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GVSU Women Basketball
GVSU Women Basketball

Grand Valley State Women's Basketball Camp

Coaching Staff

Mike Williams
Head Coach

Recently completed his first season at the helm of the Lakers. Led GVSU to a 26-10 record and back to back 20+ win seasons for the fourth time in program history. Led his team to the NCAA Women’s Division II Final Four in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, defeating No. 6 Lewis University, No. 14 Drury University and No. 19 Pittsburg State along the way before bowing out to No. 4 Alaska-Anchorage.

Orchestrated a high tempo offense with an emphasis on outside shooting as the team averaged 71.6 points per game and shattered the previous program record for made three point field goals in a season (218, 2008-09) by hitting a grand total of 325. Under Williams’ guidance, the Lakers ranked 11th in Division II in made three point field goals per game, with nine per game, and were third in the conference in 3-pt field goal percentage (37 percent).  Junior forward Kayla Dawson had a breakout campaign as a result, scoring 524 points and becoming the 23rd player in program history to eclipse the 1,000 point plateau for her career.

After implementing his defensive philosophy in his previous position at Davenport University to great success, Williams guided the Lakers to similar success, as the team allowed just a 57.4 point per game scoring average, and held opponents to 60 points or fewer 21 times during the season, led by the efforts of All-GLIAC Defensive Team honorees Taylor Lutz and Kayla Dawson. By seasons end, the Lakers were 17th in Division II in scoring margin, besting their opponents by an average of 14 points a game.

Mike Williams was named the seventh Grand Valley State women's basketball head coach on June 29, 2015. This is the second stint for Williams at GVSU, as he was an assistant coach with the Lakers from the 2002-03 to 2006-07 seasons, which included winning the 2005-06 Division II National Championship.

Williams spent the past four seasons as the head coach at Davenport, where he compiled an outstanding 130-11 (.922) overall record. During each of his final three seasons at the helm of the Panther program, Williams was named the WHAC (Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference) Coach of the Year. In 2014-15, when Davenport owned a 32-1 record, he also earned WBCA Region Coach of the Year honors.

The Panthers advanced to the NAIA National Tournament in each of Williams' four seasons, including a pair of NAIA Final Four berths and a national championship game appearance. The 2014-15 team led the country in fewest points per game allowed (48.3) and scoring margin (+31.5), while ranking second in opponents field goal percentage (.324).

In 2013-14, Williams guided Davenport to a 34-2 record and a national semifinal appearance, one season after the Panthers finished 34-3 and advanced to the national championship game. DU also earned an NAIA Sweet Sixteen appearance in Williams' first season of 2011-12, when the team went 30-5.

Before becoming the head coach at Davenport, Williams spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Michigan under then-head coach Kevin Borseth. The Wolverines tallied a 66-61 (.520) overall record in those four seasons, including a third place finish in 2010-11.

During his first stint in Allendale on the GVSU coaching staff, Williams was the top assistant under then-head coach Dawn Plitzuweit for five years. In four of those five seasons, the Lakers advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The 2005-06 Lakers finished the year with a school-best 33-3 record and won the Division II National Championship with a 58-52 championship game victory over American International. That championship win was the 22nd in a school-record 26-game winning streak, which carried into the early portion of the 2006-07 season.

The 2004-05 team finished the year with a 28-6 mark and the first-ever NCAA Elite Eight berth in program history. In Williams' five years on the Laker bench, Grand Valley State won three GLIAC regular season titles, a pair of conference tournament championships, and two Midwest Region crowns. The Lakers went 117-39 (.750) in those five seasons, with a 68-22 (.756) mark in GLIAC action.

He was responsible for starting the women's basketball program at Finlandia (NCAA Division III) in Hancock, Mich. In his three seasons as head coach (1999-2000 to 2001-02), the team owned a 44-33 (.571) record.

Williams coached for a number of years at the high school level, where he was head coach of the girls varsity team at Hancock High School from 1989 to 2000. Those teams recorded a 207-51 (.802) mark, winning eight district championships and four regional titles. For five seasons, he was also the head coach of the varsity boys team at Hancock, owning a 72-36 (.667) record.

He began his coaching career at Ironwood High School, as head coach of the girls varsity team in 1986. A few years later, Williams moved to the collegiate ranks, serving as an assistant coach during the 1988-89 season with Borseth at Michigan Tech. The Huskies went 16-11 in Williams' only season in Houghton.

As a collegiate head coach, Williams has a 174-44 record (.798) in seven seasons - four years at Davenport, three at Finlandia. Overall, Williams' collegiate coaching record is 373-155 (.706) over 16 years. He also owns a 279-87 (.762) record at the high school level in 11 seasons. Combined, Williams' coaching record is 652-242 (.729) over 27 years.

Originally from Antigo, Wis., Williams graduated from Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and a minor in health education.

