Dr. Jamie Williams will join the Nebraska Athletic Department staff in June as the Huskers’ Associate Athletic Director of Diversity and Leadership Initiatives. Williams is a former Nebraska and NFL football standout who brings a highly diverse background of professional success to Nebraska.
In his role at Nebraska, Williams will be responsible for facilitating all diversity and inclusion programs within the Athletic Department. He will also assist in developing and facilitating a leadership development program for department staff and student-athletes, and will also manage and facilitate the Athletic Department strategic plan, among other duties. Williams is set to begin his new position at Nebraska on June 18.
Williams joins Nebraska after spending the past six years as the Director of Athletics at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Before Williams’ hiring, Academy of Art did not have an intercollegiate athletic program. Williams and his small staff created a fully functional NCAA Division II athletic department, serving more than 200 student-athletes in 16 sports, while also spearheading the creation of institutional control for the athletic department.
“Jamie Williams brings an unusual breadth of experience to our department,” Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. “He was a fine student-athlete here, played more than a decade in the National Football League, and then continued his education and received a doctorate degree in organization and leadership. He has built the athletic program at Academy of Art University from the ground up, and been successful there. We greatly value everything Jamie brings to our department and look forward to having him here.”
Williams’ association with Nebraska began as a tight end on Osborne’s football team from 1979 to 1982. Williams was a four-year letterwinner for the Cornhuskers and earned All-Big Eight honors in both 1981 and 1982. Williams caught 44 passes for 516 yards and seven touchdowns in his career, and was part of Big Eight championship teams in 1981 and 1982. Williams was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Following his Nebraska career, Williams was a third-round draft pick of the New York Giants, and went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL. Williams played with the St. Louis Cardinals (1983), Houston Oilers (1984-88), San Francisco 49ers (1989-93) and Los Angeles Raiders (1994). He was a co-captain for San Francisco for four seasons and was a part of the 49ers Super Bowl XXIV championship team. Williams was twice named his team’s Man of the Year during his career.
Following his playing career, Williams embarked on a successful professional career that includes work in the film industry as a writer, director, screenwriter and actor. Williams gained his most notoriety in the film world for his role as a writer, technical director and actor in Any Given Sunday. Williams also has extensive work as a management consultant/executive coach working with numerous organizations in the Northern California area, including VISA USA and Yahoo.
A 1990 UNL graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism, Williams continued his education following his football career. He received his Masters of Science in Mass Communication from San Jose State University in 1993, and a Doctorate of Education in Organization and Leadership, including an emphasis in sports administration, from the University of San Francisco in 2000.
Williams and his wife, Charlotte, have a son, Evan, and a daughter, Raven.
Quote from Jamie Williams:
"First of all, I bleed Husker Red! Secondly, I am forever grateful to the Stephens family for providing me the blank canvas to build an NCAA Division II athletic program at their amazing Academy of Art University and I feel good about the continued success of that program. Leaving the heart of downtown San Francisco, the Urban Knights and the magically creative folks of this wonderful art institution was emotionally tough. It would take my alma mater and my uncanny former coach, Tom Osborne, to pull me away from a program where I continually led a young staff into 'Nietzsche's abyss,' where men fear and fail. I'm proud to leave them as 'young leaders' unafraid of today's innate chaos in athletics.
“For the record, T.O. can still recruit like any great wizard. I owe him and the University much. I thank Dr. Tom Osborne, his staff and Chancellor Perlman for facilitating my return to Lincoln. Red nostalgia fills my mind, including clear visions of the unique, but home-grown, pageantry of home football games. It's been awhile but I still envision Valentino's pizza, Abel Dormitory, red helium balloons, rocky mountain oysters, fat inner tubes floating coeds down an endless creek, friendly smiles, great fishing, bald eagles along the Platte River and, of course, a volleyball hitting an opponent in the face! They call this 'The Good Life' and I agree. I feel like the prodigal son. More importantly, I built an intercollegiate athletic program that none thought could happen, based on the principles I received through UNL, Coach Osborne and Gene Huey. This standard of integrity, higher education, discipline, creativity and winning has become my "tattoos." Winning 'the right way' is a mantra for Nebraska. I'm hoping to propagate that guiding principle as an athletic administrator and educator. My task now is to help elevate Nebraska Athletics within the Big Ten Conference and nationally. I am absolutely up for the challenge. Let's Go Big Red!!"
Quote from Academy of Art University President Dr. Elisa Stephens:
"The dream over the years was an athletic program at an art university which included art, music, and acting. Various advisors highly recommended Dr. Jamie Williams and he emerged as the logical candidate. He possesses a Super Bowl ring; a star on the 49ers winning team. Possessor of a PhD., he agreed to start what is now our wonderful athletic program. All accomplished in six short years. Loved and admired by all 18,000 students and faculty at the Academy of Art University established in San Francisco in 1929. I as President have learned from his great example. Students have been inspired by his spirit, and faculty excited by his inspiration. He will always be a member of our family and has volunteered to be on our Board of Advisors. Our lives and spirit are better because of him. We wish him every good fortune at the University of Nebraska."