Silas Williams is not of the mindset that one would rather replace the person who replaces a legend than replace the legend directly.
In being named girls basketball coach at Pickerington High School North, Williams is succeeding Dave Butcher, who retired in late March as the second-winningest coach in state history.
“I love the challenge. I know it’s going to be tough,” Williams said. “At the same time, I want to make my own imprint on the program. I took a chance and put my résumé in there when I saw the job was open.
“You can’t say girls basketball without saying Pickerington North.”
Williams’ hire, which was announced May 24, is pending school board approval.
He will be only the second coach in North’s 15-year history after leading Westerville South to the OCC-Buckeye Division championship and its first district title last season. The Wildcats went 21-6 overall, losing to eventual Division I state champion Pickerington Central 60-52 in a regional final.
Williams stepped down in early April after going 103-83 in eight seasons with the Wildcats.
“Silas brings great experience, a love for kids and a love for basketball to Pickerington North,” athletics director Molly Feesler said. “He had a tremendous amount of success in building the program at Westerville South and we look forward to him continuing our growth.”
Butcher retired with a 747-146 career record in 35 seasons. His teams won six state championships at Pickerington from 1985-99, the USA Today national title in 1999 and 23 consecutive district championships from 1989-2011. He took over at Pickerington, now known as Pickerington Central, in 1983 and moved to North when the school opened in 2003.
Last season, the Panthers went 10-13 overall and 3-7 in the OCC-Ohio and lost to Hilliard Bradley 42-33 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Among the players eligible to return are sophomore forward Saige Glover, junior guards Mickale Bates, Avery Hart and Gabby Rullo and freshman guard Mayson Bates. Last season, Glover averaged a team-high 14.9 points and was named second-team all-league, and Mickale Bates averaged 8.7 points.
North won district championships each of its first eight seasons but finished as district runner-up in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and hasn’t been back to a district final since.
Williams, who called himself a defense-oriented coach, said he never intended to sit out next season after leaving South.
“I wanted to get right back on the sideline,” Williams said. “I’m a defensive guy, man-to-man. Everything we did at South was based off our defense. We’ll defend well and get into people and let the kids play out there. We’re definitely going to have some fun. We’ll chase greatness.”