Mike and his wife, Amanda, have three children - Isaiah, Bobby, and Titus.


Phil Sayers
Associate Head Coach

Phil Sayers recently completed his fourth season with the Grand Valley State women's basketball program. After spending the first three seasons as an assistant coach, Sayers was promoted to Associate Head Coach shortly after the 2014-15 campaign.

Sayers is responsible for guard development, offensive breakdowns and game preparation. He also serves as the team's recruiting coordinator.

With Sayers running the offense during the 2015-16 campaign, the Lakers had the fourth highest scoring offense in the GLIAC, averaging 71.6 points per game on their way to a second consecutive 20+ win season. Additionally, the Lakers were fifth in the conference in field goal percentage (43.3) and third in three-point percentage (37 percent) while shooting a GLIAC high 878 three point attempts and making a conference best 325 of them, which was the third highest total in all of Division II women’s basketball.

Under Sayers’ offense, junior forward Kayla Dawson had a breakout season, averaging 14.6 points per game and becoming the 23rd Laker in program history to eclipse the 1,000 career points plateau. Dawson was also named an All-GLIAC First Team selection while classmate Piper Tucker earned Second Team honors. Under Sayers, forwards Lindsay Baker and Bailey Cairnduff had the most and third most made three pointers in a single season in program history, respectively, as Baker finished with 77, eclipsing the previous high of 73, and Cairnduff netted 70 to take third on the list. Baker also finished with the second highest three point shooting percentage for a season (45 %) in program history.

In 2014-15, GVSU's improved offense helped the program post its first 20-win campaign since the 2010-11 season. As a team, the Lakers averaged 69.2 points per game, their highest scoring average since the 2005-06 campaign. Under Sayers' tutelage, Kayla Dawson developed into an All-GLIAC Second Team honoree, while junior guard Brionna Barnett earned an All-GLIAC First Team laurel. Additionally, Kat LaPrairie departed as GVSU's all-time leader in 3-point field goal percentage (40.4) after working with Sayers for three seasons.

In 2013-14, Sayers helped Dani Crandall earn All-GLIAC First Team honors. Additionally, Crandall was one of only 11 Division II players to average 14 points, six rebounds, two assists per game and shoot at least 50 percent from the field. Kayla Dawson also enjoyed a solid freshman season under Sayers' tutelage. In 25 appearances, including starts in the final 13 games, she averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Her 121 free throw attempts and 75.2 percentage at the charity stripe ranked second on the team. Dawson's breakout performance came against Lake Superior State (Jan. 23), when she scored 24 points and collected 11 rebounds. Crandall and Dawson each finished with a team-high four double-doubles. As a team, GVSU improved its shooting from three-point range, making 32.9 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc compared to 30.6 percent in 2012-13.

In his first year with the Lakers, Sayers raised the shooting percentage of the team's guards. This enabled GVSU to average eight points per game more than it did in 2011-12. The Lakers also made 29 more three-point field goals in Sayers' first season than they did the year before. One of the most drastic individual changes were Dani Crandall's shooting percentage jumping from 29 percent to 44 percent. Sayer also helped Kat LaPrairie record the third-highest single-season three-point field goal percentage in GVSU history (43.4 percent). Moreover, Briauna Taylor earned All-GLIAC First Team and GLIAC All-Defensive Team laurels with a team-high 15.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

He came to the Lakers after four years as an assistant coach on the Western Michigan women's basketball staff. Sayers helped Ebony Cleary finish her career as a Bronco ranked 15th all-time in scoring, 10th in career field goal percentage and earn All-Mid-American Conference (MAC) honors. Sayers also has experience working as the director of operations for the WMU men's program.

Prior to WMU, Sayers served as the assistant coach for the women's basketball program at Kalamazoo College from 2006-07, following a very successful three-year run as the head girls' basketball coach at Climax-Scotts High School (2004-06). He led Climax-Scotts to a 64-7 record with three Southern Central Athletic Association championships, two district championships and an appearance in the 2004 regional finals. He was a three-time finalist for the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Class D Coach of the Year after guiding the Panthers to 57-straight conference victories and extending the school's streak to 90 wins. Sayers helped two players earn Class D First Team All-State honors and five of his former players are currently playing college basketball.

Sayers was a varsity boys' basketball assistant for two years (2004-06) at Climax-Scotts, including a trip to the regional finals in 2006, and was an assistant junior varsity baseball coach for one season.

A native of Eastpointe, Mich., Sayers was a three-year varsity baseball player at East Detroit High School and was the freshman basketball coach as a senior. He went on to Grand Valley State, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sports pedagogy in 2002 and another bachelor's degree in history and physical education in 2006.

Sayers married the former Liz Raifsnider in December of 2002 and the couple has three daughters, Grace (8), Anna (5) and Lilly (4).


Kat LaPrairie
Assistant Coach

 Bio. Coming Soon!