Unladylike behavior: Retired educator Harley Williams writes a novel based on his experiences coaching in both Lapwai and Clarkston

Harley Williams of Clarkston.

Harley Williams of Clarkston.

Former youth coach Harley Williams admits that while his first book is fiction, there are parallels between “The Fainting Goats: The High School Years” and the decades he spent coaching in Lapwai and Clarkston.

In the book, a recently fired coach named Sam Smith is charged with transforming a group of girls from a bunch of “know-nothing spastics into a basketball team,” Williams explains.

Williams, 86, coached all sports for six years at Lapwai High School, taking the boys’ basketball team to State for the first time in 1954. The Wildcats returned in 1955 and won the title in 1956. From 1963-1981, he coached football and baseball at Clarkston High School. He also coached girls’ basketball, taking that team to State in 1980.

“Similar to the girls in this book, it wasn’t ladylike to play basketball,” he says of that team.
He laughs when asked about the difference between coaching girls and boys. “Pat ’em on the head instead of the butt,” he says, adding with a laugh. “They was rougher talkers than I am.”

“But they loved him dearly,” says his wife, Pat, who types his stories.

“They liked it better ’cause we taught ’em how to win,” says Williams, who retired from the Clarkston School District in 1981 and went on to serve as an Asotin County commissioner from 1984-1992.

Writing is a hobby for Williams and he has other books planned, including more involving Sam Smith. Set in a blue-collar town, the novel has play-by-play scenes as well as a lot of human situations, Williams says.

The self-published book is $16.95 and available at And Books Too in Clarkston.

If you go
WHAT: Harley Williams signing “The Fainting Goats”
WHEN: 2-4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: And Books Too, 918 Sixth St., Clarkston

Other new books:
Writing under the pseudonym Deanna Jewel, Terry Blankenship of Lewiston has published her latest romance novel, “Whispers at Ghost Point.” An abandoned lighthouse draws Dana Kaster into a past she was unaware of involving a man she may have met in another lifetime. A psychic friend helps her sort through a past that threatens to overwhelm her. The book is available at And Books Too in Clarkston.


Hells Canyon is the setting for “Angels of Hells Canyon, the Journal,” a self-published romantic novel by Oklahoma City resident Kevin Royce White. Guardian angels help a family when tragedy strikes. White served as an officer and with the Investigations Division of the California Highway Patrol. He is an avid outdoorsman and hunter who has traveled through the region. The book is available at amazon.com.

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