New CSU womenâ€™s basketball coach Ryun Williams always said the only way he would ever leave South Dakota was to be closer to home. He got just what he wanted when CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham offered him the job at CSU.
Williams signed a 5-year contract that will pay him $150,000 per year as a base salary with the potential to earn bonuses for graduating players, not committing NCAA violations, and reaching performance milestones.
â€œWe didnâ€™t look for a coach that was available,â€ Graham said. â€œWe went out for a coach we wanted.â€
Williams is a Wyoming native and was named Mr. Basketball Wyoming in 1988. He began his head coaching career at Sheridan College in Wyoming in 1993. From here Williams coached at Wayne State until 2008 when he moved to the University of South Dakota.
There, he compiled an 80-46 record and the programâ€™s first ever WNIT berth in 2011.
â€œThis guy knows how to win,â€ Graham said. â€œWeâ€™re hooked at the hip about where we want to see CSU womenâ€™s basketball go.â€
Defense has been the cornerstone of Williamsâ€™ philosophy since he began. At South Dakota in 2011, his team ranked second nationally in blocks at 7.2 per game and eighth nationally in field goal percentage at 33.2.
â€œI want a team that plays hard defensively, values the basketball, and understands their roles,â€ Williams said.
Williams convinced every member of the team that is eligible to play in 2012 to remain at CSU, no small feat considering the traditional exodus of players during a coaching change.
â€œItâ€™s really exciting,â€ junior Sam Martin said. â€œHe hasnâ€™t told us his whole style yet, but he said weâ€™re going to win and thatâ€™s all that matters.â€
His presence even helped facilitate junior Megan Heimstraâ€™s return to the team. She originally announced she would forgo her final year of eligibility, but changed her mind after talking with Graham after former coach Kristen Holt resigned.
Graham asked her to â€˜hang outâ€™ until he found a new coach, and Heimstra was elated after learning CSU had hired Williams. Heimstraâ€™s parents both graduated from the University of South Dakota and her family is from that area, so they know Williams.
â€œIâ€™m happy to be back and happy to go to work,â€ Heimstra said.
During his introductory press conference, Williamâ€™s often repeated the phrase â€œwhy not?â€, referencing the fact that CSU has been great before and has the potential to be great in the future.
â€œItâ€™s not a microwave process, these babies have to be slow cookers. To build something truly great doesnâ€™t take place overnight,â€ Williams said. â€œWeâ€™re going to show up to work every day and give our best effort and low and behold itâ€™ll happen.â€
Womenâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.