Williams Announces Retirement
March 17, 2015
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University head women's basketball coach Greg Williams announced on Tuesday his decision to retire from coaching after 10 seasons of guiding the women's program at his alma mater.
"I want to sincerely thank all the past and current players for their hard work and the dedication they displayed both on the court and in the classroom representing Rice Women's Basketball," Williams said "I have often said I was both honored and blessed to be the Women's Basketball Coach at Rice and will always be indebted to this fantastic institution."
Williams posted a 141-170 record in 10 seasons at Rice, while leading four teams to postseason action as well as to a pair of appearances in the Conference USA championship game. The Owls were 9-21 in his final season, which ended with a 62-57 loss to Old Dominion in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament.
Williams compiled an overall record of 342-309 career collegiate coaching record from stops at Houston, Colorado State and Rice.
"Greg has put his heart and soul into this program over the past 10 years and I know that everyone at Rice appreciates his efforts," Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard said. "He loves this university and will always be a treasured part of our athletic tradition."
Williams developed 14 All-Conference USA selections while at Rice, including four-time, first-team selection Jessica Kuster, who completed her career as Rice's Owls all-time leading scorer (2,081 points) and rebounder (1,376) in either women's or men's basketball. She became the C-USA all-time leader in career double-doubles (67) and was the only player in league history to be named to both first team All C-USA and C-USA All-Defensive Team in each of her four seasons.
Kuster broke the Owls' single-season scoring and rebounding records as a senior during the 2013-14 season, finishing with 628 points and 400 rebounds. She averaged a career-best 20.9 points and 13.3 rebounds en route to being named an Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention. Kuster recently signed a WNBA training camp contract with the Tulsa Shock after playing overseas in Romania this past year.
Williams' first two seasons on South Main produced back-to-back WNIT appearances, including an appearance in the second round of the 2006 WNIT. The Owls reached the C-USA Tournament championship game in 2006 and 2007. The Owls had Top 100 RPIs in 2006 and 2007, and fashioned victories over No. 14 Texas Tech in 2005 and No. 10 Texas A&M in 2006.
Williams was a three-year basketball letterman for the Owls under coach Don Knodel from 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. He was inducted into the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
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 earned 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.
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.