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Skipjacks net NBA vet Reggie Williams as coach

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

WYE MILLS – Former Georgetown University star Reggie Williams needed a team and the Skipjacks needed a coach. The result: Chesapeake College´s men´s basketball players will be literally learning from a pro this season.

"We couldn´t be more pleased that our coaching search has resulted in the hiring of Reggie Williams," said Chesapeake College Athletic Director Frank Szymanski Tuesday morning. "Not only has he played at the highest possible level, he has also shown the ability to build winning programs everywhere he has coached."

Williams, who played 10 NBA seasons for six teams, expected to be head coach at Towson Catholic High School this season. Towson Catholic, however, recently closed its doors due to financial reasons. The Skipjacks expected to be coached by veteran head coach John Mappas, but Mappas retired last week due to family considerations.

Mappas, meanwhile, had been talking with Williams about joining his staff as an assistant coach.

"I had been looking for an opportunity to coach at the college level, and Frank called me to let me know Coach Mappas was retiring," said Williams. "I viewed this as a great opportunity for me."

"We knew Reggie was available, and he came with outstanding recommendations," said Szymanski. "It (the coaching transition) worked out better than we could possibly have anticipated."

Williams ran his first official practice with the Skipjacks Monday night. Chesapeake College opens its season November 6 at the Howard Community College Tip-Off Tournament, but Williams isn´t concerned about the relatively short preseason.

"We´re going to work through it," said Williams of the challenges presented by a compressed preseason. "Monday was my first day of practice. We need some work, but it looks like they had a good offseason program."

He also saw no problem with coaching a team of players he didn´t recruit.

"I just want players who love the game, want to work hard and do well in school," said Williams.

Williams has already proven he can build winning basketball programs. He guided the Washington Justice of the National Rookie League – at that time an unaffiliated minor league for the NBA – to the 2000 league championship. More recently, he coached Jericho Christian Academy to a conference championship this past season.

Williams spent the last five seasons as a high school head coach, including two years at High Point High School in Beltsville and the last three seasons at Jericho Christian Academy in Landover.

Williams played his high school basketball at Baltimore´s legendary Dunbar High, where the Poets were a combined 60-0 his final two seasons, including a USA Today No. 1 national ranking as a senior in 1982-83. Williams finished his Dunbar career by being selected as a McDonald´s High School All-American.

Williams then attended Georgetown University, helping the Hoyas to a national championship as a freshman. He scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the NCAA title game as Georgetown defeated the University of Houston, 84-75.

After his four-year Georgetown career, which he capped by winning the Big East scoring championship as a senior, Williams was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the fourth pick in the 1987 NBA draft. He played for the Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and New Jersey Nets before retiring in 1996.

Williams´ best two NBA seasons came consecutively with Denver, where he averaged 18.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in 1991-92 and 17.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists the following season. Williams, who twice made it to the playoffs with the Nuggets, played in 599 regular-season NBA games and finished with 7,508 points scored and 2,393 rebounds, averaging 12.5 points per game.

Williams doubts his NBA credentials will impress his new players.

"I don´t think they were born yet," he said with a laugh, "but their parents are probably my age. The kids just know Michael Jordan."

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