Track & Field and Cross Country Head Coach George Williams of Saint Augustine’s University took part in an Olympic Coaches Luncheon on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Cary, N.C.
Williams joined 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, 2012 U.S. Olympic Diving Head Coach Drew Johansen and 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Assistant Coach Dave Marsh in a panel discussion held in a living room style setting. NBC-17 News Director Penn Holderness was the panel host.
Williams was the 2004 U.S. Olympic Track and Field coach. He has coached 32 Olympians including three gold medalists. One of his pupils is St. Aug graduate Bershawn “Batman” Jackson, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and 2005 world champion in the 400 meter hurdles.
The four men discussed their Olympic experiences and gave their coaching insights in front of a packed ballroom. The audience included nearly 40 St. Aug student-athletes, sport management majors and faculty and staff members.
Coach Williams thanked the three coaches on the panel for the way their teams represented the country. He also praised Al Buehler, the legendary Duke University Track & Field Coach and two-time U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Manager. Williams credits Buehler for helping him start his international track and field coaching career.
Krzyzewski received the first-ever Al Buehler Coaching Excellence Award at the conclusion of the event for becoming the first person to coach the U.S. men’s basketball team in two consecutive Olympics and to win two consecutive gold medals. Afterward, the famous Duke coach marveled at what Coach Williams has accomplished in his career.
“Coach Williams is the tops of all coaches in any sport,” Coach K said. “And he’s done it with humility. That’s rare. We are so fortunate that he has represented our country and has had such an impact on so many of the athletes in our country. He is a great friend and somebody that I look up to. St. Aug is very lucky to have him, and so is this region.”
Williams appreciated the support from the St. Aug student-athletes and representatives who were there.
“It was very well attended and I really appreciate seeing all of those St. Aug faces,” Williams said. “It is always a pleasure when I can get out front and put Saint Augustine’s University’s name out there. [The luncheon] was a great program and everyone seemed to enjoy it.”
Football student-athlete Joe Reed came away from the event with a new perspective on athletics after listening to the four Olympic coaches.
“I learned no matter how good a player’s ability is, as long as a team plays together, you can be a winner.” Reed said. “It was pretty interesting. I’m glad I came.”
The Olympic Coaches Luncheon was part of the North Carolina Sports Summit, a gathering of the North Carolina sports industry that serves as the first day of the North Carolina Olympic Celebration Weekend. The weekend celebrates North Carolina’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes past and present, and it also commemorates the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Olympic Festival-’87 (often referred to as America’s Olympics), the largest event ever held in the state of North Carolina.
— SAU Sports Information Office