Saint Augustine’s Athletic Director Named U.S. Olympic Men’s Track CoachRALEIGH, N.C.
George “Pup” Williams said he is humbled and elated at reaching the pinnacle of his profession: U.S. Olympic men’s track and field coach.
This summer, a 22-member committee of elite athletes and coaches from across the nation selected the Saint Augustine’s College athletic director to be the men’s track and field coach when the 2004 Olympic Games return to Athens, Greece.
“The talent and experience that George … and the entire staff bring to the Olympic stage will be a huge advantage for our athletes,” says Craig Masback, CEO of USA Track and Field Association. “We are pleased to have such an outstanding group of coaches and managers for the 2004 Olympic Team.”
Approximately 40 others applied for the job. Williams said he thought it was a mistake when he first heard the news because there were so many heavy-hitters running for the position.
Williams, although modest, is one of those heavy-hitters himself. As an assistant Olympics coach in 1996, the U.S. men won gold medals in all seven track and field events in which they were entered. He is the recipient of more than 90 National Coach of the Year honors, and was head coach for men’s track and field at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain.
“It really means a lot to me that the elite athletes in this great country had enough confidence in me to lead one of the greatest programs in the world,” Williams says.
Williams also has brought Saint Augustine’s College, a historically Black institution, 24 national championships. As well, coaches of other college programs have praised him for his outstanding ability to motivate young people with a mix of discipline and affection.
“We have graduated 600 student-athletes from St. Aug. and they have all done well. This is the most dear thing to me as a coach,” says Williams, who graduated from Saint Augustine’s College in 1965.
Three of his former athletes won gold medals at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia: Kenny Brokenburr (’93) in the 4×100 meter relay and Antonio Pettigrew (’93) and Jerome Young (’00) in the 4×400 meter relay.
In addition to his college coaching duties, Williams coaches several of today’s top professional runners, including 400-meter competitors Michele Collins, who finished second in June at the U.S. Championships, and LaTasha Colander-Richardson, a 2000 gold medallist in the 1,600-meter relay.
Williams can boast of the successes of his athletes off the track as well. Not only has Saint Augustine’s College produced numerous world-class athletes, it has had a 95 percent graduation rate among scholarship athletes under Williams’ helm.
“He is a student advocate,” says Dianne Boardley Suber, president of Saint Augustine’s. “He believes he can do two things: He can make (students) winners and completers. He is a true indicator of the quality of students and graduates of Saint Augustine’s College and to the sport of track and field across the nation.”
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