Darnell Williams was named the new head coach of the Kentucky State University men's basketball team on Monday.
Williams has spent the past three seasons as an assistant at KSU under Antwain Banks.
"It's my opinion that we are very fortunate to have a young man of Darnell's caliber available to lead our team on its trek to respectability," Dr. William K. Head, Kentucky State's director of athletics, said in a news release. "He obviously comes from good beginnings and hopefully will give our athletes the strength of character to persevere."
Kentucky State is coming off a 9-18 season in 2014-15. Williams' time as a Thorobreds assistant also included the 15-12 team of 2012-13 and the 15-14 squad the following season.
"It's a great opportunity," Williams said of his first college head coaching job. "It's great to be able to take over a program that has had such a great and successful history. We're going to try to get the program back to where it was."
Kentucky State won three consecutive NAIA national championships from 1970-72.
"I'm very optimistic," Williams added in the school's news release. "We've got a young team, and we're a little undersized. We're going to have to work hard, but I think we're going to be the better conditioned team. My goal is for this to be not only one of the most well-conditioned teams, but one of the most disciplined teams, both offensively and defensively."
Williams played collegiately at Xavier, where he earned All-Atlantic 10 honors, was named an honorable mention All-American, and became a member of the school's 1,000-point club. After graduating from Xavier, Williams played professionally, both in the U.S. and overseas through 2005.
Williams hopes to play similarly to the successful Xavier teams he was a part of from 1995-1999.
"Defensively, we want to play a lot of man-to-man, pressure full court, run and trap," Williams said. "We want to be a lot like Virginia Commonwealth now or like the old Xavier teams when I played there back in the '90s. Offensively, we want to push the tempo, make them miss, push the ball, and try to get something easy in transition. You'll see a lot of motion from us, a lot of ball screens."
Williams joined the Kentucky State staff after coaching in Cincinnati public schools and on the AAU circuit. He earned a master's degree in sports management from Columbia Southern University in 2009. He and his wife, Brigitte, reside in Frankfort with their daughter, Dorien, son, Cameron, and grandson, Cameron Jr.