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Friday, October 15, 2010

Rivier hires hoop coach

NASHUA – Rivier College solved one of its two major women’s sports coaching vacancies on Thursday, announcing the hiring of alum and longtime men’s assistant coach Paul Williams as the new women’s head basketball coach.

The hiring was in the nick of time, as practice is scheduled to begin today, with the season opening on Nov. 15.

“It’s a win-win,” Rivier athletic director Joanne Merrill said. “Paul kind of initially said he wanted it. We were looking for a full-time thing, but he didn’t want to leave his full time job (as a teacher in Derry). But he’s going to do a great job. … I’ve known Paul (who played for the Raiders over a decade ago) since he was 18. He’s got real passion, knowledge for the sport, and I think he’ll be a great recruiter.”

Still left to fill is the softball coach vacancy. Kelly O’Connell, who resigned over the summer for family reasons, had held both positions. Men’s basketball coach Dave Morrissette filled in coaching the team during its brief fall season.

“I’m not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do yet,” Merrill said.

Meanwhile, Williams is thrilled to take the reins of a program that started out 12-3 last year and made the GNAC tournament but lost a couple of key players to graduation.

“As a former student athlete (at Rivier) I was fortunate to have many great experiences,” Williams said in a prepared statement. “And I hope to create great experiences for my players.”

The hiring of Williams was just in time.

“I will look to construct the offense and defense over the next few weeks, I have a few ideas as to how it will look,” Williams said. “But the one thing I already know is the Raiders will not be outworked and will give 100 percent every time we take the floor.”