The late Ron Williams led Weir to the Class AAA basketball championship game three years as an All Stater. As a result he was considered one of the Ohio Valley 's most prolific high school athletes in the early 1960s. He earned a total of 11 varsity letters at Weirton High School , he was a top-notch college prospect in basketball and football. Ron eventually chose West Virginia University over Michigan , Williams joined Weirton teammate Ed Harvard, Carl Head, Norman Holmes and Jim Lewis as the first African-American basketball players to play at WVU. Assured there would be no difficulties in Morgantown by then-coach George King and athletic director Red Brown during his recruitment, Williams embarked upon one of the finest basketball careers in Mountaineer annals.
Playing 84 career games from 1965-68, Ron, scored 1,687 career points for a 20.1 points per game average. Dishing out a school record 197 assists in 1966-67, Williams scored 20 or more points in a game 46 times during his career. A complete player, Williams was equally good at either scoring or playmaking.
After his senior season in 1968, he was selected along with 29 other college players for the U.S. Olympic tryouts, an invitation he declined. The first guard drafted (ninth player overall selected) in the 1968 NBA draft by the San Francisco Warriors, Williams was also selected in the 14th round of the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, even though he didn't play football in college. Going to mini-camp, he was offered a guaranteed three-year contract by the Cowboys, but he turned the offer down and decided to play for the Warriors.
During his rookie campaign with the Warriors in 1968-69, the guard fit in nicely, scoring 7.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. In his second season, he became a backcourt starter along with Jeff Mullins and averaged a career-best 14.8 points per game. Again averaging better than 14 points per game in 1970-71, he scored a career-high 36 points against Detroit on January 27, 1971 . A great free throw shooter who consistently ranked among the NBA's top 10 in the early 1970s, Williams missed three free throws in the last game of the 1970-71 season to lose the NBA free throw title to Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
Playing two more years with the Warriors, Williams was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks before the 1973-74 season. He was the Bucks third guard behind Oscar Robertson and Lucius Allen. Making the 1974 NBA finals, the Bucks lost to Boston four games to three in a tough championship series. Playing another year with Milwaukee , Williams finished out his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1976.
After retiring from basketball, Williams has spent the past 17 years as a basketball coach at various levels including stints with California and Iona in the mid-1980s. Selected to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. Ron was inducted into the West Virginia University Hall of Fame in 1993.
Courtesy WVU Sports Hall of Fame and Department of Athletics
Stansbury Hall (interior)