Honorary Alumnus Award. This award is unique in that it is not given to an alumnus of GMC, but is given to an individual who has rendered exceptional and conspicuous service to GMC. This person is a model of integrity and stature and has demonstrated a continuing devotion to GMC and the values of the institution.
The 2021 GMC Honorary Alumnus Award goes to a man who needs no introduction to the GMC Family. Former GMC Junior College Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Bert Williams made an indelible mark on Georgia Military College, one that will never be forgotten. After a 23-year career at GMC, Williams retired in November 2020 as he battled cancer. Although we lost Coach Williams in August 2021 after a courageous fight, his years of exceptional and conspicuous service to GMC will forever live on within the GMC JC Football Program and in the hearts and lives of the student-athletes he served.
Coach Williams was a native of Augusta, GA, and graduated from Westside High School, and was a four-year letterman at Davidson College from 1986-1990. He began his coaching career at the University of Georgia, had a three-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Union College and came to GMC in 1994 as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for former head coach Robert Nunn.
Named GMC Head Football Coach and Athletic Director in 2000, Williams accumulated a record of 156-58 and led the program to have one of the country’s highest win percentages in NJCAA football. He led the Bulldogs to 10 NJCAA bowl games, a national championship in 2001, national championship game appearances in 2002 and 2013, and was named National Coach of the Year in 2001 (NJCFCA), 2002 (AFM/Schutt), and 2013 when he was named National Coach of the Year by both the AFCA and the NJCAA. Williams was inducted into the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame in 2010, the first active NJCAA coach to be so honored. He also served as the NJCAA Football Coaches Association president and the ACCFCA president. Williams was honored with the J.B. Hawkins Humanitarian Award given by the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.
Williams led the growth of the GMC Athletic Department from one to nine very successful athletic programs. He was responsible for adding men’s and women’s soccer, coed rifle, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s golf, and softball. Each of GMC’s JC athletic programs has developed to positions of consistent, high-level success and have won multiple conference championships and competed at national championships.
Williams made a significant impact off the field as he oversaw facility improvements to the GMC soccer complex, the addition of the Mason Golf Performance Lab, the Kidd Health and Wellness Center, and the renovation of the Ruark Athletic Complex. Williams was instrumental in raising over $2.5 million in endowed scholarships and operating funds for GMC student-athletes over the years. He and his wife Cathy established the Bert and Cathy Williams Athletic Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide financial assistance to GMC student-athletes.
Perhaps most important to him, Coach Williams delivered on his primary mission to serve the student-athletes he devoted his life to. Under his guidance and leadership, over 430 student-athletes moved on to four-year schools, with 298 earning NCAA D1 scholarships and 37 playing for the NFL. The lessons Coach Williams taught on teamwork, perseverance, and character have no doubt inspired and impacted countless GMC alumni. Coach Williams is truly a GMC legend – a man who embodied servant-leadership and integrity throughout his professional career and personal life.
Bert was a dedicated husband to Catherine Ann Coffman of Atlanta, a teacher at GMC Prep School, and a proud father to son Parker (HS’15), a GMC JC offensive line football coach, and son Zach (HS’19), a junior at Kennesaw State University.