Recap: Rams clinch fourth consecutive outright MW regular season title with 80-46 win at San Diego State
Rams first women’s or men’s basketball team in Mountain West history to win the regular season conference title in four straight years
CSU can clinch regular season title outright with win; Rams have won each of their previous three regular season titles outright
Rams are first women's or men's basketball team in Mountain West history to win four consecutive regular season titles
Rams look to become first women's or men's Mountain West team to clinch at least share of Mountain West regular season title in four straight years
Rams outscored Cowgirls 18-9 in the fourth quarter
CSU Women's Basketball vs. UNC - photo by Don Reichert
CSU women's basketball vs. Northern Colorado - photos by Dan Byers
CSU Women's Basketball vs. Utah State - photos by Don Reichert
CSU Women's Basketball vs. Utah State - photos by Dan Byers
CSU Women's Basketball vs. Nevada - photos by Don Reichert
Under Williams’ guidance, the CSU women’s basketball team has enjoyed one of its most successful stretches in program history. The Rams finished 31-2 (.939) in 2015-16, marking the second-highest single-season wins total in school history, as well as the most wins in a single season by any school in Mountain West Conference history.
Williams coached the Rams to an NCAA Tournament appearance and national ranking in 2015-16, which were each firsts for the program since 2002. CSU’s NCAA Tournament bid in 2015-16 also marked the program’s third consecutive postseason appearance, building upon selections to the WNIT in 2013-14 as well as in 2014-15. CSU won the MW conference and regular season titles in 2015-16, and is the first program in conference history to win the regular season championship in three consecutive seasons.
Williams’ 2015-16 squad finished Mountain West play with a perfect 18-0 record, marking only the third time in league history that a team has run the table in conference play and the only time a MW school has gone undefeated since the conference transitioned to an 18-game league schedule.
The Rams won a program-record 28 straight games in 2015-16, shattering the previous school record of 19 consecutive victories. CSU enters 2016-17 with 15 straight wins at Moby Arena, the third-longest winning stretch at home in school history, as well as with a program-best 12 straight wins in true road contests. The Rams were undefeated at home for the entirety of the 2015-16 season, a feat that had only been accomplished previously by the Rams during the 1998-99 season.
Williams earned his second MW Coach of the Year award in 2015-16, while Ellen Nystrom was named MW Player of the Year that same season. Nystrom was Williams’ second MW Player of the Year, joining Gritt Ryder, who earned the award in 2014-15.
The Rams went 11-19 (.367) in Williams’ first season, but quickly turned into a perennial contender, winning back-to-back Mountain West Championships with a 25-8 (.758) record in 2013-14 and a 23-8 (.741) mark in 2014-15. The improvement from Williams’ first to second seasons ranked as the third-best turnaround in the country in 2013-14, and is the best in program history. Following the team’s strides in his second season, Williams was awarded with the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I Regional Coach of the Year award.
Tasked with repairing what had been nearly a decade of sub-par results, Williams brought eight new faces to the Rams’ 2013-14 roster in his second season at the helm. The team quickly realized it had an irrefutable chemistry, which resulted in win streaks of eight and 10 games and included a stretch of 17 wins in 18 games. CSU skyrocketed to the top of the 2013-14 Mountain West standings and won its first regular season championship in 12 years.
The Rams, who were picked to finish seventh in 2013-14 Mountain West preseason poll, more than doubled their win total from the previous season to produce their best record in 13 years as well as the third-most victories in program history.
The team earned a program-record 10 all-conference awards between six players, and Williams earned his first MW Coach of the Year honor. The Rams also received their first postseason invitation in 10 years with its first of two trips to the WNIT under Williams.
In 20 seasons as a head coach at various schools, Williams has compiled an impressive 402-227 career record, with stops at South Dakota (2008-12), Wayne State College (1998-2008) and Sheridan College (1995-98). Williams’ basketball teams have recorded nine campaigns with 20 or more victories, seven postseason berths and three conference championships.
Before coming to Colorado State, Williams was most recently head coach at his alma mater, South Dakota. In four seasons, Williams led the Coyotes to a highly successful stretch during their transition to Division I competition, and helped them become one of the nation’s premier defensive teams.
A staple of the Coyotes under Williams was team defense, and in 2011-12, the Coyotes were one of the nation’s premier defensive teams. USD ranked second nationally in blocks per game (7.3), eighth in field-goal defense (33.2) and 12th in scoring defense (52.3), as well as tops in the Summit League in all three categories. That season, the Coyotes qualified for the WNIT for the first time as a Division I program, marking their second straight postseason following a WBI appearance in 2010-11. South Dakota finished with a No. 97 rank in the RPI in 2011-12, the second-best RPI of any Summit League team that season as well as the highest RPI in school history.
