Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball legend and the program’s all-time leading scorer Henry Williams has passed away. He was 47.
“It is a sad day in Niner Nation,” said former Charlotte 49ers coach Jeff Mullins, who coached Williams during his career with the 49ers. “Henry was a great young man, a great athlete and a family man. Henry has fought a difficult fight over the last 15 years with a great deal of courage and bravery. Henry always had a smile on his face and would never let you feel bad for him. We will all miss him.”
Williams, who starred for the 49ers from 1988-92, finished his career as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,383 career points. Williams averaged 20.2 points per game during his four-year career which is the second highest points per game total in the program’s history. He ranks fourth in school history with 308 career three-point field goals. He holds the program’s records for minutes played (3,960), double-figure scoring games (111) and 20-point scoring games (65). He also ranks in the program’s top ten in career assists (385) and steals (181).
As a senior in 1992, he helped the 49ers race out to an 11-1 start which earned the program a national ranking with wins over nationally-ranked DePaul and Alabama. Later that season, Williams connected on 13 threes and scored 79 points in helping the 49ers capture the Metro Conference Tournament title with wins over #21 Tulane, Virginia Tech and Southern Miss. For his performance, Williams was named Tournament MVP.
During his career, Williams, who was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, earned first-team UPI and second-team AP freshman All-American honors in 1989. He earned honorable-mention Sporting News All-American honors three-times. Williams was named to the Sun Belt All-Conference team three times, earning first-team All-Sun Belt Honors, twice. As a senior, he was named first-team All-Metro Conference.
On March 7, 1992, Williams had his #34 jersey retired becoming the third player in school history to earn that honor.
“Henry Williams was an exciting senior for 49ers basketball when I first came to Charlotte in 1991,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois. “In addition to watching him nail countless long bombs from the corners, I was impressed with his strong leadership skills, on and off the court. His enthusiasm for all he did, including his pro basketball career and his work in the ministry, was contagious. And his courage, in the face of a tough diagnosis, was inspiring."
Williams, who was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs in 1992, made a name for himself overseas in Italy’s professional league. Williams averaged 20.2 points per game in a 10-year pro career. In 1996, he was the Italian League’s Most Valuable Player.
“Henry Williams was one of the most talented athletes that ever played for the 49ers,” said Judy Rose, retiring Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics. “Henry was a great basketball player but he was an even better person. He accomplished a great deal in his life but he was never boastful. He was a team player in all parts of his life. He loved the University, his teammates and his coaches. He is a legend whose memory will live on.”
Press release provided by Charlotte 49ers Athletics