Herb Williams – 4th Season – Ohio State ’81
- Spent 18 seasons in the NBA, playing with the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks.
- Finished his NBA career with 11,944-career points (10.8 ppg), 6,509-career rebounds (5.9 rpg), and 1,605 blocks (1.5 bpg)
- Helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals in 1994 and 1999
- Spent 11 seasons on the coaching staff with the New York Knicks (2003-14), twice serving as the team’s interim head coach (2004, 2005)
- First round pick (14th Overall) by the Indiana Pacers in 1981
Herb Williams begins his fourth season with the New York Liberty after joining Bill Laimbeer’s staff prior to the 2015 season. He returned to Madison Square Garden after spending 13 seasons as a coach for the New York Knicks (2001-2014), which marked the longest tenure of any on-the-bench assistant coach in franchise history.
Over the past three seasons as Williams has worked primarily with the Liberty’s front court players, New York has posted the best defensive field goal percentage in the league, and led the WNBA in rebounding (38.6) during the 2016 season. All-Star forward Tina Charles has earned back-to-back All-WNBA First-Team nods, and was the runner-up for league MVP in 2016, when she became just the 3rd player in WNBA history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season.
Included in Williams’ coaching tenure is an overall mark of 17-27 as Knicks head coach. Succeeding Lenny Wilkens as Knicks headmaster on Jan. 22, 2005, Herb piloted New York for the remainder of the 2004-05 season, going 16-27. He also notched a 120-110 win over Orlando as interim coach on Jan. 14, 2004, prior to Wilkens’ formal arrival. Herb has also served as head coach of the Knicks’ entries in the 2003 Reebok Boston Summer Pro League and the 2004 LA Summer Pro League in Long Beach.
During his playing tenure, Williams was a force in New York’s locker room as a leader both on and off the court. For three seasons (1996-97 through 1998-99), he served as Knicks tri-captain. His knowledge and leadership qualities made him a natural for his post-playing career.
As a Knick, Herb became a Garden fan favorite as Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing’s primary backup in the pivot as well as a guiding force off the court. His final on-court appearance – a scoreless minute in Game Five of The 1999 NBA Finals against San Antonio – made him the oldest Knick ever to appear in a game (41 years, four months, nine days).
Williams’ longtime identification with the Knicks and the world’s greatest basketball city was formally cited on Feb. 20, 2012, when he received the fourth annual “Dick McGuire Knicks Legacy Award,” given annually to an individual whose contributions both on and off the court mirror those of the late, beloved Hall of Famer.
Williams’ coaching tenure follows a distinguished playing career that spanned 18 seasons (1981-82 through 1998-99), just three shy of the all-time NBA record of 21 shared by Robert Parish and Kevin Willis. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Herb is one of only nine players in NBA history to appear in a game following his 41st birthday, along with Parish, Willis, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Cousy, Nat Hickey, Charles Jones, John Stockton and Dikembe Mutombo.
Indiana’s first-round pick (14th overall) in the 1981 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-11 Williams averaged 10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and shot .467 from the field for the Pacers, Mavericks, Raptors and Knicks. He scored 11,944 points in 1,102 career games. Herb played the first 7½ seasons of his career with Indiana, and is third in blocked shots (1,094; behind only Jermaine O’Neal and Rik Smits), seventh in games played (577), seventh in total minutes (18,455) and eighth in total rebounds (4,494) on the Pacers’ all-time franchise lists. Williams spent virtually all of the final seven years of his playing career as a Knick, and was one of only two players (along with Ewing) to be a member of both of the Knicks’ Eastern Conference Championship teams of 1994 and 1999. He originally signed with the Knicks as a free agent on Nov. 15, 1992. Williams was part of two separate trades (to Toronto on Feb. 18, 1996 and to Philadelphia on Feb. 19, 1998), but quickly returned to the Big Apple just days after both.