Prior to arriving at USD in 2008, Williams spent 10 seasons at Wayne State, building that program into a perennial contender in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Wayne State, which had won just 13 games combined over the previous two seasons, recorded 20 wins or more in three of his final four seasons and made appearances in the NCAA Division II North Central Region tournament in two of his last three seasons. While at Wayne State, he compiled a 181-105 record (.632) and became the winningest women’s basketball coach in school history.
Before taking over at Wayne State, Williams was the women’s head coach at Sheridan College (Wyo.) from 1995-98. During his tenure, Williams received a Region IX Coach of the Year nod and was named the Wyoming Conference Coach of the Year twice.
Williams began his head coaching career at Sheridan when he served as the volleyball head coach and men’s basketball assistant coach in 1993. In his time as the head coach of the volleyball program he put together a 117-66 record. In 1995, Sheridan volleyball went 42-8, won the Region IX title and finished fifth at the junior college national tournament. Williams garnered Wyoming Conference and Region IX Coach of the Year honors in 1994 and 1995.
Sheridan is also where Williams began his collegiate playing career. He played basketball for two seasons at Sheridan, where he was an All-Region IX player as a sophomore, before transferring to South Dakota. Notably, Williams was an All-NCC selection and once led the nation in free throw percentage (91.2 percent). As a high school senior at Campbell County High School, he was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Wyoming in 1988.
A native of Gillette, Wyo., Williams earned his associate’s degree from Sheridan in 1990, his bachelor’s degree from South Dakota in 1992 and his master’s degree from South Dakota in 1997.
Williams and his wife, Lyndy, have two daughters, Natalie and Emily.
Ryun Williams at a glance
Wife - Lyndy
Daughters - Natalie and Emily
Sheridan College, 1988-90
South Dakota (BA), 1992
South Dakota (MA), 1997
- Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA DI Regional Coach of the Year 2014
- Mountain West Coach of the Year 2014
- NSIC Coach of the Year 2008
- NSIC Coach of the Year 2006
- Region IX Coach of the Year 1998
- Wyoming Conference Coach of the Year 1998
- Wyoming Conference Coach of the Year 1997
- Wyoming Conference Coach of the Year 1995 (Volleyball)
- Region IX Coach of the Year honors 1995 (Volleyball)
- Wyoming Conference Coach of the Year 1994 (Volleyball)
- Region IX Coach of the Year honors 1994 (Volleyball)
- 1993-95 Sheridan College (Volleyball Head Coach)
- 1993-95 Sheridan College (Men's Basketball Assistant Coach)
- 1995-98 Sheridan College (Women's Basketball Head Coach)
- 1998-2008 Wayne State College (Head Coach)
- 2008-12 South Dakota (Head Coach)
- 2012-Pres. Colorado State (Head Coach)
- Produced CSU's biggest turnaround in program history from 11-19 to 25-8 in just one year, leading the Rams to their first conference championship in 12 years and their postseason berth in 10 years.
- Led South Dakota to second straight postseason appearance in 2011-12, when Coyotes beat Drake in first round of WNIT. The team's 23-8 mark was best since moving to Division I.
- Led South Dakota to first-ever postseason appearance as a Division I program in 2010-11 when Coyotes earned berth in Women's Basketball Invitational; also led Coyotes to first Division I postseason win with 62-47 victory over Idaho.
- NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances in 2005-06 and 2007-08
- North Sub-Region Championship and Region IX Championship appearance
- Coached one WBCA All-America honorable mention; one NSIC Player of the Year; one NSIC Tournament MVP; two NSIC Defensive Players of the Year; and two Newcomer of the Year award recipients.
Head Coaching Capsule:
|Year||School||Record||Conf. Record||Conf. Finish||Postseason|
|2014-15||Colorado State||23-8||15-3||1st||WNIT First Round|
|2013-14||Colorado State||25-8||15-3||1st||WNIT First Round|
|2011-12||South Dakota||23-8||12-6||3rd||WNIT Second Round|
|2010-11||South Dakota||20-12||10-2||2nd||WBI Second Round|
|2007-08||Wayne State||22-10||12-6||2nd||NCAA DII Regional Semifinal|
|2005-06||Wayne State||27-4||13-1||1st||NCAA DII First Round|
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