HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A familiar name in Mississippi basketball circles will be bringing his expertise and experience to the University of Southern Mississippi men’s basketball program.
Former Mississippi State University basketball coach Richard Williams has been hired as a volunteer “special assistant” on USM head men’s basketball coach Jay Ladner’s staff.
“To be able to add someone of Coach Williams' stature to our staff is exciting to say the least,” said Ladner, who is in his second season at the helm of the Golden Eagles.
“He had incredible success at Mississippi State. He strengthens an already strong staff of assistants. I feel we have the right staff in place to help us achieve our goals and vision.”
Williams served as the Mississippi State head coach from 1986-98, which included a Final Four appearance in 1996 after capturing the Southeastern Conference tournament title. That squad featured Mississippian Erick Dampier, who went on to play in the National Basketball Association.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help Coach Ladner and his staff,” Williams said. "I’ve known Jay a long time, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way he coaches basketball, the kind of person he is and how he cares about his players.
“With his vision for the program, and what he can do here, Jay is the guy who can bring this to a new level. I’m here because I know he can do that.”
Williams, a graduate of MSU and Pearl High School, served in operations roles at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Louisiana Tech University, before becoming an assistant at Arkansas State University.
USM’s men’s basketball schedule and ticket information are expected to be announced in the near future.