A legendary college basketball head coach who led his team to a stunning run to the NCAA Tournament national title game has died.
Joe Williams, who led Jacksonville University to the 1970 NCAA Tournament national title game against John Wooden's UCLA team, passed away on Saturday.
He was 88 years old.
Williams passed away in hospice care following a cancer battle. His son, Joe Williams Jr., confirmed the news.
Williams started out as an assistant at Furman before taking the head coaching job at Jacksonville University.
He coached at JU for six seasons before returning to Furman for the head coaching position.
"A 1996 inductee into Furman's Athletics Hall of Fame, Williams compiled a 142-87 coaching record in his eight seasons with the Paladins. His 1973-74 team, which featured SoCon Player of the Year and All-America forward Clyde Mayes, went 12-0 in SoCon regular season play and 22-9 overall, claimed both league regular season and tournament titles, and defeated South Carolina, 75-67, in NCAA Tournament play in Philadelphia, Pa.
Williams came to Furman from Jacksonville University after leading the Dolphins to the 1970 NCAA national championship game, where JU dropped a 80-69 decision to a UCLA team coached by legendary Bruins coach John Wooden. His head coaching tenure with the Paladins was actually his second stop in Greenville, his first coming during the 1963-64 season when he served as an assistant coach under then-Furman mentor Lyles Alley," Furman wrote.
Rest in peace, Joe.