AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – Mike Williams will step down as athletic director at California when his current contract expires next May.
Williams told Chancellor Carol Christ on Tuesday that he will not seek a new contract to remain in his current position. Williams took over as interim athletic director from Sandy Barbour in July 2014 and then was given a three-year contract the following May.
Williams, a former wrestler at Cal, said it was an honor to serve as AD.
“I believe we took some very important steps forward to best position Cal Athletics for the challenges that await on the road ahead,” Williams said. “I committed for three years to lead our Golden Bear staff, coaches, teams and student-athletes.
“We are nearing the end of that period and I believe it is time for (the department) to start its next chapter with respect to how we operate based on campus’ long-term view of what the athletic department at Cal will look like going forward. Athletics is a critical and integral component of the college experience and I believe we need to do everything possible to help it be successful.”
Williams hired football coach Justin Wilcox and men’s basketball coach Wyking Jones in the past year. He has also struck an apparel deal with Under Armour and a multimedia rights deal with Learfield to bring needed revenue to the department.
Even with those deals, the department faces financial difficulties because of debt payment on the recent renovation of Memoria Stadium and the building of a new training center. Cal could be forced to make cuts to some of the 30 intercollegiate programs.
Cal won 10 national team championships and 25 individual, relay or boat titles during Williams’ tenure. The school also placed 14th in the most recent Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, the 18th straight year Cal has ranked in the top 20.
Williams also played an integral role in improving the academics in the department with both the men’s basketball and football teams recording their best four-year scores in the most recent Academic Progress Rate and a Cal-record seven teams earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards for their APR results.
“Mike has done an extraordinary job supporting and improving the academic performance of Cal athletics’ student-athletes,” Christ said.
“He has shown an unwavering commitment to their welfare, and to the quality of their experiences in the classroom and their competitive arenas. I deeply appreciate his service to the university.”
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