Cocke County High School principal dies

Cocke County High School principal dies

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Larry Williams (courtesy: Newport Plain Talk) Larry Williams (courtesy: Newport Plain Talk)
Larry Williams gives a pre-school trick-or-treater his reward. (source: Cocke County School System) Larry Williams gives a pre-school trick-or-treater his reward. (source: Cocke County School System)

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - Cocke County High School Principal Larry Williams passed away Tuesday morning. He was 61 years old.

Administrators say Williams was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 and was unable to return to work this school year.

Williams became principal in 2009, but he was also a teacher and the high school athletic director for 23 years. He worked for the school system since 1972.

Williams even graduated from Cocke County High School where he also played football.

All three assistant principals were former students of Williams.

"He knew everybody. He has always known all the students. He has always had a personal relationship knowing enough so he could tease them about their boyfriend or not having a boyfriend. Everybody knew Coach Williams," said Assistant Principal Gail Burchette.

"He was probably everything to me. He was my head football coach when I was in high school. He guided me in college through a degree path that would allow me to come back, and he helped me acquire my first teaching position at this school," said Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Casey Kelley.

"When you meet Larry Williams, you automatically want to smile because when he walked in the room and it lightened up," Kelly added. "He had wit and a humor to him that is second to none."

"He is a great leader and coach, probably has helped more kids in Cocke County than anyone. He will be truly and sorely missed," said Assistant Principal Patrick O'Neil.

Students with the ROTC program lowered the school's flag to half mast Tuesday morning. "Team heaven just got one heck of a coach," Kelley said.

School officials will have counselors and ministers on site all week to help faculty and students cope with the principal's death.

Larry Williams leaves behind a wife and five children.

The family will receive friends from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday at Cocke County High School.

Funeral services will be held at 8:00 p.m. Friday in the Cocke County High School Gymnasium.

The burial will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday in Union Cemetery.

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