Underwood Eagles

(Underwood) -- After spending the last seven years running Underwood's junior high wrestling program, Jon Williams is now in charge of the Eagles' high school program.

Williams wrestled at Glenwood before embarking on a college career at Wayne State. He came to Underwood out of college and has worked closely with the Eagles' program under head coach Joe Stephens.

"It's been one of my goals my whole life," Williams said about his new gig. "I always wanted to be a head coach. When I came to Underwood, it felt like home. It's where I wanted to grow and take over the program. I've been learning from (Stephens). I'm excited it's my turn to take charge."

Williams' experiences as a wrestler and with the junior high program made him an ideal candidate to replace Stephens, who stepped down after nearly two decades at the helm.

"I feel I'm prepared for this opportunity," he said. "(Coaching junior high) was fun. I got kids with great wrestling backgrounds and kids that had never wrestled before. It was fun and exciting."

As you might expect from a former junior high coach, Williams is big on development.

"Development is crucial," he said. "I'm lucky to step into a developed program. I'll develop the younger guys who need help."

Williams inherits a program that returns a defending state champion (Blake Allen) and two returning state medalists (Carson Thomsen and Maddox Nelson).

"I have a good relationship with the kids," he said. "They know me and what I expect from them.

The Eagles were a perennial Class 1A contender under Stephens. The expectations likely won't change even though it's a new man in charge.

"There's pressure on myself," Williams said. "It will take time, but I want to keep the tradition at Underwood. I don't think there's pressure from outside. It's more from me."

Williams credits Stephens and the rest of the coaching staff at Underwood for preparing him for this opportunity.

"I've been in this program and learned a lot from Joe," Williams said. "I want to keep doing what Underwood has been doing...always being tough, always moving forward and being aggressive on your feet. I was a top wrestler, so I'll implement more top and bottom work, but I don't want to lose the aggressiveness we've had on our feet for the past few decades."

Hear more with Williams below. 

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