After two highly publicized arrests, Jarrod Williams knew he had to turn his life around.
In 2015, Williams was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he threatened umpires during a Little League softball game in Bangor. Williams, who was coaching the Brewer team, was ejected from the game but refused to leave.
Less than a year later, he was arrested in the Brewer Police Department parking lot after being Tasered by police while confronting a group of people who were trying to file a complaint against him.
“It was an awful situation. It never should have happened,” Williams said of his arrests. “It was the biggest learning experience of my life.”
Eight years after being arrested in front of children, Williams is returning to a head coaching position, this time with the Penobscot Pioneers girls hockey team, a cooperative program that spans seven schools in Greater Bangor. His hiring seemingly indicates that the community has forgiven Williams, who was banned from coaching Little League for a year.
Williams was the only applicant for the job, according to Brewer Athletic Director Dave Utterback.
“I have been able to watch Jarrod from the front row as he has been a parent in our athletic program for nine years now coming through the Brewer Community School and Brewer High programs,” Utterback said.
Williams’ youngest daughter, Jordin, was the Penobscot Pioneers’ leading scorer this past season and the KVAC North Player of the Year.
“He has been nothing short of a ‘perfect parent’ in that regard, always supportive of the coaches and the teams the girls play for,” Utterback added.
Williams was an assistant coach for the first-year program this past season and became the interim head coach for the playoffs after head coach Michael Keim stepped down following the regular season.
With Williams behind the bench, the team earned its first Class A North playoff win, a 6-3 victory over the Winslow Area cooperative team, before losing to Yarmouth-Freeport 3-1 in the A North final.
The team ended its inaugural season with a record of 15-4-1.
“If it wasn’t for Jarrod Williams, the Pioneers wouldn’t exist,” Utterback said.
Williams acknowledges that he “wasn’t in a good place mentally” during the time of his arrests.
He was ejected from the Little League game in July 2015 after questioning a call at the plate from umpire Derrick Cunningham. He then allegedly started swearing at officials, chest-bumped the tournament director, and picked up a home plate and threw it on top of the batting cages before his arrest.
At the time, Corey Bobb, the then-incoming commissioner of Brewer Little League baseball/softball, said Williams “should no longer be in charge of young people at all, girls or boys.”
In May 2016, Williams was arrested again after he refused to leave the Brewer police station parking lot while he threatened a group of people who were there to file a complaint against him. When police tried to arrest Williams he attempted to drive away, which is when the police used a Taser.
Williams was sentenced to 21 days in jail that year after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges, including disorderly conduct, terrorizing, refusing to submit to arrest, violation of a condition of release, failure to appear, operating after suspension and allowing the operation of a defective motor vehicle.
“I had to totally regroup, mentally and professionally,” said Williams, who temporarily closed his roofing business after his arrests. “I needed a mental break. I couldn’t put myself in that situation again.”
What helped him the most, he said, was refocusing on what was most important to him.
”I realized it wasn’t about me. I had to make sure it was all about the team,” he said.
He began coaching Brewer Twilight League softball with Brewer High School girls varsity softball coach Skip Estes, which proved to be another turning point.
“He has been a mentor to me. He is always positive and I’ve watched him and learned a lot from him,” Williams said.
Williams joined Estes’ staff as the junior varsity softball coach and assistant varsity coach this season.
“He is great with the kids. They love him,” Estes said. “He works tirelessly. He loves to coach. He has been fantastic.”
Williams also now coaches in the Outlaws travel summer softball program where he often works alongside Cunningham, the umpire who ejected him in 2015. He said the pair have a healthy relationship and talk often.
Williams is grateful to the athletic directors and administrators for hiring him.
“I’m going to work hard to make sure to make them proud,” Williams said. “I’m very excited. I can’t wait for summer hockey to start in 47 days.”