Former Spartan All-American Chris Williams was named assistant wrestling coach by first-year head coach Roger Chandler on April 18, 2016.
Williams served as the head wrestling coach at Adrian College from November 2014 to April 2016, where he restarted the program and led the Bulldogs in their first season of competition in 31 years in 2015-16. He previously was an assistant coach at Michigan State, along with Chandler, for eight seasons (2005-13).
"The biggest thing about Chris is his experience and his relevance in the Michigan wrestling community," said Chandler. "He's very connected and a well-respected coach. There are not very many people out there who have more of a passion for wrestling and developing student-athletes than Chris. Starting the program back up at Adrian College speaks volumes about the type of enthusiasm he has for the sport.
"I've worked with Chris many years in the past, so I know the energy he brings to a program and the wrestling room every single day while working with kids, and that was very important to me. He has a special way of being able to connect to people and possesses a unique quality of building meaningful relationships. As a former All-American and coach here at Michigan State, he's also very knowledgeable about our program and is well known throughout our alumni base."
Williams recruited an entire class of wrestlers to Adrian College, created the competition schedule for the 2015-16 season, and established and managed operating budgets. With experience as a head coach, Williams led fundraising efforts, developed and implemented practice plans and strategies, and organized all equipment needs, all while mentoring student-athletes and creating a positive environment that stressed success on and off the mat.
In Williams' first season at Adrian College, the Bulldogs made their fifth all-time NCAA appearance at the Division III Championships, finishing in a three-way tie for 23rd place out of 58 teams with 15.5 points. Adrian had a dual-meet record of 7-3, with all three losses coming to nationally ranked teams. Angus Arthur, who finished with a 34-2 record, earned All-America accolades at 197 pounds after placing fourth at nationals. Arthur and Zach Rieger both became the first wrestlers in program history to be named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Scholar Team.
During his time as an assistant at MSU, Williams helped Spartan wrestlers earn All-America honors on eight occasions, including 2009 NCAA Champion and two-time Big Ten Champion Franklin Gomez.
Williams also took part as the head coach of the Michigan USA Wrestling Team from 2007-12. He was selected to be the leader of more than 100 of the top wrestlers in the state as they competed in national events. He also served as a coach in MSU Wrestling Camps.
A native of Fowlerville, Michigan, Williams wrestled at MSU from 1997-2002, earning All-America honors in 2001 at 125 pounds. He recorded 102 career wins, which ranks 18th most in program history, and was named a team captain as a senior. A two-time NCAA Championships qualifier (2001, 2002), Williams took seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2001 and placed third at the Big Ten Championships in 2001 and seventh in 2002. He won a career-high 34 matches as a junior.
Williams was a two-time Michigan high school state champion and four-time all-state honoree at Fowlerville High School, compiling a 195-10 record, including a 101-2 mark his last two seasons. He also had extensive success in the freestyle and Greco-Roman ranks as well. He was a Greco-Roman Junior Fila National Champion in 1998, and took Greco-Roman University national champion honors in 2001.
Williams received his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Michigan State in 2002. Following his time in East Lansing, Williams earned his certificate in secondary education from Eastern Michigan University in social studies and economics in 2011.
Williams and his wife, Nicolette, who is also an MSU graduate, have a daughter, Nolla (7).