Derek Williams will soon enter his second season as the head women’s basketball coach at Cincinnati Christian University, an accomplishment he attributes to his United States Sports Academy education and mentorship.
Williams has risen through the ranks of basketball coaching, from his beginning as a middle school coach to leading a collegiate program.
Williams earned his Bachelor of Sports Science degree in sports studies from the Academy in 2014 and a master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University-Irvine.
“Earning my degree from the Academy has helped me tremendously,” Williams said. “I did my Academy mentorship at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and the mentorship helped me land an interim coaching position there. My coursework while at the Academy also helped prepare me by providing me with the background knowledge, scientific research and information needed to progress in today’s world of sports.”
He took over the Cincinnati Christian program last year after a short but successful stint as interim women’s basketball coach at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
“I honestly don’t believe that I would have completed my degree without the help of the Academy. Nothing else piqued my interest like sports and the Academy’s unique approach gave me an avenue to pursue my degree. I tell everyone that I encounter who maybe looking for sports related education about the Academy.”
Williams said the Academy’s online approach was a perfect fit, allowing him to continue working as a coach while furthering his education.
“The online program allowed me to work on my schedule at a pace that worked for me,” Williams said. “I was able to work and go to school, and I regained that passion to learn and complete my college degree because it was based on what I love and was interested in: sports.”
A Cincinnati native, Williams was the girls’ varsity basketball head coach at Western Hills High School for seven years, a boys’ varsity assistant coach at Shroder High School for two seasons and the freshmen boys’ head coach at Withrow High School for three years. Additionally, Williams has 12 years of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coaching experience. He then moved into college coaching.
“Coaching at Cincinnati Christian University has been great,” he said. “This past season I took over a team with only four returning players and I got the job late in the summer so I really didn’t have time to recruit. I was able to bring in nine freshman. With that being said we were able to finish 9-20 overall, which was three wins better than the previous season.
“We play an open post, motion offense, allowing players to utilize their athleticism, speed, and creativity within the offense. Defensively, we utilize full court pressure defense in effort to speed the opponent up and create turnovers which lead to easy points in transition.
“The thing I like most about this job is the opportunity to lead, develop, instruct, shape, and mold young student-athletes who will become role models and leaders in their own communities after they graduate with their degree.
“My greatest professional accomplishment has been watching the young student-athletes that I have coached grow up to become well rounded adults who are now leaders in their own communities and careers,” he said. “Another accomplishment for me was last year, when I stepped in as the interim head coach at Cincinnati State and led the team to a 22-10 record, giving us the chance to play in our conference championship game.”