Larry Williams resigns as Marquette VP and director of athletics

Larry Williams officially took over as athletic director of Marquette on Jan. 2, 2012.  

Maggie Bean

MILWAUKEE — Marquette University vice president and director of athletics Larry Williams resigned from his position with the school Friday to pursue other leadership opportunities after just two years on the job.

The news and timing of Williams’ resignation certainly comes as a surprise as he had just led the Golden Eagles through a time of transition into the new Big East conference and played a significant role in the league securing a television contract with FOX Sports.

Former Marquette athletic director Bill Cords will return to lead the athletic department on an interim basis  until a replacement for Williams is named.

“We want to thank Larry for leading our student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff in our 16 competitive athletic programs for the past two years,” Marquette interim president Father Robert Wild said. “We appreciate Larry’s contributions to Marquette University, particularly for leading us into the newly reconfigured Big East and helping establish a unique partnership with FOX Sports. We wish him nothing but success in his future.”

Williams, 50, was named Marquette’s director of athletics on Dec. 5, 2011, coming to the school after serving as the athletic director at the University of Portland since 2004. He officially took over at Marquette on Jan. 2, 2012.

A 1985 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Williams played five seasons in the NFL with Cleveland, New Orleans and New England. He earned his law degree from the University of San Diego in 1992 and practiced law for seven years at an Indianapolis law firm before returning to Notre Dame to work on licensing and product marketing.

Williams replaced Steve Cottingham, who left in June of 2011 after expressing disappointment with two alleged cases of sexual assault involving student athletes. No charges were brought in either case, but the Milwaukee attorney general’s office and police department made clear their dissatisfaction as to how the university handled both cases.

Current deputy athletic director Mike Broeker served as interim athletic director between the time Cottingham resigned and Williams was named.

Cords served as Marquette’s athletic director from 1987 to 2006, overseeing an expansion of athletic offerings, the construction of the Al McGuire Center and the school’s shift from independent status to eventually landing in the Big East.

At the time of  Cords’ retirement in 2006, Wild said that he “helped create athletic programs that are not only successful in terms of wins and losses but, most importantly, are successful in helping young men and women succeed as students and as human beings.”

“As I have worked closely with Bill Cords for many years, I have the utmost confidence that our athletic programs will be in good hands in this time of transition,” Wild said Friday.

The search party when Williams was hired included Allie McGuire, son of legendary Marquette coach Al McGuire, former Marquette star and coach of the Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers, dean of the College of Nursing Margaret Callahan and Matt Mitten, professor of law and the director of Marquette’s National Sports Law Institute.

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