Corey Williams Named to Arkansas Staff

Sports
Corey Williams 1_1556140657983.jpg.jpg

By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman is on the board with his first official coaching hire in Fayetteville as former Stetson head coach Corey Williams was named to the Hogs’ staff on Wednesday.

“We are excited and fortunate to have a coach of Corey’s caliber,” said Musselman. “His experience as a head coach will be invaluable on our staff and he was widely respected as an assistant coach for building winning programs. Also, his knowledge gained playing at the highest level will benefit our players’ development. Corey will help Arkansas compete at a championship level.”

Word began circulating earlier in the week that Williams was in line to join Musselman, who was hired April 7 to lead the men’s basketball program at Arkansas, but attempts to contact Williams for comment on Tuesday were unsuccessful.  Multiple sources Wednesday morning confirmed the hire, and the University of Arkansas sports information department made the formal announcement shortly after 3 CT Wednesday afternoon.

“I am looking forward to working with Coach Musselman,” Williams said. “He is an unbelievable coach. He has a passion for Arkansas and is passionate about student-athlete success. This is a great time to be a part of Razorback basketball and I can’t wait to get started.”

During his first 17 days on the job, Musselman had been working with Anthony Ruta (who was with him at Nevada) and Scotty Thurman (so far holding over from the previous Arkansas staff) as both have been serving in coaching and recruiting roles in support of Musselman. Neither coach has been formally announced to Musselman’s permanent staff.

Williams was at the helm of Stetson covering the past six seasons, and for the six seasons prior to that he was an assistant coach under Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. Williams played for former Arkansas head coach Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State in the early 1990s before being part of an NBA championship team as a rookie with the Chicago Bulls in 1992-93.

Hogs great, NBA journeyman, and former Arkansas-Little Rock assistant coach Joe Kleine believes Williams’ college and NBA experience as a player combined with his coaching experience at various NCAA Division 1 levels will be a positive at Arkansas.

“Florida state has always had exceptional talent, he was a part of that,” Kleine said. “Having been a head coach, its good to have that on your bench because he’s had to make tough decisions. That NBA experience is big because it perks kids’ ears up, and that is always big in recruiting. I think its a good hire.”

Below is the entire press release from the University of Arkansas men’s basketball program that was issued to the media Wednesday afternoon

Corey Williams, former head coach at Stetson and member of the 1993 World Champion Chicago Bulls, has been named assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas, Razorback head men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman announced today.

“We are excited and fortunate to have a coach of Corey’s caliber,” said Musselman. “His experience as a head coach will be invaluable on our staff and he was widely respected as an assistant coach for building winning programs. Also, his knowledge gained playing at the highest level will benefit our players’ development. Corey will help Arkansas compete at a championship level.”

In his time as a player and coach, Williams has learned from some of the finest minds in the game, including Phil Jackson, Eddie Sutton, Bill Self and Leonard Hamilton during his career as a player and assistant coach.

“I am looking forward to working with Coach Musselman,” Williams said. “He is an unbelievable coach. He has a passion for Arkansas and is passionate about student-athlete success. This is a great time to be a part of Razorback basketball and I can’t wait to get started.”

Williams spent the past six seasons as head coach at Stetson. During his tenure, several players broke long-standing records as Divine Myles became the program’s all-time leading scorer, Angel Rivera set the record for career assists and Luke Doyle established the mark for career three-pointers made.

Under William’s guidance, Derick Newton earned All-Atlantic Sun honors in 2017 and Brian Pegg was voted as the 2017 ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men’s basketball. The previous year, Stetson reached the ASUN Tournament Championship, marking the program’s first tournament finals appearance since 1994.

In 2014-15, Pegg led the ASUN in rebounding and Newton rewrote Stetson’s freshman record book on his way to earning Freshman All-America and ASUN Freshman of the Year honors. In Williams’ second year at Stetson, Myles and Grant Lozoya earned spots on the ASUN’s All-Freshmen team, while Rivera set the program’s record for assists by a freshman with 120. He and Myles also became the first teammates, regardless of class, to each record 100 assists in the same season.

Prior to taking the reins at Stetson, Williams spent six seasons (2007-13) as an assistant at Florida State. His career with the Seminoles coincided with the team’s resurgence on the national scene. Through Williams’ recruiting efforts, the Seminoles developed into one of the best programs in the ACC. During his time in Tallahassee, Florida State won its first ACC Championship (2012), enjoyed a run of four straight NCAA Tournament appearances – including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011, four consecutive years of double-digit wins in ACC play, produced five NBA Draft picks, recorded 16 wins over nationally ranked teams and appeared in the national rankings in four straight seasons.

Before joining the Florida State staff, Williams was an assistant coach for seven seasons (2000-07) at Oral Roberts where he aided the Golden Eagles in achieving an average of 18 wins per season, including 20 or more wins in each of his last three seasons in Tulsa. ORU captured the Mid-Continent Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2006 and 2007, advancing to play in the NCAA Tournament each season.

A native of Macon, Ga., Williams played point guard at Oklahoma State (1988-92) and had a lengthy career as a professional player before starting his coaching career.

Williams finished his time at Oklahoma State ranked eighth on the school’s career scoring charts with 1,320 points. He led 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.

Williams was a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls and, despite having not played football since junior high, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Williams in the 12th round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He was the only OSU Cowboy drafted by the NFL that year.

As a rookie in the NBA, Williams was a member of the Michael Jordan-led Bulls as the franchise captured its third straight NBA title. Following his one season in Chicago, Williams played parts of the next season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, while also playing for the Oklahoma City Cavalry of the CBA. He returned to Oklahoma State as a student assistant in 1994, serving as a member of the Cowboys’ staff during their 1994 Final Four campaign. Williams then played professionally in Taiwan, from 1995-98.

Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Oklahoma State in 2002. He and his wife, Nicole, have two children: Jourdan and Corey Jr. (C.J.).

THE WILLIAMS FILE

Education

Oklahoma State ‘02

Personal

Date of Birth: April 24, 1970

Hometown: Macon, Ga.

Wife: Nicole Williams

Children: Jourdan, C.J.

Coaching Experience

1993-94: Student Assistant, Oklahoma State

2000-07: Assistant Coach, Oral Roberts

2007-13: Assistant Coach, Florida State

2013-19: Head Coach, Stetson (58-133, 6 seasons)

2019-pres.: Assistant Coach, Arkansas

Playing Experience

1989-92: Oklahoma State

1992-93: Chicago Bulls

1993-94: Oklahoma City Cavalry

1994: Minnesota Timberwolves

1994-95: Grand Rapids Mackers

1995-98: DaCin Tigers

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