May 7, 2013. Name one DC coach who went to 15 Turkey Bowls. Anacostia former head coach, Willie Stewart has won 7 "Turkeys" as a coach. He has been at Anacostia for over 20 years. “First of all, I enjoy being around student athletes,” Willie said.
During his 20 years at Anacostia, 20 of his football player had been shot and 12 died. Coming from a rough part of the district, Stew knew the dangers of the streets and offered a positive solution by not only being a coach, but an uncle, a father, or grandfather to his students. He recognized that if students had a clear goal and a team to support them, the likelihood of becoming a victim would diminish.
Willie started coaching because he said he enjoy teaching the game of football because it was fun. “You get a chance to get in your own system,” Willie said.
In and out of Anacostia hallways, everybody knows Willie Stewart by “Coach Stew”, a name that everybody calls him. Coach Stew went to Dunbar High School in Southwest DC. He played center and linebacker and got a football scholarship. “I couldn’t catch a cold,” Coach Stew made a statement about himself. In other words, he wasn’t a great of a player, but he understood the game well enough to lead the team to victory.
Willie Stewart had lots of role models when he was growing up—from parents to football coaches to his principal. After Coach Stew got fired from his job as the head coach at Anacostia in 2009, but he returned in 2012 and, to his surprise, the football field was dedicated to him.
He is now coaching with one of his former players, Cato June, at Anacostia. He’s back and aiming to get more Turkey Bowl wins. “Don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time”, Stew said to all of his players at the end of practice. His ultimate goal is to keep players alive and to see them through whatever success the future holds.
Xavier Harkum and Monet Warren are freshmen at the Academies at Anacostia.