Wittenberg Welcomes Gary Williams As New Director Of Athletics

Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University President Laurie M. Joyner, Ph.D., has announced the appointment of Gary Williams, Ph.D., to the position of Director of Athletics and Recreation, effective June 1.  Williams replaces Garnett Purnell, who retired after 14 years in the position. 

Williams comes to Wittenberg from Carthage College, where he has worked in a variety of positions since 1997. Currently, Williams serves as director of student success and associate director of athletics at Carthage, a private college of approximately 3,000 students located in Kenosha, Wisc., that competes with Wittenberg as a member of NCAA Division III. 

“I am pleased to welcome Gary Williams to the Wittenberg University community,” Joyner said. “With our rich heritage of athletics success and our commitment to the wholeness of person in our educational mission, I believe that he is a perfect fit for this important position. I look forward to working with Gary to build on our tradition of excellence to benefit the next generation of Wittenberg University students.” 

As director of student success and of Carthage’s Center for Student Success, Williams is responsible for the virtual and physical creation of the center, its staff and programming, and he has initiated a retention program focusing on emotional advising approaches and intentional interventions. In his role as associate director of athletics, Williams serves as director of student-athlete services and is the certification officer. 

He oversees 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 directs Carthage’s CharacterQuest program for student-athletes, a unique teamwork, leadership and character experiential program held each summer, and he has been 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 is 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. 

“I am honored and humbled to be selected by President Joyner and the search committee to serve Wittenberg as its next director of athletics and recreation,” said Williams, who has played a key role in the expansion of Carthage’s Department of Athletics from approximately 400 students in 1997 to 700 currently, the addition of four new varsity athletics teams, and the construction of multiple facilities totaling in excess of $55 million in construction costs. “To join a university with such a rich tradition of excellence on and off the playing fields is truly inspiring. My family and I are excited to be joining the Wittenberg and Springfield communities.” 

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. 

Wittenberg University boasts the men’s basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in NCAA Division III history and the football program with the second-highest win total amongst all schools in the division. The Tigers have finished in the top 25 percent of more than 400 NCAA Division III schools in 16 of the 17 years since the NACDA Directors Cup was created in 1996, and the university has claimed five NCAA national championships in three sports in its history. Wittenberg is a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), which includes 10 member institutions from three states.

Written By: Ryan Maurer