HERB WILLIAMS

Greater Columbus Basketball Legend Association

2015 GCBLA inductee

HERB WILLIAMS

PLAYER

2015 GCBLA INDUCTEE

COLUMBUS, OHIO


Category: PLAYER

Recognition

The 6’10” Herb Williams was a dominant high school basketball player at Marion-Franklin (Columbus, Ohio) where in his senior year, lead the state ranked Red Devils to the tournament regional final before bowing out to the eventual state champion in 1977. He was the crown jewel of the Ohio State recruits in 1977. Williams was a four-year starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes, scoring 2,011 points (then a team record) and pulling down 1,111 rebounds (still second in team history only to Jerry Lucas). Williams is the school leader in career field goals made, with 834 in 114 games. He is second all-time in career blocked shots with 328. Williams was named to the All-Big Ten team as a junior, when Ohio State finished the year with a 21-8 record and advanced to the NCAA regionals. He led the Buckeyes in scoring that year with an average of 17.6 points per game. Williams was a team co-captain in both his junior and senior years. Williams was a first-round draft choice of the Indiana Pacers in 1981, where he played from 1982 to 1989 and had his most productive years. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after the 1988-1989 season. In 1992, he was signed by the New York Knicks, where he spent seven years backing up perennial All-Star Patrick Ewing. Williams played one game (31 minutes) for the Toronto Raptors in 1996 before being waived and quickly returned to the Knicks. The team made the 1994 and 1999 NBA Finals, with Williams serving as a team leader. After the 1999 Finals, Williams retired at the age of 41 after six regular season games and eight playoff games in 1999. Four years later, he returned to the Knicks as an assistant coach. He worked under head coaches Don Chaney and Lenny Wilkens. When Wilkens resigned in 2005, Williams took over as head coach. In July 2005, Larry Brown was hired as the head coach of the Knicks, thus ending Williams’ head coaching tenure. Williams was the acting head coach of the Knicks for the final two games of the 2005-2006 season, when illness struck Larry Brown. After that season Isiah Thomas replaced Brown as head coach. Williams worked as an assistant coach under Thomas, and continued to be in the coaching staff under Mike Woodson until Phil Jackson fired the entire staff in 2014. He has coached for the Knicks’ NBA Summer League team. On March 26, 2015, Williams was hired as the assistant coach of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.


Career Highlights

  • The 6’10” Herb Williams was a dominant high school basketball player at Marion-Franklin (Columbus, Ohio) where in his senior year, lead the state ranked Red Devils to the tournament regional final before bowing out to the eventual state champion in 1977.
  • He was the crown jewel of the Ohio State recruits in 1977. Williams was a four-year starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes, scoring 2,011 points (then a team record) and pulling down 1,111 rebounds (still second in team history only to Jerry Lucas).
  • Williams is the school leader in career field goals made, with 834 in 114 games. He is second all-time in career blocked shots with 328.
  • Williams was named to the All-Big Ten team as a junior, while at Ohio State he finished the year with a 21-8 record and advanced to the NCAA regionals. He led the Buckeyes in scoring that year with an average of 17.6 points per game.
  • Williams was a team co-captain in both his junior and senior years at Ohio State.
  • Williams was a first-round draft choice of the Indiana Pacers in 1981, where he played from 1982 to 1989 and had his most productive years.
  • He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after the 1988-1989 season.
  • In 1992, he was signed by the New York Knicks, where he spent seven years backing up perennial All-Star Patrick Ewing. Williams played one game (31 minutes) for the Toronto Raptors in 1996 before being waived and quickly returned to the Knicks.
  • The team made the 1994 and 1999 NBA Finals, with Williams serving as a team leader. After the 1999 Finals, Williams retired at the age of 41 after six regular season games and eight playoff games in 1999.
  • Four years later, he returned to the Knicks as an assistant coach. He worked under head coaches Don Chaney and Lenny Wilkens.  When Wilkens resigned in 2005, Williams took over as head coach.
  • In July 2005, Larry Brown was hired as the head coach of the Knicks, thus ending Williams’ head coaching tenure. Williams was the acting head coach of the Knicks for the final two games of the 2005-2006 season, when illness struck Larry Brown.
  • After that season Isiah Thomas replaced Brown as head coach. Williams worked as an assistant coach under Thomas, and continued to be in the coaching staff under Mike Woodson until Phil Jackson fired the entire staff in 2014. He has coached for the Knicks’ NBA Summer League team.
  • On March 26, 2015, Williams was hired as the assistant coach of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.