Well, today just got interesting.
BREAKING: David Williams, historical figure and Vanderbilt’s first African American vice chancellor, stepping down as vice chancellor and athletics director. https://t.co/MtHblHnBuI pic.twitter.com/eXx8p0m5rX— Vanderbilt University (@VanderbiltU) September 11, 2018
David Williams, Vanderbilt’s athletic director for the last 15 years, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2018-19 academic calendar.
Here is the full statement from Vanderbilt. Evidently Williams wanted to retire at the end of last year but decided to stay on for one last year at the request of Nick Zeppos.
We will have more on this story as more information becomes available.
Update: Here’s Williams’ official statement in full:
Last year after spending over 25 years as a senior administrator at two major institutions of higher education – 18 of which were at Vanderbilt, I felt it was time to step away and return to my first love of teaching and let others enjoy these amazing administrative opportunities. In my discussion with Chancellor Zeppos, I agreed to remain for up to one additional year to make sure we were on solid ground and to ensure a smooth transition.
After presenting the championship rings to our two-time national championship women’s bowling team and watching our football team (2-0) and women’s soccer team (7-1) get off to great season starts, I realized this was the time to officially announce that this will be my final year and I will be stepping down as Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director.
I want to thank Chancellor Zeppos and the Vanderbilt Board of Trust for this outstanding opportunity and to also thank the amazing Commodore fans for their support and love of our student athletes. A special thanks goes to my wonderful colleagues in athletics as well as my colleagues in other parts of this great university. Very special thanks goes out to the great team of coaches we have here at Vanderbilt, who are a special group of men and women who not only coach but educate and develop our young people.
A huge thanks and love goes out to the hundreds of student athletes I have had the pleasure to be associated with as the head of this department. As I have always stated to you, ‘You are the Best of the Best.’ It has been my true pleasure to be a small part of your life. Finally my largest thanks goes out to my wife, Gail; my four children, Erika, David III, Samantha and Nicholas; my six grandchildren, David IV, Jazmin, Tiffany, Dayon, Daiaha and Zoe; my great grandson, Desmond, and my entire family and friends. Thank you for your total support and for allowing me to do this and pursue these opportunities. I love you guys.
I look forward to taking some time to travel to some places I have wanted to visit and to do some things I have put on hold. I am excited to return to teaching, which is one of my first loves, and to do some research and writing in the areas of law, sports, society and social justice as well as leading the Sports, Law and Society initiative at our Law School. I think I will take up the offer from Coach Allen and Coach Limbaugh and see if I can develop some degree of a golf game with their excellent instruction. While I definitely want to spend more time with my family, and hopefully improve and finish my work on Motown music, I plan on getting even more involved in our local community and nonprofit work in the city. I plan on remaining busy.
Vanderbilt’s official release also cited Chancellor Zeppos’ eagerness to find a replacement for his departing athletic director — emphasis below is ours.
“David is a visionary leader and has helped lead a transformation at Vanderbilt, both within athletics and across the entire university,” said Zeppos. “We are all deeply grateful for his commitment to build a program where student athletes thrive on and off the field – competing in one of the nation’s toughest athletics conferences, flourishing within a rigorous academic environment, and developing the leadership qualities that will bolster their success and impact beyond Vanderbilt.
“I am incredibly appreciative that David agreed to extend his service up to a year to enable a successful transition. We will immediately begin our search for a new athletics director who can build on the foundation David has laid for generations of Commodores to come.”