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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
Ryun Williams, a 20-year coaching veteran, just completed his second season as the head coach of the Colorado State women's basketball program and was named Mountain West Coach of the Year following an outstanding program turnaround.
Williams led the Rams from 11-19 (.367) in his first season to 25-8 (.758) in 2013-14. That improvement ranked as the third-best turnaround in the country, and is the best in program history. The WBCA awarded Williams with the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA DI Regional Coach of the Year award.
Tasked with repairing what has 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 eight- and 10-game win streaks, totaling 17 wins in 18 games, skyrocketing them to the top of the Mountain West standings and their 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, producing the best record in 13 years, and the third-most victories in program history.
The team earned a program-record 10 all-conference awards to six players, in addition to a MW Coach of the Year nod for the second-year coach. The Rams also received their first postseason invitation in 10 years, with a trip to the WNIT.
With over 20 seasons in coaching, including 19 as a head coach, Williams has compiled an impressive 348-217 career record, with stops at South Dakota (2008-12), Wayne State College (1998-2008) and Sheridan College (1995-98), leading his squads to seven campaigns of 20 or more victories, five postseason berths and two conference championships.
Before coming to Colorado State, Williams was South Dakota's head coach for four seasons. He 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 has been defense, and that was no exception in 2011-12. They ranked second nationally in blocks per game (7.3), eighth in field-goal defense (33.2) and 12th in scoring defense (52.3), leading the Summit League in all three categories. The Coyotes qualified for the WNIT for the first time ever last season as a Division-I program, which was their second straight postseason berth after competing in the Women's Basketball Invitational in 2010-11. South Dakota finished with a No. 97 rank in the RPI, the second-highest of any Summit League team and the highest mark 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.
Williams took over a program that had won just 13 games the previous two seasons and turned it into an NCAA tournament team. His team's 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 the 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.
In 2007-08, he guided the Wildcats to a 21-9 record, which included a trip to the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the North Central Region he led his team to an 85-78 upset of North Dakota for the first win in the NCAA tournament in the school's history. In 2005-06, Williams took Wayne State to its first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament, as the team notched its best season in school history by going 27-4. They were 13-1 in NSIC play and won the NSIC tournament to earn automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. That season Williams was named the NSIC Coach of the Year.
Williams' players have received plenty of postseason recognition. He has had players named WBCA All-America honorable mention, NSIC Player of the Year and NSIC Tournament MVP. Two players earned NSIC Defensive Player of the Year honors, two won the Dodie Martin and two were named the league's newcomers of the year.
Before taking over at Wayne State, Williams was the women's head coach at Sheridan College (Wyo.) for three seasons. While there he was named the Wyoming Conference Coach of the Year twice and was the Region IX Coach of the Year.
In 1993 he began his head coaching career at Sheridan when he served as the volleyball head coach and men's basketball assistant coach. In his time as the head coach of the volleyball program he put together a 117-66 record. In 1995 Sheridan 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 two seasons at Sheridan, where he was an All-Region IX player as a sophomore. In addition he was a two-time All-Wyoming Conference performer and a two-time academic all-conference selection. He then transferred to South Dakota where he earned All-NCC honors after leading the nation in free throw percentage at 91.2 percent. Williams was also named academic all-conference as a junior and senior. 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|
|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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