COUNCIL BLUFFS — When Alicia Williams returned to Iowa Western to become an assistant under volleyball coach Darrin McBroom, she wasn't completely sure that she wanted to make it a career.
“At that point, I was just trying to figure out if coaching is what I wanted to do,” she said.
Two years later, she has the program to herself.
Williams was promoted to head coach by IWCC on Tuesday to replace the departing McBroom, who is leaving after four years to take over the NCAA Division I program at Drake.
In their two seasons together, the coaching duo guided the Reivers to a pair of 45-win seasons, a No. 1 national ranking and two top-five finishes at the NJCAA tournament.
Williams said the promotion was overwhelming, but exciting.
“I'm really excited because I think, the more I talk about it, I'm ready for it,” she said. “I'm excited to see what next year brings. And I'm really excited for my girls that I get to stay here and take the tension off of them. Knowing that I'm going to be filling in Darrin's shoes, they kind of know what to expect already. It won't be a hard transition for them to make.”
Williams, formerly Alicia Runge, is no stranger to the IWCC program. The Swea City, Iowa, native played for the Reivers in 2006-07, helping her team win the first national title in Iowa Western history as a freshman. She was also a presidential scholar with a 4.0 GPA at IWCC.
The NJCAA Academic All-American then transferred to Creighton, where she redshirted for a season before becoming a two-year starter for the Bluejays. Williams was a second-team all-conference pick and a co-captain while graduating from CU with honors.
Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth praised her former player in a statement Tuesday.
“What a great role model, person and volleyball player to lead the Iowa Western program,” she said. “She's an alum who cares deeply about the program, who I know is excited to lead them to even greater heights.”
Williams inherits a program that has been among the nation's best at the two-year level for nearly a decade. The Reivers have finished ninth or better in the last seven NJCAA tournaments.
The first-time head coach is aware of the expectations that come with her new job.
“Having everything put on my shoulders can be nerve-racking,” she said. “But I think I do well under pressure and under stress. Being an athlete, you're under pressure and stress all the time. It's a new kind of stress and new kind of pressure, but I look forward to the challenge.”
Williams credited McBroom with helping her prepare for the future. And the outgoing coach said he felt the promotion of Williams made for a seamless transition for the IWCC program.
“I couldn't be happier for the girls in our program and for Coach Williams,” he said. “I think moving Alicia into the head position quickly is the best thing for our incoming and current players.”
Williams has a good rapport with IWCC's current players, and she's relieved that they already know what to expect this spring and next fall because she's been with them for two years.
As for recruiting future Reivers, she has a great junior college success story to tell — her own.
“I can really sell that story to the kids that don't understand what kind of opportunity they can have at a two-year school,” Williams said. “Since I've been through it and ended up where I wanted to be, I can sell that to the future Reivers. It's not made up.”