Men's Cross Country, Track & Field

Willie Williams
Willie Williams

Volunteer Coach


Willie Williams, a Fighting Illini sprint standout in the 1950s and associate head coach in the late '90s returns to Illinois to assist Coach Angel with the sprint, hurdle, and relay duties as a volunteer coach. During his time as an assistant coach (1982-1997) and as associate head coach (1997-2000), Williams' sprinters shattered all school sprint and hurdle records.

The Fighting Illini have had nine All-Americans and 25 Big Ten individual champions under Williams. He also has coached 14 Big Ten champion 4x400-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams. During his illustrious career he has been a part of 13 Big Ten championship teams as a coach and athlete. Williams is a former world-record holder in the 100-meters and was the first to break Jesse Owens' world standard in that event. He also won nine Big Ten sprint titles from 1952-54 and was a member of six conference championship teams.

A three-time All-American and a two-time NCAA champion in the outdoor 100-meters, Williams won a gold medal as a member of the 4x100 relay squad at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico. He also was a two-time 100-meter finalist in the 1952 and 1956 Olympic trials.

Williams earned a B.S. from Illinois in physical education and his M.S. from Indiana in health education. An Indiana native, Williams taught and coached track for 11 years at West Side High school in Gary, where his squads won five state titles. He is a member of the Indiana Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Gary (Ind.) Track and Field Hall of Fame and coached the 1988 Saudi Arabia Olympic team.

Williams resides in Urbana with his wife Barbara.