Willie Freeman Named Assistant Coach at Western Carolina

Western Carolina head men’s basketball coach Larry Hunter announced the addition of Willie Freeman to his staff. Freeman has been a fixture in Cullowhee having spent time as a player for the Catamounts, a graduate assistant and Director of Basketball Operations for the men’s program and as an assistant on the women’s basketball staff.

Freeman will fill the spot left vacant when former assistant coach Eric Wilson left for a position at another institution.

“I am pleased and excited to have Willie re-join our program as a full time assistant coach,” Hunter said. “We have seen firsthand Willie’s work ethic and passion for coaching and recruiting. He has the experience of being our Director of Basketball Operations for over a year, as well as working full time with our women’s program. In addition, he has been a head coach at both the high school and professional IBL levels. Our players will soon learn that he will care about their development both on and off the court as well as bring great enthusiasm in trying to help them improve to be the best they can become. He has a working knowledge of our recruiting and scouting software which will help make his transition back to our program a smooth one.”

Freeman most recently served as an assistant coach for the Western Carolina women’s basketball program for one season. His main focus was with the Catamount post players while also organizing team travel. Prior to his appointment to the women’s program he served as the men’s Director of Basketball Operations for one season. He managed film exchange and team travel for the Catamounts while also assisting in the day-to-day operations of the program.

“It’s a blessing to be back at my alma mater and having the opportunity to work and learn from coach Hunter and his staff,” Freeman said. “I was thankful for the opportunity to coach on the Western Carolina women’s staff last season but my ultimate goals and dreams were to be a coach on the men’s side.”

Prior to his return to Cullowhee in 2013, Freeman spent one season as the head coach of the Salem Sabres in Salem, Ore., of the International Basketball League. He led the team to a number one seed in the divisional playoffs in their inaugural season. He also spent two seasons coaching the North Salem High School Vikings to back-to-back OSAA Central Valley Conference League Championships where he was a two-time Coach of the Year selection while compiling a 41-13 record.

Freeman played for the Catamounts for two seasons from 2000-02 where he averaged 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He played alongside former Catamount great and current NBA star, Kevin Martin, for one season as a senior. He was a starter for the Catamounts from day one and later served as team captain after transferring from Spartanburg Methodist College where he served as a team captain and was a two-year starter.

Following his playing career at WCU, Freeman spent five years playing overseas in Argentina, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Uruguay and Israel. He also spent a short time with the Macon Blaze of the World Basketball Association.

Prior to embarking on his overseas career, Freeman spent one season as an assistant coach on the Smoky Mountain High School boys’ basketball staff and also spent one season as a graduate assistant for the WCU men’s program.

Freeman earned a degree in sports management from Western Carolina University in 2003 after graduating with an associate’s degree from Spartanburg Methodist College in 2000.


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