Former Western AD lands at Kentucky school

Missouri Western State University will not renew the contract of Athletic Director Dave Williams, the university announced Monday.

Kentucky Wesleyan hired Dave Williams as athletic director Thursday night.

Williams last worked as athletic director at Missouri Western until the school decided not to renew his contract in late June. Kentucky Wesleyan — a Division II school in Owensboro, Ky. — touted Williams’ long career in athletics at that level.

“David’s reputation as a national leader in NCAA Division II athletics administration is unparallel,” said Dr. Craig Turner, Kentucky Wesleyan’s president. “His peers consider him as one of the top 10 mentors in the profession. He has an incredibly strong record of building winning programs with the highest degree of integrity and academic excellence.”

Williams, 42, served out two final six-month contracts at Western following a DWI arrest in May of 2010.

Western administration temporarily re-assigned Williams from his duties May 11, 2010, one day before he pleaded guilty to the DWI charges. He was reinstated in early July.

Williams served as athletic director from 2008 until this June, coming to St. Joseph from Wisconsin-Parkside.

Williams’ final six-month contract started in October of 2010.

“I’m thankful and proud of my time (at Western), but it’s become obvious that it’s time for someone else to lead the athletic department,” Williams said via text message in June, his only public comment on the personnel decision. “Over the last three years, we have made great strides with compliance, exposure and facilities for Missouri Western athletics. The grade-point average of the student-athletes is at an all-time high. I’m disappointed I won’t be able to finish what was started, but wish the coaches the best of luck.”

Under Williams’ direction, Western hosted the past two NCAA Division II Elite Eight women’s basketball tournaments and the 2010 D-II softball championships at Heritage Park.

In addition, Western’s Spratt Stadium received major renovations, and the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex was conceived and constructed. That led to the Kansas City Chiefs moving their summer training camp to St. Joseph, starting last year.

This winter, work was completed on the Griffon Spring Sports Complex, which included new baseball and softball fields on campus.

Williams served as president of the Division II Athletic Directors (D2ADA) for three years. During his tenure he co-authored the ‘Division II Model Athletic Department.’ The document is still used today as the NCAA assists colleges and universities seeking to transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II.

At Wesleyan, Williams inherits an athletic department rich in men’s basketball tradition.

The Panthers play in the Great Lakes Valley Conference for most sports, Great Lakes Football Conference being the exception.

“I’m very familiar with Kentucky Wesleyan College, the athletic staff, the fans and the tradition since my days at Wisconsin-Parkside as a fellow Great Lakes Valley Conference member,” Williams said in a statement. “This is the right time and the right place for myself and my family.”

Western has started its search for a new athletic director and has formed a search committee.

Dan Nicoson, current vice president for academic and student affairs, continues to serve as interim AD. Nicoson also recently announced his plans to retire next year.

Missouri Western president Dr. Robert Vartabedian has said he hopes to have a new AD in place by January 1, 2012.

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