Men’s Basketball: Marlon Williamson hired as assistant coach

By Ryan Bertonaschi and Jasper Wilson / The Pitt News Staff

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In the Vatican City, when a new pope is chosen, white smoke exits through the roof of the Sistine Chapel. Nothing of the sort was evident at the Petersen Events Center on Tuesday, but “Smoke” will soon come to Oakland. 

Marlon “Smoke” Williamson, assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for the past two seasons, will join Jamie Dixon’s staff to serve in the same capacity, replacing assistant coach Barry Rohrssen, the University announced Tuesday.  

The Detroit native was given his nickname by his godfather in reference to Williamson’s dark skin tone, Williamson said.

Williamson first interviewed for the position two weeks ago and then had subsequent phone conversations with Dixon as well as current assistant coach Brandin Knight.

“We are excited about Marlon becoming a member of the University of Pittsburgh community and I know he is ecstatic to be coming aboard,” Dixon said in a statement released June 17. “As a former point guard with strong knowledge of the game, Marlon will help us in recruiting, scouting and player development. We are fortunate to have a coach with his well-rounded background. Marlon is also extremely excited to be a part of our staff, considering his family ties to Pittsburgh.”

Williamson played the position for four years at Youngstown State from 1999 to 2003. As a starter, he averaged 8.1 points, 4.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game. That season he was named to the Horizon League’s All-Defensive Team and Youngstown’s team MVP.

Prior to his time coaching in college, Williamson oversaw The Family, a Detroit-based AAU program where he served as president of youth operations and head coach, for nine years.

His father grew up in Pittsburgh, graduating from Peabody High School. 

Pitt has had a coaching vacancy since Rohrssen left in late April to take a similar position within the men’s basketball program at the University of Kentucky-Lexington, the national runner-up this year. 


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