Clif Williams is entering his second season as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Pikeville. Last year he lead the Bears to a 21-11 record and reached the NAIA National Tournament. Click Here for our previous interview with him and see below for our catching up Q and A segment with him. Great content for all of those preparing for their first head coaching position!
Q: What was most surprising to you during your first year as a head coach?
A: One of the most surprising things to me as a first year head coach was the volume of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. From operations, to marketing, scheduling, scouting, practice and player development plans, etc. I’m not sure that’s something that you can prepare for ahead of time; it’s something you adapt to over time. A close second is a keen ability to adapt to shifting priorities throughout the day.
Q. In preparation, would you have done anything different in your years prior to becoming a head coach?
A: This is a great question. I can sincerely say I would not have done anything differently. Had I done so, it would have altered my path. So many decisions are out of our control as we grind on our journey. The key for me was to stay focused each day on the task at hand.
At Kentucky, that was making sure we had the best video available for our staff for scouting. It meant my data/analytics were up to date. I really learned how to work in college basketball at Kentucky. Then I got the call from Florida State.
Coach Sue told me from day 1, “you are the subject matter expert”. She never wavered from that statement. The confidence she placed in my role as video coordinator allowed me to expand and continue to grow as a coach. The key for me at FSU was the opportunity to sit first seat on the bench and learn game management from a veteran, top 10 staff.
Then the call came from the University of Pikeville after 2 seasons in Tallahassee. Each stop along the way prepared me for the next step on the journey. On a side note, 3 current coaches (2 head coaches) all came out of the video room from my time at Kentucky. It’s a great path to coaching.
Q: In our first interview we talked about the art of teaching players. Now, as a head coach, how has your teaching philosophy changed?
A. This is an area of growth for us this year. This is a multi-facet discipline. Looking at basketball, our philosophy is “keep it simple” on both sides of the ball. We assume our kids just “don’t know”. We employ a combination of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic teaching principles. From a mental/emotional standpoint, we understand that our players are at various levels of development. We use a business model to determine where each player falls on this continuum. We discuss as a staff, and assess each week where a player is based on practice/workouts and classroom performance, and twice per week “lunch with the coaches”. We have 1 on 1 meetings with every player each month too. All of this information gives a clear guide on what each player needs from us as coaches.