Carla Williams was named Virginia’s director of athletics October 22, 2017.
Previously, Williams served as an athletics administrator at the University of Georgia for 13 years and was named deputy director of athletics in 2015. During Williams’ tenure as an administrator at Georgia, its athletics teams won 16 NCAA team championships and 37 Southeastern Conference titles.
With the appointment, Williams became the first female African-American athletics director at a Power Five conference institution and is the fifth active female athletics director at that level.
In her role as deputy director of athletics at Georgia, Williams was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department and its $127 million budget. She served as administrator for the Bulldogs’ football and Lady Bulldogs’ women’s basketball programs and also had supervisory responsibility for academic support services, business operations, compliance, event management, external operations, facilities and new construction, human resources, sports facilitators (21 sports and 15 head coaches), sports medicine, strength and conditioning, student services and ticketing. She helped to oversee $162 million in facility additions, upgrades and improvements for the UGA athletics program.
Williams served as the Georgia Athletic Association’s liaison to the president’s office, provost’s office, general counsel, equal opportunity office and student affairs. She also served as the athletics department’s deputy Title IX officer.
Williams has the unique background of competing, coaching and administering at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics. She was an All-SEC guard on the basketball court, then helped recruit and coach some of the greatest teams in Georgia’s history before moving on to become one of the highest-ranking female administrators in Division I athletics.
Williams began her administrative career at Georgia in 2004. She served as associate athletic director (2004-2008), senior associate athletic director (2008-2011) and executive associate athletic director (2011-2015) before being promoted to deputy director of athletics.
Prior to joining the Bulldogs’ staff, Williams was an assistant director of athletics at Vanderbilt (2000-03) and an associate director of athletics (2003-04). She oversaw 11 men’s and women’s sports as well as the Commodores’ CHAMPS/Life Skills program. From 1997-1998, Williams was coordinator for student-athlete development and life skills at Florida State. While completing her Ph.D. in sport administration, Williams was also a graduate assistant for athletic academic support from 1998-2000.
Over the course of her career in intercollegiate athletics, Williams has administrative experience with each varsity sport sponsored by Virginia with the exceptions of field hockey, rowing, squash and wrestling.
Williams was instrumental in Georgia’s programming to enhance the lives of its student-athletes and prepare them for a life beyond athletics, including its comprehensive “The Georgia Way” program. She also helped build ties for Bulldog alumni, including the creation of UGA’s NFL alumni development program. Her involvement at Georgia included serving as a member of the student-athlete conduct committee and student wellness committee. She was involved in general campus affairs which included serving on the University’s Terry College of Business board of directors and being active in numerous campus personnel search committees.
NCAA and national organization committee membership are a big part of Williams’ resume. She served on the executive committee (2010-2014) for the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She was a member of the Southeastern Conference’s executive committee (2009-2011), participated on the NCAA women’s basketball issues committee (2010-2014) and was an executive board member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (2007-2009).
A native of LaGrange, Ga., Williams was a three-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs from 1987-89. She finished her career with 1,115 points, 425 assists and 285 steals. Those tallies ranked No. 10, No. 2 and No. 3 among Georgia’s career leaders at the completion of her career.
Williams was then an assistant coach on hall of fame coach Andy Landers’ staff from 1991-96, including teams which reached the 1995 and 1996 Final Fours, finished as NCAA runner-up in 1996 and won the 1991 and 1996 SEC Championships. Following the 1995-96 season, Williams moved into administration and served as UGA’s assistant director of compliance from 1996-97 before continuing her ascent up the administrative ranks at Florida State, Vanderbilt and Georgia.
Williams was an active member in her community, local schools and church and was on the board of directors for the Athens Area Community Foundation and LLL Community Group. She has served as a committee member for Oconee County School System projects and been involved in the Athens Clarke County Mentor Program.
In May 2015, Williams was recognized by the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia as the Athens Woman of Distinction. That same year she was named one of the top-10 senior woman administrators in the NCAA by the website CollegeAD.org.
Williams and her husband, Brian, who held the title of associate professor of public administration & policy in UGA’s School of Public & International Affairs, have three children: daughters, Carmen and Camryn, and a son, Joshua.