May 28, 2008
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina assistant softball coach Jessica Williams spent the last three months coaching first base for the Catamounts. Thursday, she will leave the coaches box and hit the field in Rockford, Ill. to play for The Rockford Thunder of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), when her team opens the season at home against in-state rival The Chicago Bandits at 6:35 p.m. CDT.
"I am extremely excited about the start of our season being here," Williams admits. "We all worked very hard in the off season and have meshed well these past two weeks of training camp. I am looking forward to us putting it all together in this opening series."
Williams, who plays shortstop, is in her second season with the Rockford Thunder after spending one year with the Chicago team she will be facing off against in the opening series of the year. She also just completed her first year as an assistant coach under Catamount Head Coach Christine Hornak.
"This would not be possible without the support I have received from Western Carolina including Head Coach Christine Hornak, SWA Jennifer Brown, and Athletic Director Chip Smith," Williams said. "They have made this possible by allowing me to be away for the summer."
The Marshall graduate, and Powder Springs, Ga. native, won't have to look very far for family support as her twin sister, Amanda, is an outfielder for the Thunder. The sisters spent four years together at Marshall, were both drafted by Chicago and traded to Rockford in 2007.
The Williams sisters have found success in the NPF. While with Chicago, they helped the Bandits win a Regular Season NPF title. In 2007, with Rockford, the Thunder reached the championship game of the playoffs before losing 3-1 to Washington.
"There are six teams and only 96 players in the league,' Williams said. "With that said, I feel extremely blessed to be one of those and to have this opportunity to further my playing career."