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David Willson Stepping Down To Return To High School Alma Mater

David Willson coaching from the sideline.

EMORY, Va. - David Willson, who helped lead the Emory & Henry College Men's Basketball program to their first-ever Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship in 2018, is leaving his position as head men's basketball coach to assume the same role at Memphis University School (MUS).

Willson is a 1999 graduate of the Memphis, Tennessee preparatory school, and played under legendary coach Jerry Peters, who recently passed away after retiring in 2012. As a player at MUS, Willson was named the TSSAA West Tennessee Division II Player of the Year and was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Tennessee.

Willson just completed his sixth year as Head Men's Basketball Coach at Emory & Henry. Under his guidance, the program experienced a drastic turnaround both on and off the court. Over the last four seasons, the Wasps won more games than any other period in the past 25 years.

"I want to express my appreciation to the many people who supported our basketball program over the last six years," said Willson. "Our administration, faculty, staff, alumni and surrounding community have been integral to the success of our program and to the positive environment that our players and coaches experienced each year. There are so many people to thank. What a truly unique and special place."

The 2017-18 season was a historic season for Emory & Henry men's basketball. The Wasps won the College's first-ever ODAC title for men's basketball and competed in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in 25 years. The team also earned a place in the Top 25 Poll for the first time in school history while finishing the season fourth in the NCAA Division III South Region. 

"We are grateful to David for everything he has done to elevate the men's basketball program," said Anne Crutchfield, interim director of athletics. "Besides the success on the court, David has been a great role model for these young men off the court, and he will be missed."

"I am grateful and proud of our players, managers, trainers, and coaches, who achieved great success over the last six years," added Willson. "I hope that their time at Emory & Henry positively impacted their development as young men and that their experience with us prepared them to be men of purpose in the workforce, in their communities, and most importantly with their families. It was an honor to be a part of the mission of a very special college and I am excited to see what the future holds for the college and the basketball program. My family and I love Emory & Henry College and we always will."

Willson came to E&H after serving nearly a decade as an assistant coach at Furman University, Elon University and the College of William & Mary. 

A national search will begin for a new head coach. Assistant Coach Bobby Perez will take over the day-to-day operations of the program during this period.