Follies fired

Aaron Lawrence to assume head coach duties at Rusea's

Saturday, February 01, 2014

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LUCEA, Hanover — After 23 years as part of the Rusea's High School football coaching staff, Anthony 'Follies' Williams was on Thursday unceremoniously relieved of his duties via a telephone call from the Lucea-based school's principal Lindel Wright.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, Williams said he was "not angry, but disappointed" he got a call from Wright to say the school's sports committee had decided to change the coach of the team and his services were no longer required.

This Williams said puzzled him as, except for the 2002 season when he deputised for long-time coach Emerson 'Diggy' Henry, who was recovering from gunshot wounds, he never considered himself the coach but rather as the assistant coach.

Prior to his joining Henry on the coaching staff in 1992, Williams played for the Rusea's team between 1978 and 1980, the last season he captained the team.

A few hours after the phone call from the principal, Williams said he heard on the radio that another former Rusea's player Aaron Lawrence, who kept goal between 1985 and 1989 during which he won three daCosta Cup titles, had been appointed to the job as head coach.

When contacted yesterday Lawrence, who resigned as head coach of Mannings School after five years to "return home" confirmed that he had accepted the position.

"I am excited to be asked to take over that job and add some new energy to the school that gave me a start, and I am looking forward to the challenges that come with the job," he said.

Lawrence, who is also coach of the Sandals White House team that is currently participating in the Western Confederation Super League, said he was approached by the school since last year and had the blessings of Henry, who had coached him while at Rusea's.

"This move has been in the pipeline for a while," Lawrence said. "I just made up my mind last week," he added. "The Hanover people have been asking for me to make the move as well."

Efforts to contact Wright were fruitless, as he was said to be out of school, and when contacted Bryce Grant, the team manager and a member of the Sports Advisory Committee at the school, said he was not in a position to speak to the matter and he would have to consult with the principal first.

Meanwhile, Williams, who led Rusea's to the daCosta only stint as head coach, and who was part of four more title successes in 1992, 1993, 2010 and 2011, two Ben Francis KO winning teams, and three Olivier Shield successes, said he has to accept the decision and "move on".

Up to this week he said he would have described his relationship with the school's administration as "immaculate", pausing before saying, "as far as I was concerned, but I had been hearing things from as far back as last year from even outsiders".

Lawrence won three daCosta Cup titles, one Ben Francis KO, shared the Olivier Shield with Kingston College in 1985, before winning it outright in 1989. He also had success at Mannings, where he was the assistant to Hopeton Gilchrist in 2005 when they were semi-finalists in both the daCosta Cup and Ben Francis KO, and between 2009 and last year when he was head coach, they were semi-finalists in the daCosta Cup two seasons ago and twice semi-finalist in the Ben Francis KO.

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