SPARTANBURG, S.C. (USC UPSTATE/WSPA) – Owning 171 wins over the past nine seasons—making him the second-winningest NCAA women’s basketball head coach in the state of North Carolina behind only NC State’s West Moore—three combined conference titles, three NCAA appearances, and four conference Coach of the Year selections, Jason Williams has been chosen as the next leader of the USC Upstate women’s basketball program.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Jason Williams to USC Upstate! Coach Williams has an incredible on-the-court pedigree, having won two regular-season conference championships and one conference tournament championship over the last five years while making it all the way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament,” said Director of Athletics Daniel Feig. “More importantly, Coach Williams develops student-athletes into leaders of tomorrow off the court while instilling core values such as teamwork, integrity, and selflessness. Coach Williams is the type of leader that inspires students to achieve greater feats than even they believe is possible, and we’re so excited to welcome him to Spartanburg!”

“I would like to thank Daniel Feig, Chancellor Dr. Bennie Harris, and the rest of the search committee for trusting me to be the next head coach at USC Upstate. Our visions clearly aligned, and I am eager to start making those visions real in the community and within our student-athletes,” said Williams. “Coach Burke has instilled a winning way here at Upstate and I look forward to consistently continuing that success. I am excited for the opportunity to set a culture based on family and building young women into leaders of tomorrow. I cannot express how humbled I am for this opportunity, and I am ready to get on campus and immerse myself into all that Spartanburg has to offer!”

Prior to joining the Spartan program, Williams spent the last nine seasons as the head coach at Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.), leading the program to an aforementioned 171 wins, three NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including the program’s first-ever Elite Eight appearance in 2021-22, two Conference Carolinas regular-season championships, and one Conference Carolinas tournament championship.

During his tenure at Belmont Abbey, Williams led the Crusaders to five 20-win seasons and has won 19 or more games in seven of his nine seasons, including a streak of five straight seasons. For his efforts, he’s been named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year on four occasions, taking home the honor in 2013-14, 2017-18, 2019-20, and 2020-21.

Leading the Crusader program, Williams’ teams claimed consecutive Conference Carolinas championships, taking the regular-season championship in 2019-20 and 2020-21 while winning the conference tournament championship in 2020-21. Under his leadership, the program appeared in three NCAA Division II Tournaments, earning the program’s first tournament victory in 15 years during his first season in 2013-14 and advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history in 2020-21 after earning the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional.

Under his guidance, McKenzie Owens earned Conference Carolinas Player of the Year honors and an Honorable Mention All-American nod during the 2014-15 season, making her one of four Crusaders to earn the honor in program history. She also garnered back-to-back First Team All-Conference Carolinas selections in 2013-14 and 2014-15, becoming the first player in nearly 10 years to be named First Team in back-to-back seasons.

Under Williams’ tutelage, Maria Kuhlman became Belmont Abbey’s second Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year winner in program history in 2017-18 before wrapping her career with three consecutive First Team All-Conference selections, becoming the first player in program history to earn First Team honors in three straight seasons.

In addition to the program’s major award winners and 21 All-Conference Carolinas selections, Williams’ Crusader program has seen 29 Academic All-Conference Carolinas selections with his teams holding a 100 percent graduation rate. His program has also claimed three Messick Sportsmanship Awards—an award given to the institution that demonstrates the best overall sportsmanship as voted on by conference coaches—from Conference Carolinas, most recently in 2021-22.

Prior to rejoining the Belmont Abbey athletic department as its women’s basketball head coach, Williams spent a season on staff at Jacksonville State University in 2012-13 following eight seasons on the Crusaders’ men’s basketball staff from 2004-2012.