comscore script

Corliss Williamson: player to pro to coach

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Corliss Williamson: player to pro to coach

Black History Month began Feb. 1, 2012, and will be celebrated through the end of the month, ending Feb. 29, 2012. The University of Arkansas Athletics Department begins its fourth year of recognizing the accomplishments of current and former Razorback student-athletes as well as other prominent students, faculty and staff with its web series on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. This year, the web series will feature stories of former Razorback student-athletes who have gone on to coaching positions in universities or colleges around the state and country. In addition, the series will recognize four Silas Hunt honorees. Razorback fans across the country are aware of the impact Corliss Williamson had on the Arkansas basketball program in the mid-90s, but his impact on the sport of basketball and on young men since his days in Fayetteville are not told nearly as often. Williamson was the go-to player for the Razorback teams of 1993, 1994 and 1995 and was a two-year All-American, two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. His exploits on the court were well documented and “Big Nasty,” as he was affectionately called, scored more than 1,700 points in just three seasons on the Hill, a total that still ranks him eighth on Arkansas’ all-time scoring list. Williamson was named to the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor in 2003, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and on Feb. 3 was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame a second time as a part of 1994 NCAA Championship team. “I thought that Corliss played the game the right way,” Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson would say about Williamson years later. “He played with passion, he played with pride. He was an ultimate team player as well. Defensively, he was a tremendous rebounder. If there was one word to describe Corliss, he was a winner, just tough and rugged. Off the floor he was one of the nicest guys that you were going to meet, but on the floor he was a terror.” After leading the Razorbacks to their second NCAA Championship game in two years, the Russellville, Ark., native opted to declare for the National Basketball Association’s 1995 draft where he was the 13th overall pick by the Sacramento Kings. It was in Sacramento that Williamson’s professional career began and, after averaging just 5.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in his first season, his numbers would increase dramatically in his second year to 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. He would average more than nine points and three rebounds for the next 10 seasons through stops in Sacramento, Toronto, Detroit, Philadelphia and back to Sacramento. Along the way, Williamson helped the Detroit Pistons win the 2004 NBA title and was honored as the league’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2001-02. He had averaged 13.6 points and 4.1 rebounds over 78 games with the Pistons while shooting greater than 50 percent from the floor. Off the court, Williamson awarded the Oscar Robertson Triple Threat Award by the Sacramento Kings two consecutive years which is presented to players based on the combination of performance on the court, leadership in the clubhouse and activeness in the community. Among his charitable services, Williamson was an active part of the NBA’s “Read to Achieve” program for 12 years. Following the 2006-07 season; Williamson left the professional game with more than 9,000 points and 3,000 rebounds and began mentoring student-athletes as a coach at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock. After two years as an assistant coach, Williamson was named the head coach for the 2009-10 season. On March 12, 2010, Williamson would take the head coaching reigns at the University of Central Arkansas where he is currently in his second year. In his first season, Williamson led the Bears to a 5-24 record and has already improved on that record in year two as Central Arkansas has seven wins with eight games to play.



Sports Category :