Dec. 6, 2011
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Larry Williams, who has served as the director of athletics and recreation at the University of Portland since 2004, has accepted the position of vice president and athletic director at Marquette University and will begin his new job duties on Jan. 2, 2012. He will remain with Portland until that time and a search for his replacement will begin immediately, according to University president Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C.
“Larry has been a tremendous leader for our athletic department, and I wish him all the best in his future career,” said Beauchamp. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the Pilots both athletically and academically during Larry’s tenure.”
Williams, who was introduced at a Marquette press conference on Tuesday morning, was at the helm of the University’s athletic department during an exciting era of growth and achievement. He spearheaded numerous projects that have enhanced Portland’s athletic and academic performance, brand awareness, sports facilities and resources, and aptitude to serve as host for regional and national athletic championships. Earlier this year, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) named Williams as the west region’s Division I Athletic Director of the Year.
During the 2009-10 season, the Pilots finished fifth nationally among all Division I non-football schools in the Learfield Sport Directors’ Cup Standings, which ranks schools based on their performance in all sports – higher than any other school in the West Coast Conference. Five programs were nationally ranked during their respective seasons and five teams advanced to postseason play.
Under Williams’ guidance, the Pilots claimed a second NCAA Division I Championship in women's soccer in 2005. The men's cross country program has advanced to eight consecutive NCAA Championships, while the men's basketball program earned its first national ranking in 50 years. The men’s basketball program has advanced to the postseason each of the last two seasons. Dozens of student-athletes have garnered All-America recognition under his watch.
Importantly, the Pilot student-athletes achieved in the classroom during Williams’ tenure. Dozens of individuals earned Academic All-America honors, six former athletes received prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, four were named West Coast Conference Scholar Athletes of the Year, and two earned prestigious Fulbright scholarships. Each of the University’s athletic programs have consistently performed above the NCAA prescribed Academic Progress Report baseline with nine programs recognized in the last three years for performing among the top 10 percent in the country.
Externally, Williams aggressively pursued numerous television contracts that substantially increased the presence of Portland Pilots soccer and basketball on the air in local, regional, and national television markets. Attendance at Portland athletic events has also seen remarkable growth, including leading the NCAA in average women’s soccer attendance the past eight years.