OUR VIEW: Williams is a role model for females as she excels in an athletic world typically dominated by males

Published 9:30 am Thursday, February 2, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

University of Virginia Athletic Director and LaGrange native Carla Williams is living proof that women can succeed in the predominately male world of sports.

The LaGrange High School graduate was a star athlete in high school, earning a scholarship to play basketball for the University of Georgia. While in college, Williams was an All-SEC guard and the tenth-highest scorer in UGA women’s basketball history.

After her colligate basketball career, Williams transitioned to working on the sidelines as an assistant coach for UGA where she helped the Lady Bulldogs advance to consecutive Final Fours in 1995 and 1996, including a national championship appearance against Tennessee.

Williams later transitioned to Florida State University, where she worked in an administrative position while earning her doctorate in sports administration.

Williams began her career in sports administration as an associate athletics director at Vanderbilt and then UGA, where she was promoted to deputy athletics director.

Williams later became the first Black woman to lead a Power 5 athletic department when she was hired as the athletic director at the University of Virginia in 2017.

While at UVA, Williams has experienced highs and weathered lows. 

Two years into her career as the Cavalier AD, the men’s basketball team won a national championship and they remain a perennial contender. 

Three years later, last year, Williams experienced the other end of the spectrum when a mass shooting occurred at UVA. Three students were killed and two others were injured during the shooting. Four of the victims were UVA football players, including all three who died. 

The school ended up canceling its remaining football games vs Coastal Carolina and rival Virginia Tech.

Williams’ perseverance helped UVA athletics weather a challenging, unfathomable moment in time when the unthinkable occurred.  Williams was recently named as one of four recipients to win Women in Sports and Events’ “Women of the Year” award.

LaGrange couldn’t be prouder of Williams in her journey from Granger to Lady Bulldog to head Cavalier. Williams is truly an inspiration for young women looking for a career in any field, but especially in athletics.