Freeman tabbed as Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Lander

Photo Courtesy Lander Athletics

Willie Freeman, previously of Western Carolina, has been named a Lander University men’s basketball assistant coach, announced by head coach Omar Wattad.

Freeman spent the past six seasons assisting the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Western Carolina. He joined the men’s basketball program as director of basketball operations in 2013-14 before becoming an assistant for the women’s program in 2014-15. Freeman then spent three seasons as a men’s assistant before rejoining the women’s staff as an assistant coach. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Willie on board,” said Wattad. “He brings a tremendous knowledge of the game after many years coaching at the D1 level as well as playing professionally. He will be great in player development and coaching on the floor. His regional ties and connections are major assets in recruiting. Most importantly, he’s a relationship guy that can naturally bond with players and prospects alike and a family man with good values that align with the Lander way.”

I first would like to thank Lander University for welcoming my family to be a part of the Bearcat family,” said Freeman. “I’m very excited to learn and grow under Coach Omar Wattad who is coming from a winning tradition and culture at LMU. It will be an honor to continue to inspire, motivate, and uplift not only the men’s basketball program but the entire Greenwood Community. I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Freeman arrived in Cullowhee after one season as the head coach of the Salem Sabres. In the team’s inaugural season, he led them to a 6-3 record and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Prior to that, Freeman was a two-time conference Coach of the Year at North Salem High School, where he guided the Vikings to two league titles and a 41-13 overall record. 

Freeman was a graduate assistant for Western Carolina during the 2003-04 season. His coaching career began at Smokey Mountain High School in 2002-03, where he helped lead the Mustangs to the state championship game in his lone season with the program. 

As a player, Freeman played professionally for five seasons, including stints in Argentina, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Uruguay, and Israel. He was a captain at Southern Wesleyan before transferring to Western Carolina, where he was named a captain and averaged 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in two seasons for the Catamounts. 

Freeman earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from WCU in 2003.

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