boys to a 71-55 victory over visiting Bentworth for his 500th career win.

One might think Williams would consider stepping down after 43 years of coaching at one school and reaching that pedestal.

Williams happily has returned for a 44th season at Carmichaels, though.

“I still enjoy it, I still enjoy coming to practice and working with the kids,” Williams said. “You get satisfaction out of when you show them something and they pick it up and they see they can be successful by doing it that way.

“Whenever it comes time where it’s more of a job for me, then it’s time to step aside.”

Williams has three starters back from last season.

“Matthew Barrish, Dylan Wilson and Al Cree all were starters last year and big contributors,” Williams said. “We’re expecting a lot out of them.

“Garrett Ponick and Chase McAfee were also lettermen who will start for us this year. So we do have some experience coming back and, hopefully, that pans out into wins.”

McAfee and Barrish are seniors, and Cree, Wilson and Ponick are juniors.

Barrish is the point guard and leads the way for the Mikes.

“Matthew is like having a coach on the floor,” Williams said. “You tell him something one time and he picks it up instantaneously. He makes sure everybody is where they belong and in position and doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Carmichaels has a group of younger players who may work their way onto the court.

“We’ll have Jacob Hair, a senior, coming off the bench and we actually have three freshman that we’re looking at who might get some playing time,” Williams said. “That’s Christopher Barrish, Matthew’s brother, and Mike Stewart and Drake Long.”

The Mikes will again play in Section 2-AA although Fort Cherry, Frazier and Jefferson-Morgan have been replaced by Jeannette, Serra Catholic and Brentwood, joining holdovers Bentworth, California and Chartiers-Houston.

“This is going to be a very tough conference,” Williams said. “I don’t know a lot about Brentwood, but Jeannette and Serra Catholic are two of the top programs in the area who usually get deep runs into the playoffs.

“We’re just going to have to meet that challenge.”

Williams will again be assisted by Tim Jones.

“With Timmy, I don’t even have to show up,” Williams said. “He knows what’s going on in my mind and I know what’s going on in his mind. We work together very well and we’ve been together probably 27 years and he actually played for me for four years.

“He’s just a tremendous person and a very good coach.”

Williams has coached and met a lot of people over the years at Carmichaels, which was evident after that 500th win on Feb. 2.

“I tell you what, this is a very good community, very supportive,” Williams said. “After the 500th win they had a little celebration for me and a lot of people showed up, a lot of former players, a lot of people in the community.

“It was awesome.”

Williams has only one goal for this season.

“Just play as hard as we can,” he said, “and, hopefully, we get a few wins doing that.”

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