Joe Williams, who coached Artis Gilmore and small Jacksonville University to the 1970 NCAA Match championship game versus mighty UCLA, died Saturday. He was 88.

Williams, who also coached at Furman and Florida Condition, died in Enterprise, Mississippi, while in hospice care after a lengthy battle with cancer, his son Joe Williams Jr. claimed.

The Dolphins ended up a person of the real Cinderella groups in NCAA Tournament historical past. Led by the 7-foot-2 Gilmore and unranked to begin the season, they conquer Western Kentucky, Iowa, Kentucky and St. Bonaventure on their way to the championship game. They scored more than 100 factors 18 periods that season, which include 3 situations in the tournament.

In the last, they faced a Bruins software in the center of coach John Wooden’s dynasty. UCLA won 80-69 for its fourth consecutive nationwide championship and sixth in seven decades.

Williams was an assistant mentor at Furman when he took around the Jacksonville method in 1964, and the university played in the NAIA for a person additional year prior to relocating to the NCAA, wherever it speedily rose to prominence.

Gilmore had played his 1st two seasons in junior college right before signing with Williams and Jacksonville.

Williams was ready to recruit Black gamers to Southern colleges when many coaches even now refused to do so, and secured them in hostile environments on the street, his son stated.

“He was 1 of the 1st coaches in the South to do that. When Dad would travel with the team, if there was a restaurant that would not enable the entire team take in with each other, Father just packed the whole crew up and they went to a cafe in which they could,” Joe Williams Jr. explained.

“Dad was never ever a single to get on a cleaning soap box and communicate about stuff like that, it was much more that he just normally did the ideal issue. … He went by way of a large amount. He got demise threats in the mail. But he just realized all his players were equivalent and needed to handle them similarly. It was about teaching his gamers how to be a good human getting.”

The son and brother of Methodist ministers, Williams received into coaching by incident, his son explained. He was a junior high faculty English trainer in Jacksonville when an individual realized the tall man in the hallways had performed basketball in college and asked if he desired to help mentor.

“He understood that was his enthusiasm and that’s what he preferred to do,” Joe Williams Jr. said.

Williams still left Jacksonville following the title recreation appearance to return to Furman, wherever he coached right until 1978 in advance of heading to Florida Point out. He completed with a document of 336-231 around 22 seasons and was inducted into the Jacksonville College Hall of Fame in 1994.

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