College - Rice '70
Greg Williams, boasting 28 years coaching experience, enters his second season as Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel of the Detroit Shock. Prior to being named Head Coach, Williams served as the team’s lead assistant coach the two seasons prior (2000, 1999) and has been with the franchise in a coaching capacity since the team’s 1998 inaugural season. Williams oversees Detroit’s basketball staff, its roster development and all player acquisitions while also coaching the team on the floor. He is the first person to head coach in three different women’s professional basketball leagues, dons two women’s professional championship rings and aims to become the first coach to win a championship in three different women’s professional basketball leagues.
Williams has made several key player personnel moves in retooling a young Shock team towards WNBA playoff contention. Credited as an excellent evaluator of talent and one of the hardest working scouts in the game today, Williams has molded the Shock’s core roster primarily through the WNBA Draft after making several key trades to secure a league-high six draft picks in the 2002 WNBA Draft. Williams and the Shock selected 2002 NCAA Final Four MVP Swin Cash (forward) from the University of UCONN with the second overall pick in the ’02 draft. Williams and his staff added tremendous depth to the roster with four of the top six picks in the second round, including: 2002 All-Conference USA First Team guard Lenae Williams (DePaul), USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Ayana Walker (forward, Louisiana Tech) and All-Big Ten First Team center Jill Chapman (Indiana). One year earlier, Williams selected athletic guard/forward Deanna Nolan with the sixth overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft. Most WNBA insiders agree that Nolan, called the “Michael Jordan” of women’s basketball, has All-Star potential.
The 55-year old Williams boasts a wealth of coaching experience, having worked extensively at both the professional and collegiate levels of women’s basketball. As a Shock assistant coach from 1998-2000, Williams helped lead the team to a 17-13 (.567) inaugural season record (The highest winning percentage by an expansion team in the history of the four major sports—WNBA/NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) and a 1999 WNBA playoff berth. Williams worked as an assistant coach for the WNBA’s Utah Starzz in the league’s inaugural 1997 season and has been associated with two other women’s professional basketball leagues aside from the WNBA. He guided the Women’s American Basketball Association’s (WABA) Dallas Diamonds to the 1984 league championship, and also coached the Diamonds under the aegis of the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) during 1980-81 season. Williams inherited a last place 1980-81 Diamonds team during his first year coaching the franchise and promptly led Dallas to the 1981 league finals. Williams was also assistant coach of the WBL’s Houston Angels for two seasons (1979-80). The Angels won their first-ever women’s basketball professional championship in 1979 and qualified for the playoffs in 1980.
At the collegiate level, Williams served as head coach at Colorado State University for seven seasons (1990-97), and led the Rams to a 108-88 (.551) record. His 1995-96 squad posted the best season in Colorado State history to date, reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament (the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance), while posting a 26-5 record earning Williams Western Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors. He landed his first collegiate head coaching job with the women’s basketball program at the University of Houston in 1985 after volunteering with the women’s basketball program at Southern Methodist University for two years. In five seasons, Williams led his teams to a 93-51 (.646) overall record including a berth in the 1988 NCAA tournament (the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance) while garnering Southwest Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors. Williams’ five-year .646 winning percentage at Houston remains the highest winning percentage by any coach in the history of the program. Williams began his coaching career in 1970 as a men’s assistant coach at his alma mater, Rice University, where he stayed until 1975. While playing at Rice he was named Southwest Conference Player-of-the-Year in 1969 as a member of the league’s all-conference team.
A native of Portland, Indiana, Williams is married to wife Suzanne and resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.