We lost one of the greats in college athletics this past week. David Williams, the former Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletics Director, sadly passed away Friday, hours before his retirement ceremony.
David was the SEC’s first African-American athletics director. He was a thought leader who cared deeply about Vanderbilt and higher education. His counsel was always appreciated and respected.
David was truly Mr. Student-Athlete. He was a track athlete at Northern Michigan in the 60s and when he came into a leadership position later in life, he continued to advance the cause of the student-athlete.
David spoke at two of our events last year, the LEAD1 Institute and annual meeting. He provided great insight during our amateurism panel at our meeting in Washington, and possessed a strong legal background as a former university general counsel and a faculty member at Vanderbilt Law School.
I also had the privilege of speaking at the McLendon Foundation Summit last August hosted by Vanderbilt. It was an outstanding group of senior athletics administrators of color aspiring to be ADs. It was great to spend time with David during the event and meet some of our finest minority senior administrators next in line to become ADs.
We will miss David; a visionary, pioneering sports administrator who helped move Vanderbilt and college athletics forward in so many ways.