Corey Williams, a 23-year coaching veteran and player for the 1993 NBA Champion Chicago Bulls, has been hired as an assistant men’s basketball coach on Head Coach Bruce Pearl‘s staff.
Williams previously served as an assistant coach the last two seasons at Texas Tech University, including interim head coach. The Red Raiders advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and finished the 2021-22 season with a perfect 18-0 record at home for the first time in program history, ranked No. 12 in the final Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 1 in the Kenpom.com adjusted defensive efficiency ratings.
“We are very fortunate to be able to attract a coach with the kind of experience, character and reputation as Corey Williams,” Pearl said. “Not only was he a great college and pro player, but Corey is also a terrific coach and an even better person. A Macon, Georgia, native, he and his family are excited about moving to Auburn and being closer to home. It’s going to be a great fit with our Auburn Family.”
Williams is no stranger to the Southeastern Conference having worked as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas from 2019-21, after six seasons as the head coach at Stetson University from 2013-19.
“I want to thank God and Coach Pearl for an amazing opportunity to join his staff,” Williams said. “Coach Pearl is a proven winner in every sense of the word. My family and I look forward to being a positive attribute to his staff, the university, and community. I am truly thrilled and look forward to Coach’s mentorship and helping him win more championships in the near future.”
Williams was a star player at Oklahoma State from 1989-92 and had a lengthy career as a professional player, before embarking on his coaching career. He was a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls and was also selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 12th round of the 1992 NFL Draft, despite not having played football since junior high.
At OSU, Williams played point guard for Hall of Fame coach Eddie Sutton and later worked as a student assistant at his alma mater in 1994, serving as a member of the Cowboys’ staff during the program’s Final Four campaign.
Next to Sutton, Williams has also been mentored by Phil Jackson, Bill Self, Leonard Hamilton and Eric Musselman during his career as a player and assistant coach.
While at Arkansas, Williams helped lead a resurgence where the Razorbacks went 45-19 in his two seasons including a NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2021. He helped Arkansas land the fifth-best recruiting class in the nation which led to the program advancing to the Elite Eight where its season ended after an 81-72 loss to eventual national champion Baylor. The Razorbacks eliminated Texas Tech with a 68-66 win in the second round to reach the Sweet 16.
During his tenure as head coach at Stetson, 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 most career 3-pointers made.
Under William’s guidance, Derick Newton earned All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors in 2017 and Brian Pegg was voted as the 2017 ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The previous year, Stetson reached the ASUN Tournament championship game, 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 over the reins at Stetson, Williams spent six seasons as an assistant at Florida State from 2007-13. 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 in 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 four-straight seasons.
Before joining the Florida State staff, Williams was an assistant coach for seven seasons at Oral Roberts from 2000-07, 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. ORU captured the Mid-Continent Conference regular-season and tournament titles in 2006 and 2007, advancing to NCAA Tournament play each season.
As a player, Williams finished his time at Oklahoma State ranked eighth on the school’s career scoring list with 1,320 points. He led the Cowboys to consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances under Sutton in 1991 and 1992. The Cowboys were ranked No. 14 in the final Associated Press Poll following the 1991 season and No. 10 in the final Coaches Poll in 1992.
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 and the Oklahoma City Cavalry of the CBA. He also played professionally in Taiwan from 1995-98.
Originally from Macon, Georgia, 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.).