Williamson takes over Bears

Updated: March 12, 2010, 7:10 PM ET
Associated Press

CONWAY, Ark. -- Corliss Williamson is taking over as Central Arkansas' new coach, promising a style similar to the way his teams played when he was a star with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

"It'll be pick up and play," Williamson said. "Full-court pressure."

Williamson was introduced Friday by the Bears, who fired coach Rand Chappell after the team went 9-21 this season. Williamson, who led Arkansas to the 1994 national championship as a player, was the coach at Arkansas Baptist before leaving the junior college and accepting the Central Arkansas job.

Coach Williamson wants to mentor these young men and be a role model for these young men so they can grow, learn in life, get a degree and, oh by the way, have a great experience on the basketball court, too.

-- Central Arkansas athletic director Brad Teague

Central Arkansas, where Scottie Pippen played college basketball, is a relative newcomer to Division I but will be fully eligible for postseason play next season.

"The fact that he's got a name, was an NBA star and a college star will certainly help him," athletic director Brad Teague said. "He will be able to get in some homes that other coaches can't, he'll be able to attract some student-athletes that other coaches couldn't."

Teague said that wasn't Williamson's only virtue.

"It was the plan he showed me and the values that he is going to instill in these young men -- that's what sold me on Corliss Williamson," Teague said. "Coach Williamson wants to mentor these young men and be a role model for these young men so they can grow, learn in life, get a degree and, oh by the way, have a great experience on the basketball court, too."

Williamson is from Russellville, which is about 45 miles from Conway. He won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He retired from playing in 2007 and spent the last three seasons at Arkansas Baptist, the last year as head coach.

"We're just excited for him," said Charles Ripley, the athletic director at Arkansas Baptist. "He'll do very well."

Williamson played for Nolan Richardson at Arkansas, part of a team that won the national championship with a style known as "40 Minutes of Hell" that was both entertaining and effective. Williamson was the Final Four's most outstanding player in '94.

"It means the world to me to get the opportunity to represent the state of Arkansas again and a great university that's on the rise," Williamson said.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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