Stetson University Director of Athletics Jeff Altier announced on Monday the selection of Corey Williams as the new head coach of the Hatters men’s basketball program.
Williams, the 21st head coach in program history, takes the helm at Stetson after 13 years of collegiate coaching experience. A native of Macon, Ga., Williams played point guard at Oklahoma State. He had a lengthy career as a professional player, including a stint with the Chicago Bulls where he was a part of the 1993 NBA Championship Team, before starting his coaching career.
“I’m excited,” Williams said of the opportunity. “Stetson is a University that I played in the past when I was at Florida State, and to be able to lead this program means an awful lot to me and my family. I knew back when I first started that my ambition was always to be a head coach. For Stetson University to give me this opportunity, I’m very grateful. I’m humbled, I’m grateful, and the truth of the matter is that I’m ready to go to work.”
“Stetson University is privileged to be able to call Corey Williams our new men's basketball head coach,” Altier said. “Corey is a winner, he has worked with and played for some of the finest minds in the world of basketball and as such he understands the discipline, commitment and strategy that is needed to be successful. Everywhere Corey has played or coached his teams have won and won big, and I am excited to have him as a part of the Stetson team.”
“Corey has the perfect blend of coaching talent and personal warmth that we were seeking,” Stetson University President Dr. Wendy Libby said. “He will be a great and winning head coach for Stetson University.”
Most recently, he was an assistant coach at Florida State. His career with the Seminoles coincided with the team’s “winningest” five-year period, beginning in 2007-08. During this time, the team won its first ACC Championship in basketball, had a school-record run of four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, had four consecutive years of double digit wins in ACC play, produced five NBA Draft picks, had 16 wins over nationally ranked teams and appeared in the national rankings in four straight seasons.
“The recent success of the Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball schools, particularly Florida Gulf Coast University's historic run in the NCAA tournament, coupled with Stetson's much improved season, elevated the stature of the Stetson coaching job,” Altier went on to say. “Consequently, we received tremendous interest from outstanding coaches across the country, whose experience and credentials were far superior to those in any coaching search I have been a part of at Stetson.”
Williams assisted in the development of the Seminoles into one of the best programs in the ACC with the perseverance that has also made him an outstanding recruiter of top talent. Williams' recruiting roots have allowed him to bring the nation's top talent to wherever he has coached.
Williams was instrumental in Florida State’s run to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament as well as the 2012 ACC Championship. He helped lead Oral Roberts to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances as a coach and Oklahoma State to consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances as a player.
With victories over fifth ranked Notre Dame and No. 20 Texas A&M in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Williams helped the Seminoles advance to within one win of the Elite Eight for only the third time in school history. The Seminoles' wins over Notre Dame and Texas A&M marked only the second time in school history that Florida State defeated ranked teams in consecutive games during the NCAA Tournament.
Williams also facilitated Florida State’s reputation as one of the nation's top defensive teams. The Seminoles have achieved national renown in multiple statistical categories. Williams' defensive background helped Florida State finish the 2010 and 2011 seasons as the field goal percentage defense national statistical champions. The Seminoles ranked fifth nationally in that category in 2012.
The Seminoles' .363 opponents’ field goal percentage in 2012 was the lowest mark by an ACC team since 1960 -- a span of 52 years -- and was the seventh lowest mark in ACC history.
Before joining the Florida State staff, Williams was an assistant coach for seven seasons at Oral Roberts where he assisted the Golden Eagles in achieving an average of 18 wins per season, including 20 or more wins in each of the last three seasons. ORU made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in each of his last two seasons in Tulsa. Oral Roberts finished with a 23-11 record and won the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship in 2007. Among its 23 wins during the 2007 season was a victory over third ranked Kansas on the road at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
Williams played collegiately at Oklahoma State from 1989-1992. He is the 15th all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,320 career points. During his collegiate playing career he helped lead the Cowboys to consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances under Coach Eddie Sutton in 1991 and 1992. The Cowboys were ranked 14th in the final Associated Press poll of the 1991 season and 10th in the final coaches' poll following the 1992 season. With Williams in Oklahoma State's line-up for 128 games during his four-year varsity career, the Cowboys ranked as one of the top teams statistically in the nation.
In 1993, as a teammate of Michael Jordan, Williams helped Chicago win its third straight NBA Championship. He also played with the Minnesota Timberwolves during his NBA career. Williams spent the majority of the 1994 season with the Oklahoma City Cavalry of the Continental Basketball Association. He returned to Oklahoma State as a student assistant in 1994 and was a member of the Cowboys' staff during their 1994 Final Four season. Williams played and coached professionally in Taiwan, from 1995-98.
“I think this school has a lot to give as it relates to the recruitment of young men. There are a lot of kids that are really aspiring to get a quality education, and Stetson can give them that. I want to make sure we capitalize on that. We want to bring talent that maybe hasn’t been seen at Stetson. It creates a great challenge for me, so I’m thrilled. I can’t tell you how I feel inside. I’ve had my tearful moments with my family and close ones. I’m eager and anxious over the reality of having my own program. I’m excited, thrilled, and fired up to get ready to go.”
Williams, 43, earned his bachelor's degree in education from Oklahoma State in 2002. He and his wife, Nicole, have two children: Jourdan (13) and Corey, Jr. (9).