Photo by MaChandra Forest-Wilder

Sam Williams took the Pelahatchie Chiefs to incredible success, winning 21 games over the past two football seasons. Now, he is moving over from Rankin County to Madison County and moving into a much higher classification. 

​Williams has been named the new athletic director and football coach at Ridgeland High. The Madison County School Board approved Williams Monday night, assistant superintendent Ted Poore said. 

​Williams, who played at Northwest Rankin High and Mississippi State, had a 27-11 record in three seasons, taking the Chiefs to the Class 2A playoffs each year. Williams, 28, was an assistant for five seasons at Northwest Rankin, coaching wide receivers and special teams and was the offensive coordinator for three seasons. 

​“I have loved my time at Pelahatchie and have grown to love the people and the kids,” Williams said. “This is really a great move for me and my family. I’m excited about joining Madison County and putting my kids in one of the best school districts in the state.”

Photo by MaChandra Forest-Wilder

​“After receiving over 80 applications for this position, Ridgeland principal Keith Fennell enthusiastically recommended Sam with the unanimous support of the interview committee,” Poore said.

​Williams replaces David White, who led Ridgeland to an 8-4 record and the Titans’ first winning season since 2013 in his only season at Ridgeland. White was offered and accepted the position as head coach at Blue Springs (Mo.)High in February.

​“Ridgeland football is on the rise in Class 5A,” Williams said. “I look forward to taking over such a talented group of young men and helping to build on the culture that is being established. This is a great group of players and coaches who are eager to take the next step and take Ridgeland to new heights. I’m excited to be a part of such a great school, community and school district.”

​Ridgeland has one of the top quarterbacks in the state returning in rising senior Zy McDonald. McDonald was a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro second team last season. McDonald passed for 3,252 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for 610 yards and 14 TDs last season. McDonald has been Ridgeland’s starting quarterback since his freshman year.

​“We had a great year offensively last season under Coach White, so I was uncertain of the future once he stepped down,” McDonald said. “After talking with Coach Williams and some of his former players, I found that he seems like a great coach and also a great man that is about his business. This upcoming season I am hoping to improve from this past season and most importantly I want to win it all. Winning is the only thing on my mind.”

​ Williams will be McDonald’s third head coach and the school’s fourth head coach in six seasons. Before White, Ryan Earnest was head coach for three seasons. Earnest took over for Kenny Burton, who retired in 2015 after a successful run in his 13 seasons at Ridgeland. Burton took over as head coach for Lynn Moore in 2003, the second year of the school. Burton guided the Titans to playoffs seven straight seasons. His best season was 2010 when Ridgeland went 13-1 and lost to West Point in the 5A semifinals.