Three years ago, two men began the Seaford Elite football team which is a member of the American Youth Football Program. Seaford High alum and state champion football player Adair Williams, along with Shawn Williams, made a commitment to the youth. After three short seasons and growth of the program, the Seaford community was stunned when Adair Williams passed away suddenly on March 29. His players and the Elite family were left to carry on coach Williams’ passionate dream.
Shawn Williams said the Elite Football program will someday be as big as Adair planned.
“In 2017, we played four to five games with a 12U team. The jerseys and helmets were donations by families and friends,” Shawn Williams said. “Last year Adair was on his game acquiring new uniforms with stickers on helmets all through donations. A lot of people reached into their wallets for us.”
In their own grief the players are determined to make coach Adair’s legacy continue. Joseph Alexis Jr. shared, “This is important because when you play football it is family and we have fun.” Alexis said the most valuable lesson he learned from coach Adair “is to never give up.”
Fred Besnoska, father of Cameron who joined the program this past season said, “We came to Seaford Elite when we heard it was not just about football; it is about mentoring kids. Giving them something to do, get them off the streets. We went to one of the mini camps and the coaches and Adair were right there answering questions. He had a love for football and it is something Cameron had not had before, a mentor or coach that invested in the kids.”
Adair’s daughter, Daisjah Williams, received a call from her dad wanting her to be part of the program. She is now the secretary and plans to carry on her father’s legacy.
“My dad and I were trying to come up with something for me and he told me he needed my help to fundraise,” Daisjah said. “It is important to carry on; I had the inside look at my dad and he was always calling and talking to me about his plans. I want to push on because I know how important it was to my dad.”
Coach Shawn Williams said, “I watched how she handled herself with her dad and I was so impressed with her leadership. Daisjah really takes after her father and she can handle whatever comes her way.”
Cameron Besnoska said of his coach, “Coach Adair pushed us forward to achieve our goals and accomplish our dreams like being an NFL player. We are more active playing football and being outside, we can achieve more in life if we exercise instead of having a worn out body.”
Coach Shawn added, “Adair was hands-on, he was a very good counselor. He took kids to church, cut their hair, visited them at school. Coach Adair was more than a coach of a football team, we developed relationships with most parents and it didn’t matter if they could pay the league fee; we tried to find a way.”
Adair recruited coaches he felt had the same values to share with the youth. One such individual is Coach TJ.
“We will see exciting things for the future. I think that Seaford Elite is going to get bigger and bigger. It is more than just football. The day Coach Adair stopped my mom and dad in Lowes and asked me if I wanted to be part of the program, I told him yes immediately because there is no other football program in Seaford for youth and I could tell he was trying to make a difference. I fed off of his energy,” Coach TJ said.
Coach Bryhim Henry was also recruited by Adair. “I was bringing two of my children to play and I really started to like it so when Adair asked me to help I joined.”
Coach Shawn Williams said the teams would not be growing without these coaches volunteering. “Ten and under was a difficult team because many of these kids never played football, there was a lot of behavior problems, these coaches are committed to shaping them into better people.”
“Coach Henry is a single father who works all night and comes out and coaches with us. My brother works at the chicken plant, makes sure his family is okay and then comes out every single day. The program is built on the backs of our coaches,” said Shawn Williams
Cameron Besnoska said, “I will miss his joking the most. Coach gave us confidence to play the game. In the beginning I was nervous, but he just made jokes and made us comfortable.”
Joseph Alexis who plays 14U said, “Coach Adair taught us through the hard times to never give up and when the team is down to push each other.”
Alexis said before Elite he was just hanging out. “I never played football and gained a love for the game.”
“The last night at a fundraiser I was talking with Adair and he told me so many good things about my son Cameron and it made me so proud. That was Adair, he knew every player personally and built that relationship,” said Fred Besnoska.
Coach Adair would probably tell the team it is time to come together.
Coach Shawn said the program is moving forward. “You will see football get better in the area and you will see Elite players make up the teams of the future in our town.” He added, “This is a big loss, it is hard and it is very difficult. I miss calling him and these are big shoes to fill but we are going to push forward and this is where I belong.”
The future is here. The coaches believe they have kids from everywhere with 12 to 13 Seaford kids. They feel it is all about relationships and building bridges with Seaford football.
Coach Calvin Bolden who coaches 10U said, “The kids are like clay and you have to mold it. I don’t think I’d be coaching if it wasn’t for Adair and my brother Shawn. We had plans to contend for championships and Adair had a good map drawn out for where we are going for the next three seasons. It is very important to bring good football back to Seaford and keep the students in Seaford and go to Seaford High School.”
The Elite Seaford program roster is open for sign-ups for players from ages eight and up. The program is open until Oct. 1. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the resources; come out anyway. The program is also looking for sponsors and donations.
Coach Shawn Williams said, “This is an opportunity to put the pride back in Seaford and Adair was always about the kids. Adair would say, ‘When I was playing no one went anywhere else, it was an honor to play for our hometown.’ Adair was a champion football player and full of pride for Seaford, he wanted to give the kids something to dream about. It won’t surprise me to see Seaford Elite football players coming through Seaford schools. This program is a win-win situation for everyone.”
In an interview and article in the Seaford Star in 2018, Adair Williams said, “This is the perfect set-up for school athletics. We focus on social and independent living skills and prepare them for situations in life that they may face.”
The Seaford Elite Football program foundation is embedded in the hearts of the players, coaches, and families. Adair Williams’ positive impact will ripple through the ages as the seeds of his labor are the roots for the many youth of Seaford Elite.
The loss of Coach Adair is immeasurable. As Coach TJ said, “Adair brought me on and mentored me every day with coaching tips and advice. He’d check on me like I am one of his own.”
Daisjah Williams added, “Seaford has lost a dad, I know they hurt like they lost a dad. I am a part of him but he was a part of everybody.”