COLUMBIA, S.C. -- James Rice has been named interim Head Women's Basketball Coach for Benedict College, the school announced Wednesday.
Rice has served as a women's basketball assistant coach for the Lady Tigers since 2007. Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach with the Benedict men's basketball team for five seasons.
“I want to thank Athletic Director Willie Washington, Benedict President Dr. David H. Swinton and the Benedict College family for entrusting me with this opportunity to lead this program as we move forward” Rice said. “I have been truly blessed to have worked with excellent head coaches and I am prepared to take this challenge. I am excited about our team and what we can accomplish this season on and off the court. We will have a great attitude, play hard, play together, play smart and play with pride every time we step on the floor.”
“I have known Coach Rice for more than 15 years,” said Washington. “He is a deeply dedicated, hard-working young man and I know he will do an excellent job.”
Rice is a 2000 graduate of Benedict College, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation and a minor in Community Recreation. Rice has been an integral part of four conference tournament championship teams, with five NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and one NAIA Division I Tournament appearance. He has been a part of the Tiger program since 1993, when he became a member of the men's basketball team.
Rice was responsible for on-court coaching, player development, recruiting and scouting as an assistant coach. Since his transition to the women's program in 2007, the Lady Tigers have won the 2007 and 2010 SIAC Tournament Championships, which led to appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. In 2006-2007, he served in the dual capacity of assistant coach for the men's and women's programs.
From 2002-2007, Rice served as men's assistant coach under Fred Watson, and was responsible for on-court coaching, player development, recruiting and scouting. During that time period, the Benedict College men's basketball program improved in win\loss percentage each year, won the SIAC Tournament Championship in 2004 and made NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Rice spent one season (2000-2001) as a volunteer Assistant Coach under Benjamin Trapp and one season (1997-1998) as a student assistant under Willie Washington. His inpidual training with the guards produced enormous benefits for the program, as the team won the EIAC tournament championship in 1998. Several players under his tutelage earned all-conference honors.
Prior to embarking on his coaching career, Rice enjoyed a successful campaign as a student-athlete while attending Benedict College. He played a very instrumental role in the Benedict Tigers putting together four conference regular-season championships, two of which were 30 win seasons. All four years, his team was ranked nationally. During his freshman and senior seasons, the Tigers team finished in the top ten nationally, gong 31-3 both years. During his senior year, the Tigers were ranked as high as No. 2 in NAIA Division I. He was selected team captain both his junior and senior seasons. A crafty point guard, he led the Tigers and the Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (EIAC) in assists per game. After his senior year, Rice received the John E. Brown MVP award, which is presented to the Benedict College Student-Athlete of the year. He currently holds the school's records for most basketball games played and won in a career. He excelled as a student-athlete in other sports also, earning All-Conference honors in Cross Country and Team Handball.
Rice is the father of two children, D'Asia Gregg and James Rice II.