CSU athletic director Jay Sparks departs, Johnny Williams named interim
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -
Written by John Lester, Assistant Vice President for CSU Relations
Williams, former athletics director at Troy University and former University of
Alabama senior associate athletic director for external operations, has signed
on to become the interim athletic director at Columbus State University.
will to take over for Jay Sparks, Columbus State's athletic director for six
years. Sparks is moving to Francis Marion University near Florence, S.C. to
become its head women's basketball coach.
are very thankful for Jay's service as a coach, administrator and friend to
this university," said Columbus State University President Tim Mescon. "We wish
him the best in the future, as we look forward to working with Johnny Williams
and starting a national search to begin the next phase of our athletics program
is chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Creative Marketing
Management in Tuscaloosa, a sports business consulting agency that is managing
the new Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery. Williams started that role in
2007, three years after joining the University of Alabama.
began his athletic career at Troy as a graduate assistant football coach under
Rick Rhoades. During his coaching tenure with the Trojans, Williams also held
several administrative positions within the department. In 1986 and 1987, he
coordinated the football program's marketing and development efforts as a
special assistant to the athletics director, in addition to his coaching
duties. In 1988, he coordinated travel and ticket sales. Under Williams' watch
as athletic director at Troy, the athletic department moved to Division I-A,
completing a change from Division II in all sports. In January 2002,
Williams was honored for his progressive leadership by the All-American
Football Foundation with its prestigious Gen. Robert Neyland Athletics Director
Williams was the head football coach and athletic director at Pickens County
High School in Reform, Ala., in 1984. He also served as an assistant coach at
his alma mater, the University of North Alabama, from 1979-1983. A 1980
graduate of UNA with a degree in health/physical education, Williams was a
four-year defensive starter for the Lions, earning Defensive Lineman of the
Year honors in 1978. He was selected to the UNA Team of the Decade for the
will take over for Sparks, who leaves after 25 years at Columbus State
was named Columbus State's athletic director in April of 2008 after spending
nine years as the top assistant to former Athletic Director Herbert Greene.
During his tenure, Sparks has seen the department grow and add five sports. He
also helped bring to Columbus the 2011 NCAA Rifle Championship, which was the
first-ever national championship that Columbus State has hosted.
Sparks' tenure as athletic director, CSU won two Peach Belt Conference
Commissioner's Cups while finishing as the runner-up two other years. The award
is presented annually to the best overall athletic department in the PBC.
am very proud of everything that we accomplished here at Columbus State from
the moment I stepped foot on this campus," Sparks said. "Whether I was the
athletic director or the head women's basketball coach, I think we found
success in many different areas, and I want to again thank everyone who
contributed to that."
Sparks' 20-year stint at coach of the Lady Cougars basketball program, Columbus
State was 367-231 leading CSU to two NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances. He
coached 21 All-PBC players and two All-Americans.
would first like to thank everyone at Columbus State for supporting me over my
tenure here," Sparks said. "I will miss Columbus State and the Columbus area,
especially all of the great friends in this wonderful community.
is my passion and I have missed the highs and lows that it brings and the daily
impact that I can make in lives of the student-athletes."