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Home arrow Opinion arrow EOU menís basketball coach Williams moving on

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EOU menís basketball coach Williams moving on

Eastern Oregon University head menís basketball coach Isaac Williams is leaving the program to pursue other opportunities. (Observer file photo) 

It’s the end of an era at Eastern Oregon University.

After leading the EOU men’s basketball program to a No. 1-national ranking and a 28-5 record last season, head coach Isaac Williams has accepted the role of director of basketball operations at Boise State University.

“It’s hard to put into words what the EOU team, university and community have meant to me and my family.” Williams said. 

“Since moving to La Grande in 1995 as a student-athlete, the people here have watched me grow from student-athlete, to
La Grande High School assistant, all the way to head coach of the Mountaineers. Each step of that journey was as enjoyable as the previous one because of all the support I received.”

Williams was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference coach of the year following last season. The Mountaineers earned a share of the regular-season
conference title. 

During his four-year tenure as head coach at EOU, Williams boasted a 96-32 record. 

“It was never my intention to leave EOU,” Williams said. 

“But Coach (Leon) Rice presented me with an opportunity that is better for me and my family.”

EOU President Bob Davies expressed his thoughts on Williams departure.

 “Ike is the ideal coach for a university,” Davies said. 

“He recruits and supports great young men who are true student-athletes. They competed extremely well on the court, their performance in classroom was stellar and they were incredible ambassadors for our community. Ike made a lasting legacy at EOU as a coach, as a player and as a student. 

“We wish him well in this, the next step in his career, and we will miss his outstanding leadership on the court and at our university.”

Williams was a key part of the turnaround of Eastern Oregon University men’s basketball. He was the top assistant under former head coach Ryan Looney during a 4-22 season in 2004-05. The Mountaineers followed that season with a 17-11 year, before five straight 20-win campaigns, including Williams’ first season as head coach in 2009-10.

“As excited as I am for Isaac, I am saddened at the loss of a great coach, colleague and friend,” said Anji Weissenfluh, Eastern’s interim athletic director and women’s head basketball coach. 

“Over the past years I have had the opportunity to work closely with Isaac and he is truly one of a kind. He holds himself to high standards and has those same expectations of his teams.”

Williams’ final day at EOU will be June 14.

 “Eastern Oregon University is a special place and the players who put on that uniform are special people,” Williams said. “I wish I could take time to thank everyone who helped and supported me personally but that would be impossible. While I may be moving on to other ventures, my heart will always be in
La Grande.”

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