Vanderbilt Athletics

David Williams II
Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletics Director

Vanderbilt Expands David Williams' Role in Athletics | The Williams Report

Vanderbilt Director of Athletics David Williams II ranks among the university's most prominent leaders.

Aside from his role in McGugin Center, Williams is Vice-Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics as well as a tenured professor at the University's nationally ranked law school. He continues to teach at the Law School where he conducts courses on Taxation and Education as well as Sports Law. He is also an active participant in the SEC and NCAA in matters of negotiations, reforms, enforcements and planning. Williams is a frequent speaker on collegiate athletics, including recent appearances at Harvard and Arizona State law schools and as keynote speaker at the Black Male Student Athlete Summit.

Since adding athletics to his multiple titles and responsibilities in 2002, Vanderbilt has seen its athletic department and individual programs recognized as being among the nation's most innovative and successful. The 2016-17 academic year may have been one of the best yet under Williams' leadership.

Eight Vanderbilt teams reached NCAA postseason competition, including an SEC regular season and tournament title and a third straight Final Four appearance by the 2015 NCAA national champion women's tennis. Men's golf won its first SEC Championship and claimed a spot in the Final Four for the first time in program history. Vanderbilt baseball reached the NCAA tournament for the 12th straight season - the longest active streak in the SEC - and reached an NCAA Super Regional for the fourth time in five years. Meanwhile, women's bowling finished third at the NCAA Championships and second consecutive Southland Conference crown.

In the most recent Academic Progress Rate scores released by the NCAA, Vanderbilt football, men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis and women's tennis led the SEC in APR. Bowling and lacrosse also finished atop the Southland and BIG EAST Conferences, respectively. All Vanderbilt teams scored between 976 and 1000 (which is a perfect score), with an overall average of 993.6. That average surpassed the NCAA four-year rate of 981. Moreover, seven programs received the prestigious Public Recognition Award, which honors programs ranking in the top 10 percent nationally in multiyear APR scores in each sport.

In 2016, Williams again demonstrated his hiring prowess. Williams orchestrated two successful searches resulting in the hiring of two of the nation's top basketball coaches, Bryce Drew and Stephanie White, to led the respective Vanderbilt men's and women's programs. In addition, the return of Commodore legend and favorite Carolyn Peck as a member of the women's staff was very well received by the Vanderbilt faithful.

Drew and White join a growing list of highly regarded head coaches hired by Williams, including head football coach Derek Mason in 2013. The next year, Williams attracted Darren Ambrose from the University of Pennsylvania to direct the women's soccer program. In 2012, Williams directed the search for men's golf coach Scott Limbaugh, who has since led the team in three straight NCAA Final Eight appearances and just earned men's golf National Coach of the Year recognition. In addition, Williams has hired Greg Allen (women's golf coach), Ian Duvenhage (men's tennis coach) and Steven Keith (cross country/track coach), all who have taken their teams to NCAA postseason. Allen and Keith also have guided their teams to SEC team titles. Williams has also retained top coaches and staffs by orchestrating extensions for Mason, baseball coach Tim Corbin, women's tennis coach Geoff MacDonald, women's bowling coach John Williamson and women's lacrosse coach Cathy Swezey.

Williams has addressed numerous facility upgrades, including a state-of-the-art training center which opened February 2016 in McGugin Center. The new training center provides top-notch medical care for Vanderbilt student-athletes. Crews recently finished replacing the football practice field, on the John Rich Practice Facility, with highly sought after Shaw Sports synthetic turf. Ground was broken immediately after this past baseball season for a new expansion of our wonderful baseball complex, Hawkins Field. Other improvements in recent years include refurbishing of Vanderbilt Stadium and its football locker rooms, an addition of new tennis courts and amenities at Brownlee O. Currey Tennis Center, renovations in Memorial Gym and McGugin Center, a new multipurpose facility for athletic and general university use, a new four-lane bowling center and a clubhouse with hitting bays for our men's and women's golf programs.

An initiative to allow more overseas travel and study abroad for Vanderbilt student-athletes also has become reality during Williams' tenure. In 2013, 15 athletes ventured to Tanzania during the summer for a service trip to bring shoes to underprivileged communities in Africa in conjunction with Soles4Souls. The partnership continued in 2014 with another community service effort to Costa Rica. In 2015, Williams led the summer service trip to Cuba, and this past summer a group of Commodores ventured to Jamaica on a service trip in partnership with Soles4Souls.

More students within Vanderbilt's athletic community were able to study abroad, including football players Oren Burks, Ean Pfeifer, Emmanuel Smith, Ralph Webb and Jonathan Wynn. In 2016, the Athletic Department began a newly created Internship Program for student-athletes matching them with employers who provide real life training for life after college. The program continued in 2017 and has received rave reviews from the student athletes, the employers, the NCAA as well as other colleges and universities.

In association with Vanderbilt Athletics, Williams has served as a member of the SEC team that negotiated past ESPN and CBS television partner contracts. Williams also serves as Chair of the NCAA Infraction Appeals Committee and was a member of the NCAA Enforcement Working Group.

Williams came to Vanderbilt in 2000 to serve as Vice Chancellor, General Counsel and University Secretary, after a 14-year tenure at The Ohio State University, where he served in numerous administrative roles including Vice Provost for Minority Affairs, Vice President of Student and Urban/Community Affairs and Professor of Law.

A native of Detroit, Williams received a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences and Master of Arts in Education from Northern Michigan University, where he was a member of the university track team. He also earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) from the University of Detroit, where Williams presently serves on the University's Board of Trust. Williams also earned an LL.M., in Taxation from New York University. Before entering law school, Williams spent 10 years as a teacher and coach in the Detroit public school system.

Williams has taught at the law schools of the University of Detroit, Capital University, Ohio State and Vanderbilt. He also twice directed The Ohio State University's Law program in Oxford, England. Williams was elected outstanding law professor at both the University of Detroit and at The Ohio State University.

Williams is active in the greater Nashville area community, serving as a board member with several organizations. He serves on the boards of the Middle Tennessee Community Foundation, the Nashville Sports Council, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Nashville Public Education Foundation. Williams served two terms on former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean's Procurement Standards Board and two terms as a Nashville branch member on the Atlanta Federal Reserve Board. He also served as chair of the Nashville United Way Board and treasurer and board member for the Nashville Symphony.

Williams and his wife, Gail met in law school and have four children: Erika, a grade school teacher in Detroit and graduate of Eastern Michigan University; David III, a two-time graduate of Bowling Green State University who is an academic counselor at Michigan State University, where he was awarded his Doctorate degree; Samantha (Sam), a graduate of Brown University, where she was a member of the swimming team who recently graduated from Vanderbilt Law School; and Nicholas (Nick), a recent graduate of High Point (N.C.) University where he was a four-time scholar athlete on the track team. Sam and Nick both attended high school in Nashville where Sam was an All-State swimmer at Harpeth Hall and Nick was an All-State athlete in soccer and track and a four-year basketball member at the University School of Nashville.

Gail is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Law School. She serves as Associate Director of Community Relations for Vanderbilt and is past president and former board member of the University School of Nashville Board of Trustees. In addition, she is Board Chair of the Metro Transit Authority. Gail also serves on the boards of many non-profit organizations including the Frist Center, the Women's Fund Advisory Board, the Tennessee Performance Arts Center and the Baptist Healing Trust. She was also recently elected President of the Nashville Chapter of The Links, Inc.

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