March 14, 2008
Willis Wilson, who has coached more basketball games at Rice University than any other coach, will not be retained to coach the Owls next season, Rice Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte announced on Friday.
"We all appreciate everything that Willis Wilson has done for Rice University and our basketball team," Del Conte said. "He has done a wonderful job with our student athletes and has given so much of himself to Rice. But after much thought, I came to the conclusion that it was best for everyone that we move in a new direction," he added.
The Owls concluded the 2007-08 season on Wednesday night with a 59-50 loss to Southern Miss in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. They finished with an overall record of 3-27, including an 0-16 mark in conference play.
Wilson compiled a career mark of 219-246 in his 16 years as the head coach of the Owls. His totals of 219 victories and 465 games are school marks, as are his 16 seasons as the head coach.
He led the team to three NIT appearances, the first in his inaugural season as the Owls head coach in 1993, and then in back-to-back appearances in 2004 and 2005. The 2004 season saw the Owls win a career-high 22 games for Wilson, and he became the first Rice coach to be selected as the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 9 coach of the year since the award began in 1970.
His 1998-99 team posted the third-best turnaround in NCAA history, winning 18 games after posting just six wins the year before. Last season, Wilson coached the Conference USA Player of the Year, the nation's third-leading scorer, and first-round NBA draft pick Morris Almond. Almond was third in the country in leading all of C-USA in scoring for the second-straight season at 26.1 points per game after averaging 21.9 as junior in 2006.
Wilson was a four-year letterman for the Owls from 1979-82 and was co-captain of the 1982 team. He began his coaching career that fall as an assistant basketball and track coach at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston. He returned to Rice for one season as an assistant in 1985, then took the head coaching job at Strake in 1986.
He returned to Rice as an assistant from 1988-91, then spent one year as an assistant coach at Stanford in 1992, before returning once again to South Main in 1993, this time as the 22nd head basketball coach of the Owls.
Del Conte said that the Owls will immediately begin a nation-wide search for Wilson's replacement.
Koulechov's Career Day Leads Rice to 87-79 Win ...
11/26/2016 - Egor Koulechov made all six of his 3-point attempts for a career-high 35 points as Rice pulled away late to beat Incarnate Word 87-79 on Saturday.
Men’s Basketball Heads to San Antonio to ...
11/25/2016 - Rice stays in the state of Texas this Saturday, Nov. 26, when it travels to San Antonio to face Incarnate Word. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. CT.
Rice Uses Late Spurt to Down Delaware State, 80-58
11/23/2016 - Rice outscored Delaware State, 35-12, in the final 10 minutes to earn an 80-58 victory Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Men’s Basketball Closes Homestand against...
11/22/2016 - Rice closes its homestand this Wednesday, Nov. 23, when it hosts Delaware State. TIp-off is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be live-streamed on CUSA.tv.
Second Half Comeback Propels Rice to 83-78...
11/21/2016 - Marcus Evans scored on a layup and knocked down 3 of 4 from the free throw line, all in the final minute, as Rice held off Montana State 83-78 on...
Men’s Hoops Opens Homestand Against...
11/20/2016 - Rice begins a two-game homestand this Monday, Nov. 21, when it hosts Montana State. TIp-off is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be live-streamed on CUSA.tv.
Red Hot Shooting Leads Rice to 100-87 Victory...
11/19/2016 - Rice shot 63.3% from the floor on its way to a 100-87 win at Nebraska-Omaha, Saturday afternoon.
Evans scores 29 points to lead Rice over Omaha ...
11/19/2016 - Marcus Evans scored 29 points and Rice defeated Omaha 100-87 on Saturday. In his 29th consecutive game scoring in double figures, Evans was 7 of ...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store