Alumnus takes on the basketball court but in coach’s shoes

By Michelle Guerin
December 6, 2018

A basketball team needs leaders who knows the game inside and out to help push the team to its limits.  Cabrini’s athletic department welcomes AJ Williams, a 2013 graduate who completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in sports management.

Right out of college, Williams started coaching for Wesley College in Delaware.  The head coach knew that Williams wanted a coaching position.  From Wesley College, Williams went to Immaculata, took a job as athletic director at Seaford High School in Delaware, to head coach at the high school before taking his current position at Cabrini.

“I left the high school because my goal is to be a college head coach one day, so I wanted to get back into the college network to eventually make that happen,” Williams said.  “I also have family and a fiance back in Wilmington and wanted to relocate back to be closer to them.”

Coming back to his home away from home, Williams feels like he is meant for many purposes for the Cavaliers.

William’s quote about helping the coach and players. Graphic by Michelle Guerin

“I think my purpose here is to support and help Coach Mac in any aspects of the program that he needs,” Williams said.  “I also want to help give back to the basketball program everything that it gave to me.  I want to help this next wave of student-athletes experience being apart of an elite program and prepare them in practice to be successful basketball players in the court and young men in the world.”

Tim McDonald, the men’s basketball coach, could not be happier to have his old student back on the team for extra support.

Coach McDonald giving a talk before the game. Photo by Michelle Guerin

“AJ brings a wealth of knowledge of the game and the intricacies of the guard position,” McDonald said. “Not only can he coach everything we are trying to do with our guys, but he was also on the other side of having been a player in this program.  He knows what it takes to be a Cabrini basketball player and is willing to put in the world to help our guys become the best versions of themselves they can be.”

Williams has brought much to the program while he was a student at Cabrini.  According to Cabrini Athletics, Williams helped bring the team to 120 victories, including the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) title and the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship game.

“As a staff, we now have two of the most winning players in Cabrini history,” McDonald said.  “We have AJ and Jon Miller both having over 100 wins as players in a Cabrini uniform. Both played in the National Championship game in 2012 and both won four conference championships in their careers.”

Being able to coach at previous facilities before Cabrini, Williams has grown from player to an assistant coach in

Williams has helped the Cavaliers win over 120 times during his time as a student-athlete. Photo submitted by Michelle Guerin.

many ways.

“I think the biggest growth AJ has had has been in his verbal communication,” McDonald said.  “He knows exactly what he wants from his players and knows how to communicate that with him.  As a player, he was a great leader who most of the time lead by example; he also communicates his leadership with the guys both individually and in group settings.”

As an addition to Cabrini’s team, there are nine new players.

“Coming to Cabrini, our coaching staff demanded hard work from the beginning of the season,” Voshon Mack, freshman forward, said.  The coaches really took me in and trusted me to give my best effort at all times.”

Having a coach who went through the program himself and now teaches the student-athletes gives the athletes a different perspective during practices.

“AJ has helped me by giving our team extra motivation to push us through those tough practices,” Mack said.  “AJ can relate to us.”

Michelle Guerin

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