Veteran WNBA coach Fred Williams joins Auburn women’s basketball staff

Veteran WNBA coach Fred Williams joins Auburn women’s basketball staff

AUBURN, Ala. – Veteran WNBA coach Fred Williams, who has spent the last 25 years coaching in the professional ranks, will join Auburn Head Coach Johnnie Harris‘staff as associate head coach.

Williams, who brings nearly 40 years of coaching experience to the Plains, is currently an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Sparks, helping lead the team to playoff appearances in 2019 and 2020.

He will coach the Sparks during the upcoming 2022 WNBA season, which tips off on Friday, May 6. Williams will officially begin his post at Auburn mid-summer.

“We are thrilled to add Fred Williams to our Auburn Women’s Basketball Family as our associate head coach,” Harris said. “He brings a wealth of experience from both the professional and collegiate levels, where he won championships, built trust with his players and developed them into All-Americans and WNBA All-Stars. Fred will be a huge asset to our staff, as we continue to build our fan base through community outreach and mold our student-athletes into champions on-and-off the court.”

Williams has 10 years of head coaching experience in the WNBA and was also head coach at the University of Southern California. Prior to his stint with the Sparks, he spent five seasons as head coach of the Tulsa Shock/Dallas Wings, leading the franchise to a pair of playoff appearances.

He was also head coach of the Atlanta Dream for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, before taking over as head coach, Williams was an assistant for the Dream for three seasons. While in Atlanta, he was part of a staff that led the team to three WNBA Finals appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2013. He worked alongside legendary former Auburn Head Coach Joe Ciampi, who spent two seasons as an assistant for the Dream.

“My wife and I are excited to join the Auburn Family,” Williams said. “It was just a good fit for me – a great opportunity to come in, help the program and make a difference in young peoples’ lives. The SEC is the toughest women’s basketball conference in the country. You always want to play the best and be tested.

“With the program’s style of play, Auburn is emerging into a team that has challenged the upper half of the SEC. Coach Harris has also done a lot of great things recruiting-wise throughout her career, including the freshman class we have coming in. She is starting to implement her system, and I am happy to be a part of what she is building at Auburn.”

Williams spent four seasons with the Utah Starzz, first as an assistant in 1998 and then as head coach from 1999-2001. He also spent two seasons as an assistant with the Charlotte Sting from 2003-04.

Additionally, he was an advance scout in the NBA and WNBA for the Utah Jazz, Seattle Supersonics, Sacramento Kings and Washington Mystics. Williams also served as a basketball analyst for ESPN+.

Prior to his time in the professional ranks, Williams served as head coach at USC from 1995-97 and assistant coach from 1983-90. The team rose to national prominence as he coached legends in Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper and Tina Thompson, who helped lead the Women of Troy to national titles in 1983 and 1984.

As for his philosophy in developing players, Williams looks forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting into the gym.

“Make them work hard and sweat,” he said. “Make each individual better, play as a team and having certain goals each and every day to achieve. A team working toward being champions.”

A native of Inglewood, Calif., Williams is a graduate of Boise State University, where he was an All-Big Sky Conference player for the Broncos. He is married to Bo Talley-Williams, and the couple have five children and two grandchildren.


“Coach Williams was my savior in college. He has been a friend, teacher and mentor ever since. I would not have had the success I’ve enjoyed on the court, without his continued support and tutelage.” – Four-Time WNBA Champion, Two-Time WNBA MVP, Three-Time WNBA All-Star, Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Two-Time NCAA Champion and Naismith Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper

“Coach Williams is a proven winner at all levels. He is an outstanding communicator and motivator of the student-athlete. His teams have always played inspired basketball.” – Former Auburn Women’s Basketball Head Coach and Three-Time SEC Coach of the Year Joe Ciampi

“Coach Fred Williams is like family to me and has been a part of my basketball journey for a very long time. I’m so happy for him and excited about this new journey. He is no stranger to coaching at the collegiate level as he was my coach during my collegiate career. Coach is all about relationships and growth. Growing his players to be the best version of themselves. The relationship he creates with his players span far beyond the coach-player relationship. He is never too far away. It’s a normal occurrence to receive a congratulatory text or a ‘how are you? Just checking in on you.’ At 47 years of age, I am still receiving those texts. He is an asset and is impactful wherever he is. I see this experience to be no different. His student-athletes are blessed to have him.” – Four-Time WNBA Champion, Nine-Time WNBA All-Star, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist and Naismith Hall of Famer Tina Thompson

“Coach Williams, congrats on the next chapter and thank you for all you have done for the WNBA and women’s basketball. You’re a legend and we love you!” – Five-Time WNBA All-Star, Three-Time AP All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist Skylar Diggins-Smith

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