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Gainesville youth football coach loses battle to COVID complications

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 6:14 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Coach Stacey Williams was a familiar face to many, having coached for 25 years, most recently at East Side High for Gainesville Rattlers Youth Football program.

Some called him their mentor, others called him their hero, but everyone called him coach.

“Even the guys he coached before he coached at the Rattlers still called him coach ... that showed the power he had-- as a man first ... then a coach ... then a leader. He’s a good dude he’s really gone be missed,” said friend Reginald Mosley.

“A lot of time coaches take on more than a coaching role ... and he did that,” said his wife Mrs. Latraile Williams.

From coaching to hosting toy drives, Stacey Williams was known for his dedication to the community and youth development.

He was also known for his contagious smile and positive energy-- so when he began to face COVID-19 complications, it was an unfamiliar side to Williams for his family.

“He’s always been one to push through anything but he was beginning to get very very weak before my eyes,” said his wife.

“His last words to me were ‘I love you and I am coming home.’ He was determined to come home like everyone is, but it was just a different outcome this time.”

His loss is felt across the community.

“It’s sad and hurtful that he isn’t with us no more ... but we know coach doesn’t have to fight no more ... he resting. I am sure his wife and his son will do a great job to make sure they honor his name.”

Mrs. Williams said they are doing just that.

“Love one another ... respect each other ... and always give a helping hand when you can.”

Click HERE for the GoFundMe link to help Williams’ family with hospital and funeral expenses. If you do, you’ll see messages there--including one that stands as a reminder of William’s legacy. It says “we should all take a lesson out of coach’s playbook and share his positivity for life.”

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