By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Sean McWilliams, citing the need to spend more time with his family, has stepped down as tennis coach at Joplin High School.
McWilliams was the girls head coach for 12 years. This spring was his seventh as head boys coach after assisting Larry McGregor for five. He taught social studies for nine years.
McWilliams has taken a position in outside sales with Johnstone Supply of Joplin.
“Sean will be sorely missed,” Joplin athletic director Jeff Starkweather said Monday. “He’s done a fantastic job. Our tennis program has thrived under his guidance.
“He cares,” Starkweather said. “He promotes tennis at all levels.
“Now, the great thing is, as a volunteer, he’ll help with the transition of the new coach. We’re excited about that. Hopefully, he’ll continue to help.”
Starkweather said the vacancy is posted on joplinschools.org. Click on “jobs,” then “job opportunities.”
McWilliams, a 1997 graduate of Columbus High School, is married to the former Kim Bacon of Carl Junction. Their children are boys Brody, 3, and Blake, 7 weeks.
“I know this is the right decision for my family,” McWilliams said. “I wanted to spend more time with my young family. A lot of hours go into coaching and teaching.
“I’m also excited about the new job. It’s a new field for me.
“I still plan to volunteer if they — the team or the new coach — want my assistance,” McWilliams said.
“It was hard to step away,” McWilliams said. “It was the toughest decision I’ve had to make.”
McWilliams didn’t say it, but in essence he has left a legacy in Joplin schools.
“I was able to help secure 32 grants from the USTA to provide (tennis) equipment for our P.E. teachers,” McWilliams said. “More than 5,500 kids in Joplin have held a tennis racquet. We have tennis in all the schools. Hopefully, tennis will do nothing but grow.”
Sons Brody and Blake may, like their dad, develop a passion for sports.
“Brody has had a racquet in his hands,” McWilliams said with a laugh.
“But we won’t push the children (into any particular sport).”
McWilliams, who studied pre-law for two years at Pittsburg State, has degrees from Missouri Southern and William Woods. He’s been an agent with Hunter Real Estate for seven years.