|Title:||Head Men's Basketball Coach|
|Position:||Head Men's Basketball Coach|
|Alma Mater:||Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1995 (BS); Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1997 (MS); Salisbury, 2005 (BS)|
James Wilhelmi was officially introduced as the eighth head men's basketball coach at Winston-Salem State University on Thursday, June 12th, 2014 on the WSSU campus, and will now enter his second season at the helm of the Rams men’s program.
"Our goal is to build a championship-caliber program that contends for CIAA titles and NCAA Tournament berths on an annual basis", says Tonia Walker, WSSU Director of Athletics. "I believe that James brings the experience and vision that will allow the Rams to reach new heights. Not only does he bring continuity to the program, but more importantly, he's demonstrated an ability and desire to be a mentor to young men, and he embraces our mission to develop leaders on the court and in the classroom", says Walker.
"I would like to commend the search committee for their time and effort in recommending a strong candidate who I believe possesses the right fit, proven experience and work ethic to assist the department of athletics in Graduating Champions", added Walker.
Wilhelmi led the Rams to an 18-10 record in 2014-15, his first season, including going 11-1 at home in the CE Gaines Center.
The Rams successful season culminated with a CIAA Southern Division co-championship, and the team would go on to play in the CIAA Tournament Championship game.
The WSSU Rams had two players selected to the CIAA team, in WyKevin Bazemore and Donta Harper; and had two more players selected as CIAA All-Rookie team members in Dedric Byrd and Terrell Leach.
WyKevin Bazemore is a rarity, as he was selected to the All-CIAA Team for the fourth consecutive year. He is only the fourth player in the history of the CIAA to earn that honor four times! Bazemore started all 28 games this season and averaged 13.3 points and a team and CIAA high 9.8 rebounds per game. He scored a season high 25 points versus Johnson C. Smith and also pulled down 17 rebounds versus Fairmont State. He finished his career with 1,337 points and 984 rebounds. His rebounding total ranks him 3rd All-Time in WSSU history.
James Wilhelmi joined the Rams coaching staff in the summer of 2011 as the team's associate head men's basketball coach. Wilhelmi brings a wealth of experience and a strong knowledge of the game to the WSSU sidelines after several coaching stints. Throughout his career, Wilhelmi has been instrumental in the recruitment and development of several players who have gone on to compete at the professional levels. He spent last season as an assistant coach at the University of North Alabama. Prior to joining the Lions' staff, Wilhelmi spent five seasons at Howard University in Washington, D.C. During his time at Howard, he played an integral role in recruiting some of the top players in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), including a pair of MEAC All-Rookie Team players. He also spent time as an assistant men's basketball coach at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md.
His other coaching stops include the University of Evansville, Texas Southern, the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Hampton, Northeastern Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During his time at Evansville, he was the team's offensive coordinator where he guided the Evansville Purple Aces to ranking second in the Missouri Valley Conference in field goal percentage and an upset of a top ten opponent when the team defeated the Creighton Blue Jays, who were led by NBA star Kyle Korver. He also recruited former Texas Southern great Sean Walker, who went on to lead the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in scoring. He was also instrumental in teams' successes as he helped guide the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Fighting Hawks to their first winning MEAC record in 10 seasons and helped the Hampton Pirates to a turnaround season that saw the team win nine more games during the 1999-2000 season. The effort was one of the top ten turnarounds for NCAA Division I teams. He also helped guide the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Pointers to an elite eight appearance in the NCAA Division III National Basketball Tournament. Wilhemi also spent a year as a head boys' basketball coach at Sussux Central High School in Georgetown, Delaware.
Wilhelmi is a 1995 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and earned a Master of Science degree in human development and community resources from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1997). He is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and spent several years on the Mid-Major Top 25 voting panel for CollegeInsider.com.
As an athlete, Wilhelmi played high school basketball at La Follette High School in Madison, Wisconsin and went on to letter in football at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for three years.
The WSSU Rams basketball team has compiled a record of 60-27 since Wilhelmi's arrival, and the team has won one CIAA Championship, and played in the CIAA title game this past season. The Rams have also been to two NCAA Regionals in his tenure as an assistant coach.