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On Monday, the women’s basketball team let go of head coach Joi Williams, who worked with the Knights for nine years.

The decision comes after the team's quick exit from the American Athletic Conference tournament, which dropped Williams' nine-year record to 114-163 and 59-91 in conference play. The Knights lost 83-74 to the SMU Mustangs in overtime Friday after leading by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter with eight minutes left In the game. Williams and the Knights went 7-23 in the 2015-16 season.

Athletics Director Danny White delivered the news to Williams Monday, soon after the team returned from Connecticut.

“We appreciate everything that coach Williams has done for the program over the last nine years,” White said in a press release.  “In my short time getting to know Joi, it is clear that she has great character and has led our program with tremendous class and integrity. I have given much thought and consideration to this decision, and it is time to move in a different direction. We thank Joi for all of her efforts and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Williams thanked President John C. Hitt and former UCF Athletics Directors Keith Tribble and Todd Stansbury for the opportunity to lead the Knights.

“I took great pride in leading the team into post-season competition, watching student-athletes graduate and in being a great role model for the young women in my program," Williams said in the release. "To every young woman I have coached at UCF, it has been my pleasure to serve you, coach you and teach you. My most sincere wishes for the best. I wish Danny White and the University of Central Florida family success for years to come."

A national search for the Knights’ next head coach will start immediately, according to the release.

“I believe we should compete for championships here, and we’re going to find a great coach who can do that,” White said in the release. “We’ll move as quickly as possible on the search, but will be diligent and take the necessary time to find the right coach for our program.”

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Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at ChristopherD@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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