Larry Williams was introduced as Marquette’s new athletic director and vice president of athletics by University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Williams is currently athletic director at the University of Portland and will begin at Marquette in January.
“Today, and every day going forward, we’re going to be about integrity and excellence in academics, in athletics and socially,” Williams said. “That’s going to be at the forefront of everything we do.”
“As I screened resumes and interview candidates, I was looking for that mix of competitive drive paired with a steadfast commitment to ethics, integrity, academics and the personal development of our student athletes,” Pilarz said. “When I met Larry Williams, and as I spent time with him these last few weeks, I knew that we had found the right choice for Marquette.”
Williams fielded questions after his opening remarks, including how he and the Marquette administration will handle Big East realignment.
The Big East announced it would be adding Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Central Florida and Southern Methodist to the conference beginning in 2013.
Much of the realignment talk has been driven by schools with football, but Williams said he plans to keep Marquette’s voice heard as the realignment shuffle begins in the Big East.
“I guarantee Marquette will be at the forefront of those discussions in attempting to take a leadership position in defining a new NCAA structure that values, at its apex, the development of success driven student-athletes,” Williams said.
Williams will assume his position beginning on Jan. 2, 2012, and many in the Marquette community are anxious to see what actions he will take in the immediate future.
“It’s good that Marquette finally has stability at the position,” said Greg Smith, a graduate student in the School of Management. “Now it’s time to see what changes are made to make (Marquette’s) athletic programs better overall.”
Pilarz also offered thanks to Mike Broeker, who took over as acting director of athletics after Steve Cottingham resigned from the position on June 30. Broeker will resume duties as deputy athletic director.
“Mike (Broeker) has been there for me since day one, and it has been a challenging and important time, especially in the matters that I needed to get up to speed about,” Pilarz said. “And Mike (Broeker) was very helpful to me in that and to the university. A big reason why Marquette is so well-positioned for the future is because of Mike Broeker’s leadership and skill.”
At least one student athlete from each Marquette sport was in attendance, with head coaches Terri Mitchell, Bond Shymansky and Mike Nelson sitting in the front row.
Under Williams’ watch at Portland, his teams enjoyed success on the field and in the classroom. The Pilots’ women’s soccer team won the NCAA Division I championship in 2005 and, in the last three years, nine different programs have been recognized for performing in the top-10 percent in the country academically.
“At the apex of every one of our efforts is going to be the development of every one of our student-athletes,” Williams said. “We’re going to create success-driven student-athletes that will go out and make this world a better place and make us all very proud.”