Travis Williams was named the 16thhead coach for the Tigers men's basketball program on April 13, 2012.
Williams, a native of Tifton, Ga., served as an assistant for previous TSU head coach John Cooper during the last three seasons. Cooper left on April 6 after accepting the head coaching position at Miami (Ohio).
Williams helped restore a winning attitude to the Tigers' program. The Big Blue recorded just nine wins in 2009-10, while improving to 14 victories in 2010-11. Last season, the Tigers completed a 20-13 mark - the most for any TSU program since 1978-79. It also marked the school's first winning season in 16 years.
The 2011-12 campaign gave Tennessee State its third NCAA Division-I postseason appearance with an invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). The Tigers fell to eventual CIT Champion Mercer, 68-60, in the first round.
As the first assistant, Williams was involved with every aspect of the program. His major priority was the recruitment and development of student-athletes, both academically and athletically. Williams helped with practice, game day strategies, assignments and scouting reports. He also maintained day-to-day operations. Williams worked with student-athletes individually, while scheduling practice and workout sessions. He coordinated all community service initiatives and served as the team's academic liaison.
"We are very pleased to have retained Travis Williams as our next head men's basketball coach," said Phillips. "Coach Williams is committed and has been a successful Division I student-athlete. He has coached on a variety of levels, so he brings a plethora of experience to this job. He understands the importance of relationship building and will continue to make TSU basketball a significant entity in the Nashville area."
"I am truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity to serve as the 16th head coach at TSU," said Williams. "It's with great honor and pride to serve Tennessee State University and the Nashville community. I will strive to represent TSU in a first class manner at all times by working hard and expecting my student-athletes to do the same. Our goal is to ensure our student-athletes graduate, while maintaining their competitive intensity and desire to win the OVC Championship."
When he joined the Tigers in the summer of 2009, Williams brought 10 years of coaching experience as an assistant and head coach.
This marks Williams' third time taking the reins of a basketball program. Williams served as head coach of the Dongguan Parklane Snow Wolf Professional Basketball Club in China's National Basketball League (NBL). He led the team to an 11-2 preseason record before leaving prior to the 2009 regular season. Williams was hired by the Dongguan Snow Wolf to develop the game of basketball in China directly after the 2008 Olympics. He facilitated player development, conditioning and game day strategies.
In 2004, Williams received his first head coach appointment at Fort Valley State University in Georgia. He led the Wildcats to a pair of winning seasons during his tenure. Williams led FVSU to an 18-12 record during the 2006-07 campaign. At the conclusion of the season, the Wildcats ranked 10th in the Division II South Region poll, making it to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Championship game. FVSU's 18 wins were the most since the 1998-99 season.
After a three-season stint at FVSU, Williams served as an assistant for one season at Mercer University (2007-08). That season, Mercer defeated No.17 ranked University of Southern California.
Williams' coaching resume includes stops as an associate head coach with the Southern Crescent Lightning of the World Basketball Association (2004) and an assistant position at Chicago State (2003-2004).
From 1999-2003 he served as assistant at his alma mater Georgia State. During his tenure with the Panthers, the program produced three conference regular season championships and one conference tournament championship. While at GSU, the Panthers defeated two Top-25 teams (No.15 St. Josephs and No.23 Georgia) and produced an upset over No. 6 seed Wisconsin in the 2001 NCAA Tournament marking the first 20-win season in school history, finishing 29-5.
In 2001-02, the Panthers had another 20-win season and advanced to the final game, bowing out by a single point in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championship game, receiving a bid to the NIT Tournament.
Williams hosted "In the Loop", an all-access cable sports show covering all levels of athletics throughout central Georgia. He has also served as a motivational speaker and educational consultant with his "If You Believe, You Can Achieve" Power Hour series.
Williams is currently a member of National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Black Coaches and Administrators Association (BCAA). As a player, he scored more than 1,000 career points at GSU. He graduated with a Bachelor's in business management in 1995 and a Master's in Sports Administration in 1999. While in college at GSU, Williams interned with the National Football League (NFL) Players Association as a research intern.
He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. and the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville. Williams is married to Nikkya Williams. The two celebrated the birth of their daughter Teagan Loure' Ann on Nov. 3, 2011 and are expecting a baby boy in February.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT COACH WILLIAMS
“I am really excited for Travis and his family that he has been given this opportunity. He was a loyal member of my staff and helped TSU basketball get back on the right track. He is very deserving of this opportunity. I know he will do very well with this program and will continue it in the right direction. He will prepare those young men for a great and promising future.”
-- John Cooper, Miami (Ohio) University Head Men’s Basketball Coach
“I am very happy for Travis. He has worked hard and deserves a shot of being a head coach. I am now a big fan of Tennessee State. Travis is a great man with high morals. He was a very good student-athlete at Georgia State when I coached there and he was a great assistant coach for me. I think Travis will do a great job.”
-- Charles ‘Lefty’ Driesell, National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Coach
“Travis Williams is a tremendous leader of young men and will make his mark on Tennessee State basketball immediately. Coach Williams has always been a great student of the game and his teams are well prepared. Travis will represent Tennessee State in a first class manner. TSU fans everywhere should be excited to support the Coach Travis Williams era at Tennessee State.”
-- Mark Slonaker, Former Mercer University Head Men’s Basketball Coach