Jerica Williams is a trailblazer and is now being honored prior to the first men’s basketball home game of the season.
At the beginning of Detroit Mercy’s men’s basketball home opener Tuesday, Nov. 21, City Council Member Angela Calloway will present the prestigious Spirit of Detroit Award to Williams for her outstanding achievement in becoming the program’s first-ever female men’s assistant coach. The game at Calihan Hall starts at 7 p.m.
The Spirit of Detroit Award is issued by the Detroit City Council to a person, event, or organization deemed to have performed an outstanding achievement or service to the citizens of Detroit.
Williams made history by becoming the first and only female assistant coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball, and she has maintained a standard of excellence as a coach and player throughout her basketball career. She’s worked with top NBA talent such as four-time NBA Championship winner Steph Curry. Prior to her role at UDM, she was the girls basketball head coach at Detroit Country Day from 2020-22, where she was named Coach of the Year in her first two seasons after leading her team to back-to-back MHSAA Final Fours.
“Coach Jerica Williams is a history maker. Becoming the first women ever to be a men’s basketball assistant coach in the NCAA Division I is no small feat and we are so proud of her,” said Calloway. “I’m overjoyed that the University of Detroit Mercy chose her for this role, and I know she will be an inspiration to young women everywhere.”
“She is going to be a great addition to our program,” said head coach Mike Davis prior to the season. “She was an outstanding high school coach and has been working with Steph Curry’s training for the last three years. Now that we can have extra coaches work with our team, she will bring her expertise from everything she has learned to elevate our program.”
Williams will serve as assistant coach and chief of staff.
“I’d like to thank head coach Mike Davis and Athletic Director Robert Vowelsfor this groundbreaking opportunity,” Williams said. “I am excited to join the staff, players and greater community of the University of Detroit Mercy, and return to a city and school so rich with history. These are the moments that are usually seen only in hindsight, but I can’t overlook what this means for other women in sports. Only through the courage and vision of this leadership team at Detroit Mercy can we witness the birth of another first.”
She was the girls’basketball head coach at Detroit Country Day from 2020-22, where she was named back-to-back Coach of the Year in her first two years while leading her team to back-to-back MSHAA Final Fours, before becoming Girls Basketball Program Lead at the Windward School in Los Angeles, California. In the off-season, she continued working with NBA players on and off the court.
Prior to that, she served as an assistant coach at Cal State Northridge from 2019-20 and was the chief of staff at her alma mater, San Diego State in 2018-19.
Before getting into coaching, she founded her company, JACE — a consultancy for marketing, branding and business development for professional athletes and organizations — in 2013, later being awarded San Diego’s Businesswoman of the Year Award in 2017 for her work as an entrepreneur.
“It is an honor to be given the space to utilize and expand my skill sets, both on and off the basketball court,” Williams said. “My hope is that this “first” is the birth of a new normal.”
Williams played collegiate basketball from 2006-2010 at UCLA and San Diego State, where she was part of two Mountain West Conference championship teams along with two NCAA appearances. Prior to college, she led her high school team to four straight CIF championships, winning three in a row. Recognized as San Diego Section Player of the Year during her stint, she was inducted into Mount Miguel High School’s Hall of Fame in 2018.
She graduated from SDSU in 2010 with a degree in Women’s Studies and Sociology and has a 12-year-old son, Jeriah.