Pete Saco Lifetime Achievement Award: Former Hawks coach honored

Josh Williams (right) talks with his father and Sierra Valley Conference commissioner John Williams. Josh Williams was presented the Pete Saco Lifetime Achievement Award at halftime of Thursday's Sacramento Kings-Dallas Mavericks game at Golden 1 Center.

On second thought, John Williams’ retirement as commissioner of the Sierra Valley Conference isn’t as sure a thing as he thought.

Williams confirmed on Friday that he will stay on for another school year as the league’s top man.

“It’s a one-year plan. I thought I was sure this time,” Williams said. “Basically, we interviewed a couple of guys through zoom. It’s just so difficult, and the (athletic directors) are like so, we’ve got this coronavirus thing, things are probably going to change in a hurry, and we’d be more comfortable with somebody with experience.”

Navigating the return from the COVID-19 shutdown, whatever that will look like, is not the only thing that will take the commissioner’s attention. It is also a realignment year — the Sac-Joaquin Section goes through league realignment every four years.

In the last realignment cycle, Cordova left the SVC and Bradshaw Christian joined.

“To be honest, I think the six schools are going to remain together,” Williams said. “Having done realignment several times, when one domino falls, all bets are off. That being said, I think the six will stay together. It’s highly possible that some seventh or eighth school might find their way onto the block of being added. Who knows?”

Williams said he likes the way the league is set up for travel purposes. With two schools in Galt (Galt and Liberty Ranch), two near each other in Sacramento (Bradshaw Christian and Rosemont) and two in Placer County (El Dorado and Union Mine), each school has a travel partner.

“That limits their travel being next to each other, even though we are what is a travel league,” Williams said. “The good news is when they go play each other, they go up Grant Line Road and don’t get on the freeway. Actual travel is not too bad for traffic, it’s just distance.”

So in his final year at the helm (for real this time?), Williams’ two main concerns will be coronavirus and realignment. He also hopes to help the league with its competitive balance, but that’s a year-in, year-out thing.

“Basically, there has been the top three schools, El Dorado Liberty Ranch and Union Mine,” Williams said. “Then you’ve got the three bottom schools, Galt and Rosemont, and the third school in the previous cycle was Cordova, now it’s Bradshaw. Bradshaw did do better this year, and Galt has gotten slightly stronger, which is all good for the league.”

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