Chris Williams enters his ninth year as Director of Athletics at Southern Wesleyan University in 2016-17, after previously serving as the Associate Director of Athletics and the women’s basketball coach.
A number of changes have happened since Williams took over the athletics department, highlighted by the school’s transition to NCAA II and Conference Carolinas. The Warriors are entering their first year as full Conference Carolinas and NCAA Division II members in 2016-17.
Southern Wesleyan has added eight athletic programs during Williams’ tenure, including women’s golf in 2012-13 as well as men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s indoor/outdoor track and field and women’s indoor/outdoor track and field, all in 2013-14. The department is adding women's lacrosse in 2016-17.
In addition to adding programs, Williams has led the charge to renovate and add facilities. The Joe R. Gilbert Track and Field was dedicated in 2014 and features a state of the art eight-lane track that is decked out in SWU Blue. The Facility also includes three long/triple jump pits, two shot put rings, a dedicated cage for the hammer and discus throws and high jump and long jump areas. The second phase of the project includes grandstands, press box, lights and scoreboard that will allow the men’s and women’s soccer teams to compete at the facility.
Historic Tysinger Gymnasium has also undergone renovation with the addition of team locker rooms and additional office space. Recently the floor was stripped and refinished with a new midcourt design. In January of 2015 chair back seating was added to once side of the bleachers.
A press box and clubhouse were added to Varsity Field – home to Warrior softball – in time for the 2014 season. The new pressbox sits atop the home dugout and allows game management staff to stay protected from the elements while covering games. The clubhouse offers concessions and restrooms to the public and gives the team a locker at the field.
The P.B. Wood Driving Range and M.L. Atcheson Putting Green were both dedicated in the fall of 2013 and offer the golf teams a place on campus to practice. The facility doubles as a public driving range, open to the general public.
The cross country course underwent renovations that saw a brand new layout completed in time for the Warrior Invitational in 2014.
Future facility plans include a clubhouse at the driving range and tennis courts on campus.
As the number of programs has grown so too has the number of staff members. Under Williams’ leadership the University has added an Associate Athletic Director, two Assistant Athletic Directors, Director for Compliance Services, Sports Information Director, three Athletic Trainers and a Secretary for the AD.
Williams was also at the forefront of a branding redesign for the athletic department. A new logo was developed as well as a branding identity guide.
In addition to working at SWU, Williams is also on the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Board. He currently serves the Administrative Committee as the First Vice President.
Before moving into administration, Williams was the women’s basketball coach at Southern Wesleyan. In 2007 he led the Warriors to the school’s first NCCAA National Championship. He was also named NCCAA South Region Coach of the Year and NCCAA National Coach of the Year.
Williams made the transition from the hardwood to the administrative level in 2007-08 as the Associate Director of Athletics. During this time he dealt with the day to day operations of the department and also directed the Warrior Club, the athletic department's fundraising branch.
Williams also worked closely in revamping the Champions with Christ program which serves as a tool for student-athletes at the start of each school year in assisting them with the athletic, academic, social and spiritual aspects that Southern Wesleyan affirms. IGNITE, a student lead ministry, was formed in 2006 and Williams served as sponsor for that organization. IGNITE is now known as FCA on SWU’s campus and lists their key mission to unite student-athletes with the entire campus and local community and to build a deeper relationship with Christ.
Prior to joining the staff at SWU, the Rochester, N.Y. native spent the previous 12 years at his alma mater, Roberts Wesleyan. The last five years at Roberts Wesleyan Williams was the head women’s basketball coach where he was a two-time NCCAA East Region Coach of the Year (2003 and 2004). In both 2003 and 2004 his squads were finalists at the NCCAA National Tournament. Prior to taking over as the head coach, he spent seven years as the assistant coach.
In addition to coaching duties Williams served as the NCCAA East Region Chair for women’s basketball and the NCCAA National Vice-Chair for women’s basketball. In 2004, Williams was part of the WBCA Kodak All-American Selection Committee.
Williams earned his bachelor’s degree from Roberts Wesleyan in Social Work 1992 and later his master’s degree in Business Leadership in 2000.
Chris, and his wife Lisa, reside in Central with their five children Nicole, Seth, Emma, Silas, Ian.
Message from Chris R. Williams, Director of Athletics
The athletic program at Southern Wesleyan University offers men and women the opportunity to compete at a high level athletically as well as giving them a personal and meaningful experience.
Athletics participation can teach many valuable lessons in discipline, sacrifice, teamwork, perseverance, mental toughness, physical conditioning, and appropriate display of Christian witness, and we believe that those lessons will benefit our student-athletes throughout their lives.
We want your athletics experience to be a positive one. SWU is committed to providing competent coaches, adequate funding and facilities to meet program needs, and affiliations within the NCAA and NCCAA. Not all education takes place in the classroom and we believe that our athletic programs are also learning labs.
SWU athletics is embracing Romans 12:5 (so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all of the others) as our department verse and department theme of ‘One Body’. This verse and theme encourages each of the 18 varsity teams to form one body and that each of these 18 teams also belongs to all the others as well as to the entire SWU community.
We want to invite you to research our website as well as your team of choice. We would invite you to come and visit the Southern Wesleyan University campus and become a part of the ‘One Body’ which is Warrior athletics and TeamSWU.