Family affair – Katie McWilliams joins father as a Silverton High coach

February 2023 Posted in sports

By James Day

The 2022-23 school year marks the 44th in which Nick McWilliams is teaching and coaching. The Silverton High English/language arts teacher is in his sixth year as an assistant coach for the boys basketball program.

Coach McWilliams, 65, won a boys state title in 1984 at Santiam Christian and two girls championships at South Salem (2015-16). His coaching and teaching travels also have included stops at Roseburg, Forest Grove, Milwaukie, Sprague, Corban University, two stints at Central as well as a 10-year run with the girls team at South Salem.

But this year is a bit different for McWilliams. His daughter, Katie, is working at Silverton High and coaching as well. 

Katie McWilliams, 26, who starred on her father’s 2015 state title team at South Salem, is serving as an assistant coach for the Foxes’ girls squad. At Our Town presstime the team was 8-0 in Mid-Willamette Conference play. Katie also works on campus as a special needs assistant.

“It was a blessing to coach Katie for four years in high school – in addition to some years with youth teams – and basketball is something that has brought us close together as a father and daughter,” Nick told Our Town. “I am blessed to get to work in the same building with her, including in the school and on the court.”

Katie said that it was “my love and passion for basketball and helping others” that led her to enter the coaching profession. “I had great coaches and mentors throughout my career and they helped mold me into the person and player that I am and was. I want to do the same for the next generation.”

And, clearly, there was a lot to learn around the family dinner table for Katie, who went from a youth and high school star to a four-year contributor at an Oregon State program that won 115 games during her tenure, captured a pair of Pac-12 Conference championships and advanced to the Final Four.

“My dad always put his athletes first and gave them the tools for them to be successful,” Katie said. “He made sure his players were focused and working hard, but also wanted them to have fun and be comfortable being themselves. 

“I always admired his calmness and the effort he put into making sure his teams were prepared. It was never about him, and he was certainly blessed with a gift that allowed him to become a legendary basketball coach in Oregon.”

Nick said of those early years that “mostly we have just talked a lot about basketball since she was little. She often went with me to practices and games growing up and shared my passion for it. I don’t know if she planned to coach at all until she finished playing. She has always had a great mind for the game and is very competitive but I wanted her to make her own decisions about coaching.”

Nick’s advice to Katie was simple.

“I told her that I thought she would be a great coach but it was totally up to her. She is very gifted in teaching basketball skills and has great rapport with players and other coaches. I told her that she should use those gifts and give back to the sport she loves and had so much success with.”

Katie serves in a variety of roles for first-year Foxes coach Alyssa Ogle while recognizing that she still has some decisions to make about her own future. She will marry Kevin Stanley, also a basketball player and coach, in July. Graduate school remains a possibility as well. She majored in kinesiology with a minor in psychology at OSU while earning all-Pac-12 academic team honors three times.

“I really enjoy the assistant role at the high school level,” she said. “I get to build great relationships with the athletes and give my input when needed. I have had opportunities to be a head coach or an assistant at the college level, but I haven’t had the desire to do that. I love a balanced lifestyle, and I don’t think those positions allow me to have that.”

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