After more than a decade of coaching both the men's and women's golf teams at Washington State University, Walt Williams turned his efforts solely to the men's side in 2009-10. He is now entering his second season in the role and his 13th overall with the Cougars.
The 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Coach of the Year, Williams guided the Cougars to two tournament victories last season, the fourth time during his tenure WSU notched multiple wins in a single season. Three different Cougars combined to win four individual titles in 2009-10, and Kevin Tucker earned a second-straight trip to the NCAA Regional Championships, becoming the first men's golfer in school history to garner multiple individual postseason invitations.
The Cougar men have now earned 15 team titles and 18 individual medalist honors under Williams' tutelage, the most for a Cougar head coach in either category by a mile.
Tucker also garnered All-Pac-10 recognition for the second-straight year, becoming the third Cougar in school history to earn multiple all-conference honors. All three - Jon Reehoorn (two-time), Dustin White (three-time) and Tucker - have played for Williams. Jeremy Champoux, Ryan Camp and Ryan Witz also earned all-conference honors playing for Williams.
White also garnered WSU's first GolfWorld Player of the Week honor in 2002 (March 15), and Tucker became WSU's first Pac-10 Player of the Month in 2008 (October).
When Williams was hired prior to the 1998-99 season, he set out to do something no other coach in Cougar history had done - get WSU's golf programs to the NCAA Regional and National Championships.Two seasons into his reign, Williams made his mark by taking the women to the first NCAA West Regional in school history. In his fourth season, the men's team accomplished the same feat.
From 2002-07, the women participated in the regional tournament a WSU-record six-consecutive seasons. Williams then steered the WSU women to the school's first NCAA Championships appearance in 2003.
As a team, both the men's and women's programs climbed the rankings under Williams, with the men ranking as high as No. 17 nationally in 2002, and the women posting a top-25 ranking in 2005. In addition to the team titles on the men's side, the women won 13 events under Williams, also the most in school history.
Williams' collection of team accolades has been impressive, but the individual accomplishments he has directed have been just as staggering. Witz became the first WSU men's golfer in school history to be selected to the regional tournament as an individual competitor in 2006, and Tasha Browner became WSU's third individual competitor to compete in the event individually in 2001. In addition to the men's individual medalist honors, the women won 20 titles under Williams.
In his first season, Williams helped Champoux become only the fourth men's golfer in school history to earn a place on the All-Pac-10 Team. A year later he coached Jennifer Dodd to the first all-conference honor for a women's golfer in school history. Williams has witnessed 14 women's selections and 10 men's selections to the All-Pac-10 team in his 10 seasons, both records for a WSU coach.
Under Williams' guidance Kim Welch earned two Golfweek Player of the Week honors, three GolfWorld Player of the Week honors, the first two selections in school history to the National Golf Coaches Association All-America team (including a first-team selection in 2004), four All-Pac-10 selections and she ranked No. 13 in the final Golfstat Cup standings in 2004. Welch and Jay-Lee Longbottom were the ninth-ranked freshman class by Golfstat in 2002.
Williams also coached Anastasia Kostina to two NGCA All-America honors, a Golfweek Player of the Week honor and three All-Pac-10 honors, and Amy Eneroth to four-straight All-Pac-10 honors, just the second Cougar - man or woman - to accomplish the feat. Dodd, Browner and Maria Kostina also earned women's All-Pac-10 accolades under Williams' tutelage. Reehoorn (2002) and Welch (2003) were also named to their respective all-region teams.
If victories and awards weren't enough, one need look no farther than the Cougar record books on both the men's and women's sides to see the impact Williams has had on Cougar golf. The leaders, and virtually the entire top 10, in every statistical category came to fruition under Williams.
Just as the Cougars have set a standard on the course, Williams' teams have achieved on the academic front as well. The women's team has posted the highest grade-point average amongst all athletic teams at WSU four times - in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 - and the men have recorded the highest GPA amongst men's teams at WSU in each of the last nine semesters, and 16 times overall. The men also received WSU's Seehafer Academic Award for demonstrating the most improved academic performance in both the spring of 2010 and fall of 2000.
Williams has produced 36 selections on the women's side and 20 selections on the men's side to the Pac-10 All-Academic Teams. The women have also seen 17 NGCA All-Scholar recipients and the men boast Roger Flynn as a CoSIDA Academic All-American.
"A lot of our kids have a strong academic background and it is a very high priority for me to recruit student-athletes that will excel in the classroom," Williams said. "In golf, we miss a lot of school, so these kids have to be very sharp to stay on top of their work. We are improving Washington State competitively on the golf course and we also want to continue to improve in the classroom."
Williams, a native of Snyder, Texas, was a 1982 all-conference golfer at McMurry in Abilene. The McMurry men's team won the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles in 1981 and 1982. Williams then received a bachelor's of science in agriculture from Sam Houston State.
Prior to taking over the controls as head coach at WSU, Williams served as head men's and women's golf coach at SHSU from 1994-98. In his final season with the Bearkats, the men's team ranked as high as 42nd in the nation and captured two tournament victories. Williams guided two SHSU golfers to the NCAA Regionals and eight Bearkats were selected to the All-Southland Conference team during his tenure. He was selected Southland Conference Coach of the Year for the 1996-97 season. He also began the school's women's program in his final season with five freshmen, winning three tournaments in the team's inaugural season.
A knowledgeable golf instructor, Williams also has experience as a teaching professional. From 1982-90, he served as a golf professional at four different golf facilities in his native Texas, including head golf professional and general manager at the Oak Ridge Country Club.
Williams is married to his lovely and patient wife Carol, and they have nine beautiful children together: Laurel, Chili, Dillon, Gil, Faith, Keilah, Becca, Grace and Kardian. He also boasts two grandchildren.