After graduating from the ISE Department in 2017, student-athlete Ashley Williams sought to continue her education and her involvement in basketball at Indiana University, where she received her master’s degree and served as a graduate manager for the Hoosiers before being promoted to assistant coach. Now, after all these years, Williams is coming home.
Williams, a Cary, NC native, started her career as a walk-on and worked her way up to a starter for the Wolfpack by her third year. On the court, she was well-known for her skill at hitting three-point shots. Off the court, she was recognized for her impressive 3.92 GPA. Williams was a two-time College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honoree and a three-time All-ACC Academic Team member.
A month after receiving her first CoSIDA honor, Williams became the 8th person to receive the Kay Yow Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards and headlined the All-ACC Women’s Basketball Academic Team. Later that same day, she and the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Team defeated Boston College in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
As a result of her skill and dedication, the ACC gave her the 2017 Weaver-James-Corrigan Award. This scholarship rewards student-athletes who intend to pursue a graduate degree after completing their undergraduate requirements. Williams received $5,000 toward her graduate education and was chosen for her performance in the classroom, on the court, and in the community. She used the scholarship to enroll at Indiana University and begin her coaching career.
As a graduate manager at Indiana (2017 – 2019), Williams helped develop the team’s guards, including the leading scorers Grace Berger and Ali Patberg, who earned All Big-Ten honors. Perhaps most impressively, Williams was recognized as one of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Thirty Under 30 honorees in 2020-21.
After finishing her master’s degree in athletic administration, Williams began her full-time coaching career with Furman University. The Paladins earned a fourth-place finish in their league during her year there.
Williams then returned to Indiana and helped the Hoosiers achieve some of the best results in program history. In her first year as an assistant coach at Indiana, the team reached the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in the program’s history, went 21-6 overall and finished second in the Big Ten, the highest regular-season finish in school history. Williams was a part of the team’s second-straight NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance as the team posted a 24-9 record. She helped lead the Hoosiers to the 2022 Big Ten Tournament championship game, their first such appearance in 20 years and their highest-ever NCAA Tournament seed. Luckily for NC State, she decided to bring all of this success and experience home to help coach the Wolfpack.
“We’re excited about bringing Ashley back home to NC State,” NC State head coach Wes Moore told NC State Athletics. “I’ve enjoyed watching from afar as she has developed and excelled in her coaching career. She was a great student in the classroom and of the game as a Wolfpack player, and I know she will help foster these same qualities in our student-athletes now.” Moore was excited that Williams would bring her passion and energy for the game to the court every day. He also believes that she brings something extra. “Having a former player on your staff that is familiar with your system and way of doing things is always an asset,” Moore shared with Wolfpack Athletics. “Coming from a program and coach at Indiana that I have great respect for is only a plus. We’re excited to have Ashley back with the Pack as we prepare to continue the success and momentum we have enjoyed the past several years.”
“I could not be more excited to be back home at NC State,” stated Williams to NC State Athletics. “This place has held a special place in my heart for a very long time, and I am thrilled to return to the sidelines in Reynolds Coliseum. Coach Moore is a proven winner, and I can’t wait to get to work on his staff. It’s a dream come true to be back running with the Pack!” Like Williams, everyone in the ISE Department is excited to have her return to guide the Wolfpack and look forward to a successful first season.