Dorrian Williams eager to coach Millwood
Dorrian Williams heard the predictions before he chose a career path.
From Douglass High School to Missouri State, people said the young point guard would coach. Williams didn’t realize it was his passion yet, but he constantly analyzed film and brainstormed strategies, embracing his role as a team leader.
“Now, it makes perfect sense,” Williams said.
His innovative coaching mentality has led him to one of the most storied athletic programs in the state. Millwood Public Schools has hired Williams, 30, to lead the high school boys basketball team, which holds an Oklahoma record with 17 state titles. He succeeds Mike Jeffries, who led the Class 3A Falcons for five seasons before accepting the same position at 6A Putnam North.
An assistant on Steven Alexander’s Douglass staff for the past two seasons, Williams strives to honor the basketball legacy at Millwood. He complimented several current Millwood players by name, from Chance Davis to Jaden Nickens. Williams said he also looks forward to learning from Varryl “Chop” Franklin, the legendary retired coach who guided the Falcons to 13 of their championships.
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“I aspire to continue the tradition, continue to build champions on and off the floor, in the classrooms and in the community,” Williams said. “It’s just kind of my everyday walk.”
With recent championship experience, Williams enhances that tradition. This past season culminated with a Class 4A state title for Douglass, and Williams played an active role on the coaching staff, saying he looks up to Alexander as “a big brother.” As Williams watched Alexander traveling between team practices and his children’s activities, making time for all of it, the then-assistant saw what it takes to succeed as a head coach.
“He’s a big reason why I’m prepared to take this job,” Williams said, “so I’m forever thankful for him.”
Now, Williams is flipping to the other side of the celebrated Millwood-Douglass rivalry, preparing to face his former team. He isn’t the first Millwood coach to do so – Franklin graduated from Douglass, too.
As a player, Williams powered the Trojans to back-to-back state titles from 2010-11. Then he spent five seasons at Missouri State, totaling 663 points and 373 assists through 112 games.
After college, Williams initially tried to play professionally. Then he focused on starting a family. But he never abandoned basketball, and a chance to coach his younger sister showed him how he could stay connected to the game. He also became the director of a summer organization, Blueprint Elite.
This path has led him to a coveted job, and Williams arrives with deep admiration for his new program.
“It doesn’t need any reinventing,” Williams said. “Millwood has a name for itself, right? So I just want to go in and do my part.”
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Former Edmond Memorial assistant Connel hired at Kingfisher
Colby Connel has been familiar with Kingfisher basketball since his high school days.
Connel, a 2009 Bethany graduate, remembers regularly competing in the Yellowjackets’ annual Buckle of the Wheatbelt Tournament.
Now, he’s the host school’s new coach.
Kingfisher Public Schools has hired Connel, an Edmond Memorial assistant for the past seven years, to lead the high school boys basketball team. He follows Jared Reese, who left for nearby Dover to serve as a principal and coach. Reese guided the Yellowjackets to four state titles in 10 seasons, and Connel understands the expectations for the trophy-rich program.
“There’s big-time shoes to fill,” Connel said. “Coach Reese did a fantastic job (and) had a lot of success. There’s things from the past 10 years that probably won’t be replicated, but I think success can be, and I’m excited to take on a group of guys that’s ready to work.”
Kingfisher sought out Connel as the man for the job.
When he received a phone call about the position, his decision was a “no-brainer,” he said.
The Southern Nazarene University alumnus realized it would be bittersweet to part with Edmond Memorial coach Shane Cowherd after they worked together for so long, but Cowherd has equipped Connel with the tools for the job. As Memorial’s head assistant coach for the past several years, Connel witnessed how Cowherd prioritized collaboration and connected with people outside his team, from referees to opposing coaches.
“Shane’s a guy that cares about the basketball community, cares about Oklahoma basketball,” Connel said, “and so that’s probably one of the biggest takeaways is building relationships with people that not everybody does.”
Connel is already forming bonds at Kingfisher. Skills camp is underway, and the Yellowjackets plan to attend team camp at Oklahoma State this weekend. The coach is also in the process of assembling his staff.
“I want to hire fast, but I also have high expectations for what those positions need to look like,” Connel said. “We’re trying to do our due diligence to get the best guys that we can.”