Danielle Williams hired as assistant football coach at Wayne State College

Danielle Williams
Danielle Williams

Maybe it is something in the water.

Maybe it is the top-notch educational system and athletic programs.

Maybe it is a combination of both.

Whatever the case, Danville High School has a way of producing softball coaches.

Danville graduate Renee Luers-Gillispie is head softball coach at the University of Iowa.

Danville graduate Rachel West not only played for Iowa, but dabbled in coaching afterwards, serving as an assistant coach at Iowa.

Add Danielle Williams to that growing list.

Williams, a 2014 Danville graduate, was hired recently as the assistant softball coach at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska.

For Williams, it's not always how much you know, but who you know in the business world that matters.

"It's all about the connections you make along the way," Williams said. "I got a call from an alumni supporter at Culver-Stockton who watched me play there and saw me coach there when I was at Iowa Wesleyan. He recognized me and we stayed in contact. He called an told me Christy Warnock had just been hired as head coach at Wayne State and was looking for an assistant coach. It was pretty incredible. Three phone calls in one day and it was done. It was a very short window. Doors swing open and you either seek them out or they seek you out."

Williams spent one season as an assistant coach at Iowa Wesleyan University.

She also gained coaching experience working as a junior high softball coach at West Burlington-Notre Dame while also working as a supervisor in fields maintenance for the Burlington Regional RecPlex and the FunCity Turf.

"I helped coach the West Burlington-Notre Dame junior high team for two seasons and after the season I was an assistant coach for David Oleson on the varsity and JV teams," Williams said.

Williams also served as an intern for the Iowa Cubs in 2019.

Williams graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, where she earned a bachelor's degree in sport management.  She was an NAIA Scholar Athlete. She started her collegiate career at Ellsworth Community College and Southeastern Community College, earning an associate of arts degree at Ellsworth, where she was an All-Conference Honorable Mention infielder.

Williams played mostly third base at Danville, where she helped the Bears to 20-12 and 17-12 record her freshman and sophomore seasons. As a senior, she batted.288.

Williams said leaving West Burlington-Notre Dame was a bittersweet thing, but she couldn't pass up the opportunity to coach at the NCAA Division II level.

"It was heartbreaking in a way. I put in my letter of resignation a coupe days ago," Williams said. "My home will always be Danville, but a part of my heart will always be with West Burlington. When I am back in the area I hope to put on some camps and things."

Williams will join a Wayne State College team which is coming off a 15-38 season, including 12-18 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Williams said adapting to life in Wayne, Nebraska has been smoot, and the scenery is much like that in southeast Iowa.

"I am getting a foundation built up here now," Williams said. "It reminds me a lot of Danville. It's a small, tight-knit community and there is lots and lots of corn, but things are more spread out here. The campus is a big part of the town and everyone supports everything we do."

Williams already is finding her niche with the Wildcats, hitting the ground running.

"I basically do whatever the head coach needs me to get done," Williams said. "Right now I am helping with social media accounts and getting those up to date, I am working on some ways to get the girls involved in community events. We are big on that. We want our student-athletes to feel like a part of the community, so that is a big thing right now. Whatever needs to be done, I am will to do it."

Matt Levins is a sports reporter for the USA Today Network in Burlington, Iowa, who has covered local sports for 32 years at The Hawk Eye. Reach him at mlevins@thehawkeye.com.

This article originally appeared on The Hawk Eye: Williams will serve as an assistant coach for Wildcats under Warnock