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Originally published: 2013-05-15 16:35:15
Last modified: 2013-05-15 16:35:13

Emory & Henry hires new hoops coach

by Staff Reports

EMORY, Va. - Emory & Henry College hired David Willson to be the school's new men's basketball coach.

Willson becomes the fifth coach to lead the Wasps during the Old Dominion Athletic Conference era, which started in 1976.

"I am thrilled to join this wonderful community and look forward to getting to know so many wonderful people associated with our campus and program," Willson said. "This is a place moving in an exciting direction with a new president and a committed faculty and staff."

"David Willson brings the right mix of enthusiasm and experience for rebuilding the men's basketball program at Emory & Henry," Emory & Henry athletic director Myra Sims said. "With a pool of 180 candidates for the position, there was a lengthy selection process for the search committee to narrow down the group of three outstanding finalists. He has garnered wide respect in the coaching ranks and I am proud to have a bright star like David join our staff."

Willson goes to Emory & Henry with Southern Conference ties. A 2004 graduate of and three-year letterwinner at ODAC-rival Hampden-Sydney College, Willson was an assistant coach at Furman the past four seasons.

Willson helped lead the Paladins to the program's best two-season win total in over 30 years and their first postseason tournament in 10 years.

His day-to-day duties included assisting the head coach with game preparation while directing walk-throughs and pregame scouting reports. He was also responsible for scheduling, compliance with NCAA regulations and the academic progress of the team.

Willson was selected by his peers as one of the Southern Conference's top assistant coaches in 2011 according to a survey.

"David has been a part of our league for several years, and I have always admired him for his professionalism and have great respect for what the staffs he was a part of did," commented Mike Young, Head Men's Basketball Coach at Wofford College and 1986 graduate of Emory & Henry.

Prior to his time at Furman, Willson was an assistant coach at Elon from 2005-09. He contributed to the Phoenix's Southern Conference divisional championship in 2006. He was also a part of the Elon staff that guided the Phoenix to the SoCon Tournament championship game in 2008.

Willson worked extensively as a recruiter, with summer camps and with academic progress. He also oversaw team travel, scheduling, scouting and film exchange.

As a player at Hampton-Sydney from 2001-04, Willson went to three NCAA Tournaments, won two ODAC Championships (2002, 2004) andreached the 2003 NCAA Division III Final Four with the Tigers.

He earned an All-ODAC Honorable Mention selection as a senior in 2004 when he also served as team captain. Willson played for one season at Southern Methodist before transferring to Hampden-Sydney.

Growing up for several years in nearby Elizabethton, Tenn., Willson was a finalist in 1999 for Tennessee's Mr. Basketball award after moving to Memphis and playing at the Memphis University School.