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Austin Hired as Men's Basketball Coach


The men’s basketball team at Williams Baptist College has its new head coach. Williams announced Monday that Josh Austin, head coach at Central Baptist College in Conway for the past five years, has been hired to lead the Eagles.

Austin will replace Jeff Rider, who has coached at Williams since 1996. Rider stepped down as coach after this season to assume an expanded role as WBC’s athletic director, and he headed the search for his successor.

"I’ve known Josh for several years, and he’s done a really good job at CBC," said Rider. "As a coach, he’s been able to recruit good players and get them to play hard. As a person, he’s a Southern Baptist and a fine Christian man, and he will fit in well on our campus and with our coaches."

Austin began coaching at CBC midway through the 2005-06 season. He has an overall record of 78-78, and over the past three seasons the team has compiled a 53-37 mark. His 2008-09 team was a regional tournament runner-up for the National Christian College Athletic Association and qualified for the national tournament.

"In short, I feel honored. When we visited Williams, my wife and I loved the campus and the people there. It was an answered prayer," Austin said. "As a professional I’m excited because I am familiar with the Williams team, and I’m anxious for us to build on the strong foundation that’s already there."

Austin, who is 30 years old, is married to Rachel Austin, and they have a young daughter. He has a bachelor’s degree in health education from the University of Central Arkansas, and he is nearing completion of his master’s degree from Concordia University.

"The work here starts right away. I’m anxious to meet with the team and get to know them," Austin said. "I went straight on the recruiting trail as soon as I was hired and found a few guys that may be interested, and I want to get them to visit campus as soon as we can."

Dr. Jerol Swaim, WBC’s president, commented, "Coach Austin demonstrates the desire to win, coupled with a strong commitment to the education of our student athletes. In talking with Josh and Rachel, we quickly sensed that they are people who will be a great fit for Williams. We are excited to have them."

Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. The Eagles compete in the American Midwest Conference of the NAIA.

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