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GMC Remembers the Life and Legacy of Coach Bert Williams
Georgia Military College Remembers the Life and Legacy of Coach Bert Williams
Georgia Military College is deeply saddened by the passing of former GMC Junior College Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Bert Williams. After a 23-year career at GMC, Williams retired in November of last year to be with his family as he battled cancer. On Monday, August 2, 2021 Williams passed away after a brave fight.
“Words can’t express what Bert Williams means to our GMC family,” said Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, USA (Ret.), President of Georgia Military College. “Bert’s leadership and impact have been felt by so many over the years. Coach Williams provided hope and opportunity every student-athlete he encountered, and his love and commitment to GMC was felt by all. He leaves behind a great legacy at Georgia Military College, and it’s one that we will always honor and remember. We will continue to pray for Bert’s wife Cathy who is a GMC Prep School teacher, his son Parker who is a GMC JC offensive line football coach, and son Zach.”
Williams began his career at GMC in 1997 as an offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Bulldogs. He accumulated a record of 156-58 since being named Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at GMC in 2000 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 has also served as the NJCAA Football Coaches Association president and the ACCFCA president. Most recently, Williams was named to the NJCAA Coaches Hall of Fame.
As the GMC Athletic Director, Williams led the growth of the GMC Athletic Department from one to nine very successful athletic programs over the course of his tenure. He’s responsible for the addition of men's soccer, women's soccer, coed rifle, men's and women's cross-country, men's and women’s golf, and softball. All the GMC programs have developed to a position of consistent, high-level success and have all won multiple conference championships and competed at national championship tournaments. The GMC Rifle Team has three NRA ROTC Division National Championships to its credit while the GMC Men’s Golf Program has also earned three NJCAA National Championships. With GMC’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams being ranked #4 and #3 nationally, more accolades may well be coming to GMC Athletics because of the program Williams built.
Williams’ leadership and impact have also been felt off the field as he oversaw and supervised 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’ leadership was instrumental in raising over $2.5 million dollars in endowed scholarships and operating funds for the GMC student-athletes over the years, as well as establishing the Bert and Cathy Williams Athletic Endowed Scholarship Fund. This scholarship provides financial assistance to student-athletes participating in any GMC Junior College athletic program. It assists with expenses incurred for tuition, fees, books, or uniforms.
“Bert and I have had a friendship going on 19 years and losing him is like losing a family member,” said Rob Manchester, GMC Athletic Director and Head Football Coach. “My two daughters called him Uncle Bert so it’s really tough to lose him personally, but also professionally. Bert was a great mentor to me, and he really made this GMC Athletics program what it is today. I can’t think of a better way to honor Bert’s legacy than to continue producing successful student-athletes here at GMC on and off the field.”
The legacy of Bert Williams will always be honored and remembered at Georgia Military College.