WILLIAMSBURG — Eric Swords called it a “dream come true” when he found out he was going to become the head boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Williamsburg High School.
Swords played basketball for the Yellow Jackets from 2000 to 2004, and will now take over a Yellow Jacket team that posted a 17-13 mark last season under former coach Nick Napier.
“It’s a dream come true, it’s my dream job,” Swords said. “There’s nothing in the world that compares to putting on those Jacket colors and competing. I’m ecstatic but nervous at the same time, middle of August in the middle of a pandemic isn’t the best timing. I’m looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces in the 13th Region regularly again whether it is coaches, refs and media.”
Swords has spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Berea Pirate program. He posted a 66-53 record during his stay, including a 40-22 mark the past two years. He spent two years as head coach of Lynn Camp, and has a career record of 84-93.
“Hardest decision I have had to make in my career,” Swords admitted when asked about leaving Berea. “Not only did we have a really good team coming back but the kids we had are all top-notch people.
“It’s very tough to leave, we went from seven wins the year before I got here, to tying the school record in wins (22) this past year and making the 11th Region tourney for the first time in 15 years,” he added. “We bring six of our nine rotation guys back and four of our top five scorers, so it was definitely tough.”
Now Swords will shift his focus to his new team which competes in the rough and tough 50th District. Swords knows the challenges ahead but feels his program can and will compete against the likes of Corbin, South Laurel and Whitley County.
“I believe we will be able to (compete), and I would like to get it to where we can consistently compete even after years where you lose a ton of talent,” Swords said. “Obviously, the 50th District has great coaching staffs and programs in Corbin and South Laurel, so it’s a tough district, but we won’t back down from anyone, that’s not the Williamsburg way.
“My goals are to create good people and teammates, as well as playing extremely hard,” he added. “If we do those things everyday then we will give ourselves a chance to be compete in the 13th Region, All ‘A’ and 50th District.”