Gary Williams, Ph.D., became Wittenberg University's Director of Athletics and Recreation on June 1, 2014.
Williams replaced Garnett Purnell, who retired after 14 years in the position. He arrived in Springfield after working in a variety of positions at his alma mater, Carthage College, from 1997-2014. Most recently, Williams served as director of student success and associate director of athletics at Carthage.
As director of student success and of Carthage’s Center for Student Success, Williams was responsible for the virtual and physical creation of the center, its staff and programming, and he initiated a retention program focusing on emotional advising approaches and intentional interventions. In his role as associate director of athletics, Williams served as director of student-athlete services and is the certification officer.
He oversaw the staff and programs responsible for mentoring and guiding students through their transition to college life and provides support, leadership and direction for students in and out of the classroom and on and off the playing field. Williams also directed Carthage’s CharacterQuest program for student-athletes, a unique teamwork, leadership and character experiential program held each summer, and he was instrumental in efforts to initiate and develop a Leadership Certificate program at Carthage in 2008.
Williams has served on numerous NCAA committees, forums and conferences during his career, including the NCAA NASPA AOD Collaboration Delivery Working Group, for which Wittenberg is a pilot school. Williams, who was the founding commissioner of the Continental Volleyball Conference, has also been the national chair of the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Committee since 2012.
Additionally, Williams has worked at Carthage as an instructor and advisor of exercise and sport science, teaching a variety of classes and developing curriculum, student instruction and evaluation methods. He also was a member of the college’s football coaching staff from 1997-2007, helping the Red Men to the 2004 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Williams played a key role in the expansion of Carthage’s Department of Athletics from approximately 400 students in 1997 to 700 in 2014. During that time, Carthage added four new varsity athletics teams, and built multiple facilities totaling in excess of $55 million in construction costs.
Williams is a 1996 graduate of Carthage, where he earned a bachelor of arts in chemistry. He went on to earn his master of education, with an emphasis on counseling and sport administration, from Carthage in 2002. Williams earned his Ph.D. in leadership in higher education from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisc., in 2010.
Williams resides in Springfield with his wife Carrie and their daughters Brynn and Devyn.