A fixture in college basketball for more than 22 years Willis Wilsonís name has become synonymous with excellence when it comes to coaching and teaching the game. The former head coach at Rice University for sixteen seasons is also his alma matersí all-time winningest coach as well as having coached Rice to more post-season appearances than any other Rice coach in the past 60 years.

Wilson has produced more than 25 professional players during his tenure at Rice and he has been recognized as the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division Coach of the Year in 1999 and was the NABC District 9 Coach of the Year in 2004. He has coached 5 NBA players including; Adam Keefe of the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz; Brent Scott of the Indiana Pacers; Mike Wilks with the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs (where he won an NBA champions in 2005), Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, Seattle Super Sonics and Orlando Magic; Michael Harris of the Houston Rockets; and Morris Almond the 27th player taken in the first round by the Utah Jazz in the 2007 NBA Draft.

When it comes to developing talent there is no better teacher of the game in America than Wilson, who coached the 2007 Conference USA Player of the Year, and All-America selection Morris Almond. Almond led all of C-USA in scoring for two straight seasons at 26.1 points per game in 2007 after averaging 21.9 as junior in 2006. In addition Mike Wilks and Michael Harris were named College Insider Conference Players of the year under Wilsonís direction. The eighteen All-Conference selections during Wilsonís tenure are by far the most by any coach in Rice Basketball history.

Wilson was a long standing member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (N.A.B.C.) Board of Directors (2000-08) and was first-vice-president in his last year in 2008, and in addition served as chairman of the NABC All-America Committee. He formerly served four years on the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee and was chairman during his final year. He also served on the NABC Academic Committee and was a voter for the USA Today/ESPN top 25 poll. He was a member of the joint NABC/NCAA Special Committee on Recruiting and Access, and a member of the College Basketball Partnership, which is chaired by NCAA President Myles Brand. Wilson has participated in the NCAA Youth Education through Sports (YES) Clinics at the Final Four and previously was a member of the board of directors for the Houston-area Boys and Girls Clubs. He is a former member of the board of directors for TIRR Rehabilitation Clinics as well as the TIRR Foundation. Wilson also serves on the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Blue Ribbon Committee to select the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award.

The opportunities for Willis Wilson to give back to the basketball community and the local community in greater Houston, Texas where he resides have not gone unnoticed. He was honored with the distinguished John Lotz Barnabas Award in 2008, presented annually at the Final Four by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to a basketball coach who best exhibits a commitment to Christ, integrity and lives a balanced life. He was honored in 2004 with the NABC Literacy Champ Award for promoting reading and writing to school kids. Wilson has also been recognized by the Association of Rice University Black Alumni at the Blacks in Blue Dinner: Celebrating Over 40 Years of Excellence at Rice.

A Will Rice College Fellow and member of the college court, Wilson, graduated with a bachelor's of arts degree in political science from Rice in 1982. He also participated in the Rice NCAA Volunteers for Youth program.

His first collegiate coaching experience came at Rice as an assistant during the 1985-86 season. In 1986, he left Rice to become the head coach at Houston's Strake Jesuit College Preparatory before returning one year later. Wilson also was an assistant basketball and track coach at Strake (1982-84). Prior to begin named as head coach at Rice he served one year as an assistant coach to Mike Montgomery at Stanford University.

Wilson won all-metro Washington and all-county honors for Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Springs, MD. As a junior, he led Blair to the 1977 Maryland state championship. He was the most valuable player in Montgomery County as a senior and captained the McDonald's Coaches Scholarship all-star team in the Capital Centre Classic.

Additionally, Wilson is a noted clinician, lecturer and public speaker.


- 1999 Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division Coach of the Year; Houston Chronicle, Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year

- 2002, 2007 Winner of Basketball Coaches District 9 Coach of the Year

- 2007 Blacks in Blue Distinguished Alumni Award, Presented by Association of Rice University Black Alumni (ARUBA)

- 2008 John Lotz Barnabas Award, Presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes


- 1992 Washington Husky Classic Champions
- 1993 National Invitational Tournament 2nd Round
- 1995 Michigan State Oldsmobile Spartan Classic Champions
- 2003 Top of the World Classic Champions, Fairbanks, Alaska
- 2004 National Invitational Tournament
- 2005 National Invitational Tournament

Full Name: Willis Thomas Wilson, Jr.
Born: March 22, 1960, at Indianapolis, Ind.
Wife: Vicki.
Daughter: Kristin.
Twin sons: Zachary and Keenan.

Education: High School; Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring, MD, 1978. College: B.A., Political Science, Rice University, 1982

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