Larry Williams was named vice president and director of athletics at Marquette University by Marquette President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., on Dec. 5, 2011, and officially took over on Jan. 2, 2012.
Using his experiences as a former professional and collegiate athlete, legal practitioner, and administrator at the NCAA Division I level, Williams believes in creating a culture that focuses on developing success-driven student-athletes. He has gained a tremendous amount of exposure to the benefits of that approach throughout his career, which has led to success in the classroom and competition at each institution where he has worked.
Williams arrived at Marquette after serving as director of athletics and recreation at the University of Portland for seven years (2004–11). His tenure was highlighted in athletic competition by a NCAA Division I championship in women's soccer in 2005, top-10 national finishes in men's cross country, and national rankings in men's basketball, baseball and tennis for the first time.
Student-athletes also succeeded in the classroom under Williams’ direction. Portland consistently achieved well above the NCAA-prescribed Academic Progress Report baseline, with nine programs being recognized during a three-year span for performing in the top 10 percent in the country and individual student-athlete awards including a Rhodes Scholar finalist, Fulbright Scholarship winners, and numerous academic All-America and all-conference recognitions. He also oversaw significant facility expansion, brand development and increased exposure through television contracts and game attendance.
Engaged with the profession, Williams recently served on the NCAA Championships and Sports Sponsorship Cabinet and NCAA Men's Basketball Issues Committee and previously chaired the West Coast Conference Athletic Directors Council.
Williams joined the staff at Portland in June 2004 after directing the licensing and product marketing efforts from 1999–2003 at his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. Under Williams’ guidance as director of licensing, UND’s revenue improved significantly.
Williams was a two-time All-America football selection at Notre Dame, graduating in 1985 with a bachelor of arts degree. He played professional football with four NFL teams from 1985–92, while at the same time earning a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1992. While in the league, he played in several memorable playoff and conference championship games, participated in a variety of community outreach programs, and negotiated player employment contracts with NFL clubs. He then practiced law for the Indianapolis-based law firm of Baker & Daniels before returning to Notre Dame in 1999 to work on licensing and product marketing.
Williams is a Santa Ana, Calif., native and is married to Laura Lee, a former collegiate All-America selection and national champion tennis player at Notre Dame. The couple has five children: Kristin (Santa Clara ’09, Marshall School of Law ’12), Sean (Yale ’11), Scott (Yale, ’13), Eric (Yale ’16) and Louis.