Wrestlers & Parents:
1) I began wrestling at the age of nine years old under Coach Steve Williams and have had great success all the way through high school. My first day under Coach Steve, I showed up to practice late and participated in socks not even knowing exactly what wrestling was. Years later, I found myself becoming the first state qualifier and placer for my high school.
As wrestling became a big part of my life, so did Coach Steve. Each year he invested in me, the more skillful I became in the sport. I grew a love for wrestling that still exists today and will continue forever. Our relationship grew beyond the mat as he became a mentor and role model to me and I’m sure most of the other wrestlers under him. He taught me respect through wrestling as it translated into my life off the mat. I witnessed the respect he received by so many others and noticed that he received this respect was because he first gave respect to them.
For every single one of my wrestling matches, there was no one I wanted in my corner except for Coach Steve. I of course had others, but I always had to at least have him there or watching. His coaching and challenges has helped me grow as strong as I am today physically, mentally, and spiritually. Coach Steve will always be a mentor to me and others both in wresting and in life.
2) At the age of six I joined the Calvary Christian Academy wrestling team. After the first year I knew personally that this sport was something I did not want to continue pursuing, but because my father fell oh so deeply in love with this sport called wrestling I, as my father quotes, “didn’t have a choice in the matter.” Through the many, many years of practices and tournaments and dual meets and more practices there was only one thing keeping me grounded in the sport: the love and leadership that my coach and pastor, Steve Williams presented both on and off the mat.
Coach Williams not only displayed such a strong love for the sport and the athletes but also exhibited a strong, dynamic way of coaching and training everyone as a group and individually. As a coach he taught us to be athletes. As a leader he taught us to be responsible. And as a pastor he taught us to be men.
3) Aside from my parents, Coach Steve has been the one to pour the most amount of time and energy into my life and the life of my younger brother. Through the sport of wrestling, he has taught us character, discipline, and commitment in a way that most other sports cannot. As an All-American wrestler and an Olympic alternate, Coach Steve absolutely did not lack the qualifications or the understanding on how to successfully teach his wrestlers to succeed in the sport.
4) Coach Steve and his family lived their lives in a manner worthy of replication. I will never forget the consistency that Coach Steve showed in presenting the Word of God to the team before each and every practice. This type of consistency displayed itself in every facet of his life and served as a model for myself and my teammates.
5) For the past 12 years I have had the privilege of knowing Steve Williams and his wife Suzanne. He played a vital role in helping my husband and I raise our two oldest sons as their wrestling head coach at Calvary Christian Academy. He not only taught them the art of the sport but most importantly taught them a respect for God, honor towards their parents and others, character in their daily lives and tenacity on the mat. His love for the Lord is evident and purposeful as it transfers into every area of his life and to anyone he comes in contact with. He has made an incredible impact in my boys’ lives as well as ours.
Steve Williams’ labor is evident in our sons as they are strong in their Christian faith and are making an impact on others’ lives at their respective college campuses. My husband and I are extremely grateful for him and his wife as they have also helped us maneuver through different seasons in our marriage.
6) I am writing this letter on behalf of Pastor Steve Williams, with whom our family has been well acquainted for approximately the past 6 years. Pastor Williams served as an Associate Pastor at Calvary Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale, which has been our church home since 2001. We got to know him and his family when our son, Carson, began to show an interest in the sport of wrestling at the age of 6. We were blessed to discover that Pastor Williams (whom we also lovingly refer to as “Pastor Steve”, or “Coach Williams”, depending on the setting) was the overseer of the Calvary Wrestling Club, an outreach ministry of our church.
In May of 2007, I took Carson to his first wrestling practice, which was run by Coach Williams. I immediately saw the passion that Coach Williams had for the sport of wrestling, but more importantly, I saw his desire to be a godly influence into the lives of the boys and young men (as well as the lives of their families) that were involved in the program. His coaching style, like his style of ministry, is one of caring, compassion, and motivation, mixed with truth and accountability. Through the years, I have seen his influence reflected in the lives of our son and many other young men who have been blessed to be a part of the program, and he has passed that same passion on to a large number of them.
7) Steve and I met when he launched the Calvary Wrestling Club at our church back in the early 2000’s. From the moment my wife, Grace and I heard about a wrestling program for kids we were seriously curious about it for our then 8 and 6 year olds, Claudio and Gabriel. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was the boy’s new coach a Christian, he was also an All American and Olympic Alternate. Well, the years went by and me and my family spent countless hours with Steve & Suzanne Williams either at wrestling tournaments, church socials or back yard barbeques.
It’s been well said that you don’t really know somebody until you see them in highly stressful situations. I can say with absolute confidence that Steve has always passed the proverbial “stress test” with flying colors every time. Whether it was a coach or referee getting right in his face yelling at him to try and provoke him or when his grandmother died and he had to Pastor the funeral. Steve Williams is a man under authority, in control and a servant to all he comes in contact with. On the wrestling side, Steve coached my oldest son to multiple kids State Championships, District and Regional Runner up and multiple State Qualifications in wrestling. Steve also coached my second son, Gabriel to be a kids free style Champion and a District Champion in 10th grade.
Steve poured into both of my older sons year after year, consistently, considerately and powerfully. Such is the impact on my boys that my oldest son, Claudio has asked Pastor Steve to officiate his wedding on August 9th 2014. When the Apostle Paul said; “follow me as I follow Christ,” the same thing can easily be said about Coach and Pastor Steve Williams. I consider it an honor and a privilege to call him Coach, Pastor and most importantly, friend.