Jeremy Williams Interview

SEASON OF A LIFETIME

Available on DVD from Word Entertainment on August 27, 2013

The film SEASON OF A LIFETIME tells the true and inspiring story of high school football coach, Jeremy Williams, who, after being stricken with ALS, was determined to fight through one last season. 

That season was 2010, and over the course of those autumn months, Jeremy led his Greenville Patriots through an undefeated schedule and into the State playoffs.  The journey resulted in Jeremy being named the National High School Football Coach of the Year and a feature on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover – the highest-rated episode of the season.

SEASON OF A LIFETIME is Jeremy’s testimony. 

Jeremy Williams Interview:

 Q:      How has your journey with ALS affected your faith and spiritual journey? 

A:       Having ALS has certainly affected my faith, in a very positive way. You learn real quick to depend on Him. I can honestly say that I am truly blessed. It may sound crazy to most people but I am in His hands. I am closer to Jesus now than I have ever been.

Q:      How has your faith impacted your role as a football coach? 

A:       The main reason I became a football coach was to make a difference in young people’s lives. Winning was just a product of doing it right. Coaching football was my ministry.

Q:      How does your faith inform your role as a husband and father?

A:       My faith informs me to be the head of the household. In doing that you lead by serving not ordering.

Q:      What inspired your decision to continue coaching in spite of your prognosis?

A:       Why did I continue to coach? Easy. I was a football coach. That is what I do. You have adversity and you adjust. I wanted to coach as long as I physically could and I did. Deciding to stop was the hardest decision of my life.

Q:      How did your prognosis affect your relationship with Jennifer and the kids?

A:       Anyone who receives the news we did, it will have an impact on family relationships. With the kids, at first they did not really know what was going on. The more they heard me speak on it at different speaking events, God revealed to them he was in control. I am still just a dad, no special treatment, lol. Jennifer and I have grown closer together for one reason; God is first in our lives. Many times something like this splits a family apart. Why? They focus on the problems. We focus on and trust God.

Q:      How did your prognosis affect your relationships with the players you’ve coached?

A:       My relationship with my players never changed. I had always preached family and high character; our motto was “we do what we do”. Sure, they saw me getting weaker, but I cut them no slack and in return, they did likewise.

Q:      How have your relationships with your players impacted your own life and spiritual journey?

A:       My players have impacted my life greatly. I have had players I coached end up coaching for me later and coaching elsewhere but still teaching the same core values. To see the fruits of your labor in young people’s lives is pure joy. To know you helped save their souls is an indescribable feeling. You can hear God saying, “Well done.”

Q:      What does football, and coaching football, mean to you personally? 

A:       Football to me is the best example of life. You work your butt off to be successful but still endure the highs and lows. Coaching was my Sunday morning sermon seven days a week; it was my ministry, which I cherished greatly.

Q:      Why do you believe you and your family are enduring these trials? 

A:       I believe my family and I are enduring these trails because that is life. God never promised a carefree life here on earth. To be Christ-like, you may suffer in some way or another. “Consider it pure joy whenever you endure hardships in My name.” We are blessed to endure this momentary light affliction for and with our KING.

Q:      What role does prayer play in your marriage and family, and in your personal spiritual journey?

A:       Prayer is a tremendous aspect for me and with my marriage and family. It is the direct line to God, kind of like calling Him on your cell phone that never has a busy signal. You may forget His number but He has yours written in His own Son’s blood. We believe if you pray, do not worry, and if you’re going to worry, then do not pray. God can handle it.

Q:      What role does your church community play in you and your family’s lives today?

A:       The church is like the big loving older brother that is always looking out for you. He has your back, encourages you, consoles you, and always loves you. The church is more than a place to Worship. It is family, the family of God.

Q:      What is your favorite scripture, and what does it mean to you?

A:       My favorite verse is Phil. 4:13. I had just become a Christian. I was only 5’9’’ weighing 170 going to play division one college football. I was small but I played for my God. I claimed that verse and overcame many of people’s doubts to play every game for four years, with never missing a game to injury. I can do all things with Christ, who gives me strength.

Q:      What inspired the idea for SEASON OF A LIFETIME? How did the idea come to fruition?

A:       The idea was brought to us.  With Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper articles being written, I got calls from HBO, ESPN, and smaller filmmakers including Rick Cohen. I began to pray about it. The next week the Extreme Home Makeover happened and we were off the grid for two weeks. After all of those exciting events calmed down it was back to school. Rick Cohen was the first I called back. I knew that it would be awesome to be able to spread the gospel through a documentary. After seeing the big circus that came with Extreme, although it was excellent, I could not put my family and team through that again for a year. God led me to Rick. He was willing to focus on God and that is what I prayed for.

Q:      Why did you and Jennifer want to participate in making SEASON OF A LIFETIME? How did you make the decision?

A:       The reason we did season of lifetime was to spread the love of Jesus Christ. That was the only reason. We pray on everything and this was the same. It was decided by God.

Q:      What was it like to open up your home and your lives during production of SEASON OF A LIFETIME? Was it a long process?

A:       After going through the Extreme filming with the huge production team, having only one camera was a piece of cake. They became a part of the family rather quickly which gives the film the atmosphere of God’s love throughout it. Before we knew it the season was over.