NEW ORLEANS — Former Xavier University of Louisiana student-athlete and assistant coach Alfred Williams, who engineered one of the best turnarounds in NAIA Division I men's basketball this past season at Harris-Stowe State University, is returning home to become head coach at his alma mater.
XU Director of Athletics & Recreation Jason Horn announced the hiring of Williams Tuesday. He replaces Dannton Jackson, who left Xavier in April after 13 seasons as head coach to become an assistant at NCAA Division I's University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The new head coach will meet with news media, the XU community and fans July 5 at 1:30 p.m. in Xavier's Convocation Center
Williams was head coach for one season at Harris-Stowe in St. Louis, where he led the Hornets in a 7 1/2-game improvement from the previous year and victories against a pair of NCAA Division II opponents.
During his previous Xavier tenures, Williams was a member of three teams as a player and five teams as an assistant coach that qualified for the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National Championship and won or shared four Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament regular-season championships. The Gold Rush averaged 23.3 victories during his three playing seasons and 23.2 victories during his six seasons as assistant coach.
Xavier won three consecutive GCAC regular-season championships from 2011-14, and its 121 victories from 2010-11 through 2014-15 are the second-winningest five years in the program history, topped only by the Gold Rush's 126 victories from 1936-37 through 1940-41. Williams was a 6-foot-4 forward at Xavier, was All-GCAC his senior year and is one of three Gold Rush players with 800 points, 500 rebounds and 150 assists in a career.
"After a comprehensive national search which attracted many outstanding candidates, we are excited to welcome back Alfred Williams," Horn said. "We are confident that AJ (Williams' nickname) will continue the Xavier tradition of excellence and lead the Gold Rush to even greater national prominence while graduating our student-athletes."