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Thursday, October 17, 2013

HHS Football web site takes on unique story

By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Joseph Williams had a vision while in medical school at the University of Kentucky.

That vision hit cyberspace in 2005 when he put together http://www.highlands-bluebirds.com. The web site provides detailed information of the winningest football team in Kentucky such as year-by-year records.

“I began collecting historical information about the football program, and set up the original Highlands-Bluebirds.com website during the month I had off between the completion of medical school and the beginning of my residency training in North Carolina,” Williams said. “I received a great deal of historical information from a set of materials compiled by Ken Honchell, Dick Thompson and Bob Luecke several years ago, as well as from a book about the football program published by the Highlands journalism department. Also, several members of BluegrassPreps.com provided me with helpful information. The current version of the web site is much more ‘user-friendly,’ looks more professional and can display more information.”

The site is so informative that Highlands Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Dale Mueller recently named it the official site of the Bluebirds. The original site called ‘Birds Words undertook updates in 2010 with the help from a web design company named Athlete Web Services.

“The site is professional, well-organized and positive,” Mueller said. “Plus Joseph Williams is a good guy who we can trust to do a great job.”

The site has 12 categories off to the left. One can find another sub-category by placing the cursor over the History section then clicking on the All-Time wins category to see where the Bluebirds stack up in all-time wins in school history against other schools in the country.

Williams does all this work from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Williams along with wife Taufika and two kids have been there since 2005. Williams is a Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Williams attended Transylvania University in Lexington upon graduation from Highlands in 1995.

“My wife is actually originally from Bangladesh, and we met in college and got married in 2001,” Williams said. “As she can certainly attest, my wife has gotten an earful about the Highlands football program over the years.”

Williams said the number of visitors to the site changes daily. That mostly depends on the opponent in the upcoming week.

“The record for most visits to the (web site) in a single day is about 8,000,” Williams said. “This happened shortly before Highlands was set to play in the 2007 Herbstreit Classic (a 24-20 win over Dayton Trotwood-Madison), which was the highest profile prep football event in the country at the time.”

Williams took to this interest despite not playing football at Highlands. Mueller became head coach at Highlands before his senior year of high school.

“The extent of my athletic prowess was being a member of the tennis team in middle school and spending a year on the track and field teams as a freshman at Highlands,” Williams said. “I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t exactly the most athletically gifted guy walking the halls at Highlands back in the early 1990s!”

Mueller did not take a lot of credit for his 300th win as a head coach in a Sept. 14 win at John Hardin, 33-26. But Williams among others praised him for the achievement.

“I think that Highlands High School and the Fort Thomas community are very fortunate to have an individual of Coach Mueller’s caliber in charge of the football program,” Williams said. “In my opinion, he deserves all the accolades he has received, which are many.”

Highlands owns a record of 94-3 since the start of 2007. Highlands won the state championship when Williams was a sophomore in 1992.

“It is remarkable, and a testament to the hard work and dedication put in by the Highlands student-athletes, coaches and their families,” Williams said. “Go ‘Birds!”

Williams also chimed in on why more teams in Northern Kentucky are not playing Highlands. Highlands traveled beyond Louisville in consecutive weeks in September for road non-district games at John Hardin and Paducah Tilghman this year.

“While I certainly have no ‘insider’ knowledge of the situation, it appears to me that several local programs have backed away from playing Highlands because of how successful and dominant Highlands has been on the gridiron in recent years,” Williams said. “It is encouraging to see Campbell County back on the varsity schedule, and I hope other Northern Kentucky programs follow suit in upcoming years.”

His parents JoAnn and Fred Williams moved to Raleigh to be closer to the family last year. Fred Williams served as the superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools from 1975 until 1994.

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