Greg Williams, now in his eighth season at his alma mater, has led the Owls to two consecutive postseason appearances. A product of Rice's Hanszen College, he has led Rice to two C-USA title games and four postseason appearances in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2012.
The Owls advanced to the WBI in 2012, marking their second consecutive trip to the postseason. Rice posted a 16-16 record, and had Jessica Kuster named to the All-C-USA First Team for the second straight year.
In 2010-11 the Owls were led by all-star freshman Kuster, who became only the third-ever freshman to be named to the All-C-USA First Team. Kuster was also named the league's Freshman of the Year.
With a young squad, the Owls suffered through a 7-23 season during 2009. Freshman guard D'Frantz Smart was named to C-USA All-Freshmen team as she led all freshmen in the league in scoring at 10.8 points per game. Smart was also tops in the league in steals with a 2.33 steals per game average and fifth in assists (3.96).
In 2008, the Owls tallied a 14-18 record last after playing nine games without Valeriya Berezhynska, who was C-USA's top scorer and rebounder in conference games. Berezhynska tallied the program's first career triple-double during a nationally-televised contest at Tulane, was selected by the WNBA's Detroit Shock in April of 2009 and is currently playing professionally.
Despite injuries to starters that limited Rice's firepower on both ends of the court, Williams led his squad to an 18-14 record and a second place C-USA finish during his inaugural campaign in 2005-06. The Owls also earned a trip to the Women's National Invitation Tournament Second Round.
Rice followed up with 19-14 record and another WNIT appearance. The Owls were headlined by two-time All-Conference USA First-Team selection Lauren Neaves, who averaged a double-double in each of Williams' first two seasons. Neaves has played professionally in France since leaving Rice.
As a player, Williams was a three-year letterman for the Owls under coach Don Knodel in 1967-69, earning all-Southwest Conference honors and the league's Co-MVP in 1969. After receiving his Rice degree in physical education in 1970, he immediately joined the men's staff under Knodel, helping the Owls to the 1970 SWC championship as a student coach.
After six seasons as an assistant coach and two years in private business, Williams rejoined Knodel as an assistant coach with the Houston Angels in the Women's Professional Basketball League. In the league's first year (1978-79), the Angels won the league title and Knodel was named Coach of the Year.
Williams got his first head coaching position in 1980 with the WBL's Dallas Diamonds, earning the league's Coach of the Year honors in 1981 after leading the team to a runner-up finish. His Diamonds featured legendary Nancy Lieberman and outdrew the NBA's Dallas Mavericks during the WBL Championship series.
After two years as a volunteer assistant at SMU, Williams returned to the professional ranks in 1984 as the coach of the new Dallas Diamonds in the Women's American Basketball Association. In his only season with the Diamonds, he led the squad to the WABA title and won his second Coach of the Year award.
Williams moved back to Houston in 1985 and returned to the college game when he was named head coach at the University of Houston. Among his accomplishments at UH were a 66-60 upset of No. 3 Louisiana Tech in 1985-86 and a 22-7 mark during 1987-88 that secured the school's first Top-20 ranking along with a NCAA Tournament appearance. Williams also took home 1987-88 SWC Coach of the Year honors.
Greg Williams, 2012-13
Williams took the reins at Colorado State University in 1990, leading the Rams to their first NCAA Tournament in 1996 in addition to the school's first Western Athletic Conference championship. He won another Coach of the Year honor that season, adding the WBCA Region Seven award. CSU finished No. 24 in the final USA Today Top 25 coaches' poll in 1996 behind WAC Player of the Year Becky Hammon, who finished second in the WNBA MVP voting in 2007 with the San Antonio Silver Stars.
The Indiana native's successes on the professional and college level made him a natural fit when the WNBA started play in 1997. First, he was an assistant with the Utah Starzz, then added director of scouting duties when he moved to the Detroit Shock in 1998. As a Shock assistant coach from 1998-2000, Williams helped lead the team to a 17-13 (.567) inaugural season record, which was the highest winning percentage by an expansion team in the history of the four major sports-(WNBA/NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) to go along with a 1999 WNBA playoff berth.
Two years later, Williams became the Shock's head coach and director of player personnel. He was the first person to be a head coach in three different women's professional leagues. Williams' selections included Deanna "Tweety" Nolan and Swin Cash, who were key players as the Shock won the 2003 and 2006 WNBA championships. Nolan earned 2006 WNBA Finals MVP and was a 2007 WNBA All-Defensive Team selection, while Cash was a 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist in Athens.
Williams returned to the college ranks in 2003 as an assistant coach at the University of Dayton. He was an aide to head coach Jim Jabir as the Flyers had the fourth-best national increase in wins (nine) during 2004-05 before returning to Rice as the program's fourth coach in May 2005.
Williams is married to Suzanne Mote of Union City, Ind.