CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina Head Women’s Basketball Coach Stephanie McCormick announced a staff change for the upcoming 2018-19 season as former Catamount men’s basketball assistant coach Willie Freeman will be moving over to the women’s coaching staff with the departure of assistant coach Stacy Cantley.
“Most people don’t know this, but it was the women’s game that provided me the ability to learn and grow as an assistant coach here at Western Carolina University,” Freeman said. “I am excited to rejoin the women’s basketball team because it gives me another opportunity to inspire the women of today and add my knowledge and experiences on the basketball court”
This will be Freeman’s second stint on the Catamount women’s basketball coaching staff as he also served as an assistant coach under former head coach Karen Middleton in the 2014-15 season. In his tenure with McCormick, Freeman will be working with the Catamount post players.
“I am excited Willie is rejoining the women’s basketball coaching staff and he will be a great addition,” McCormick said. “He has a strong work ethic and a great relationship with the student-athletes and understands the recruiting process bringing a great passion for Catamount athletics.”
“I am blessed to be a part of Coach McCormick’s staff, she is a young energetic coach that believes in her players and demands their absolute best at everything they do, on and off the basketball court,” Freeman said. “Last but not least it gives me great pleasure to be retained to work on the women’s staff because it gives me a few more years to be at home at my alma mater.”
“Willie brings an extensive knowledge of basketball at all levels,” McCormick said. “I look forward to bringing his experience to the staff.”
Freeman spent three different stints on the Catamount men’s basketball staff first as a graduate assistant in 2004 then as Director of Basketball Operations in the 2013-14 season. After his one year with the women’s basketball staff, he again moved over to the men's basketball staff in the summer of 2015 spending three seasons under former Catamount Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Hunter.
Prior to his return to Cullowhee in 2013, Freeman spent one season as the head coach of the Salem Sabres in Salem, Ore., of the International Basketball League. He led the team to a number one seed in the divisional playoffs in their inaugural season. He also spent two seasons coaching the North Salem High School Vikings to back-to-back OSAA Central Valley Conference League Championships where he was a two-time Coach of the Year selection while compiling a 41-13 record.
Freeman played for the Catamounts for two seasons from 2000-02 where he averaged 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He played alongside former Catamount great and retired NBA star, Kevin Martin, for one season as a senior. He was a starter for the Catamounts from day one and later served as team captain after transferring from Spartanburg Methodist College where he served as a team captain and was a two-year starter. He earned a degree in sports management from Western Carolina University in 2003
Following his playing career at WCU, Freeman spent one season as an assistant coach on the Smoky Mountain High School boys' basketball staff.
After his one-year at Smoky Mountain High School, Freeman spent five years playing overseas in Argentina, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Uruguay, and Israel. He also spent a short time with the Macon Blaze of the World Basketball Association.
Following his retirement from playing, Freeman worked as a professional trainer at The Hoop before returning to the coaching ranks at North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon.