Charles Belt is entering his second season as the men’s basketball head coach at William Woods University. This upcoming season has a lot of promise for Belt and the Owls, as the team is looking forward to what this year has to offer..
Belt’s coaching journey is special because he originally had no intention on becoming a basketball coach. After graduating with a degree in Business & Mathematics, he was a financial aid advisor & admissions counselor. Belt got his foot in the door in coaching as an assistant at NCAA Division III Beloit College in Wisconsin. Two years later, he landed another assistant coaching gig at NCAA Division II Northern Michigan University. After three years at NMU, he was promoted to Associate Head Coach under Head Coach, Bill Sall. With the platform he was given at NMU and the success of the program, Belt was able to seek and secure a head coaching position at William Woods in the summer of 2019.
In his first year at WWU, the team posted a 14-15 record. He credits his favorite memory of the season as his first career win against #25 Peru State. The victory came on a game winning 3-point basket from Ian Hodges and key defensive stops down the stretch to secure the win. He also credits his players for their work ethic in the classroom as 12 of his 15 players were named to the All-AMC academic team, which led to the highest team GPA in program history and 100% graduation rate for the seniors last season.
“ As a coach, whether it’s a head coach or assistant, you always have to be learning”, said Belt. “My biggest takeaway from year one is learning to divide things among the entire coaching staff. As a head coach, there are so many things going on that you must have a great staff, and you have to trust them to be tremendous at what they do. Versatility is also key as a head coach, because you have to be as versatile as you ask your players to be. You have to be able to make substitutions, rotations and lineups on the fly as it fits to give your team the best opportunity to win night in and night out.”
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the American Midwest Conference, like several other conferences around the country, has pushed the start date for Fall sports back. William Woods University has decided, as an institution, to push their winter sports back as well. So far, the WWU basketball team has been given the “red light”, meaning no team practices or workouts are currently allowed. However, Belt credits his players for maintaining expectations in individual workouts while they wait for the “green light” to begin practice.
In terms of recruiting, the team has not struggled due to COVID, and they signed the guys they targeted and filled their needs for the upcoming season. There wasn’t much pressure on the coaching staff to bring in a big class for this year, and they feel that they were very specific in bringing players on board to finish their 2020-2021 roster.
There is a lot of promise for Belt and the Owls in year two, as the team returns with a wealth of experience with three All-AMC performers from last season in Makenzie Fessler, Tyriel Nelson, and AMC Defensive Player of the Year, Darius Yohe. The Owls also have a core and coaching staff that will elevate and contribute to their success. Be on the lookout for a big season from the William Woods Owls!