SWU announces new athletic director, new coach
Chris Williams, SWU associate athletic director and varsity women’s basketball coach, has been named as the university’s athletic director, according to Dr. David Spittal, president of Southern Wesleyan University. Williams succeeds Dr. Keith Connor, who has served in the position of athletic director since 1969. Williams was hired by the university in 2004 and most recently coached its women’s basketball team to a NCCAA National Championship. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social work and the master’s degree in management degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y. Williams’ new appointment will be effective on July 1, 2007, and he will resign his coaching duties to assume this new position.
“Chris has demonstrated excellent coaching skills and effective leadership in his current assignment. We anticipate a great future for SWU athletics and are looking forward to working with him in this new assignment,” Spittal said.
Dr. Keith Connor arrived at SWU in 1962 as a combination high school senior and college freshman. Following military service in Korea, he returned to the campus in 1969 as a full-time physical education instructor and director of athletics. In 1970, he introduced a proposal for the development of intercollegiate athletics. Since that time, he has guided the department to its present status. During his tenure, he has coached many of the university’s teams and was instrumental in taking several teams to the NCCAA and NAIA national tournaments. He has been a leader in NAIA and NCCAA organizations. In 1992, Dr. Connor was recognized by the naming of the university baseball field in his honor. Also, in 2005, he was named as the first inductee into the Southern Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame. Dr. Connor will continue to serve as professor of physical education and program coordinator in physical education. In this capacity, he will provide leadership to advance and expand the physical education program of the university and its accreditation.
“We are deeply appreciative of Dr. Connor’s 36 years of leadership as a faculty member and athletic director. He has provided a foundation for the continued growth of the university’s athletic program and will continue to serve as a valued and outstanding member of the university faculty,” Dr. Spittal said.
The university is pleased to announce the appointment of LaCheryl Smith as varsity women’s basketball coach for the 2007-2008 year, replacing Williams. Smith is a 1996 graduate of Southern Wesleyan University in elementary education and, as a student, was a member of the university’s women’s basketball team. Since graduation, she has served as a teacher and high school coach in the Upstate and currently serves as women’s basketball coordinator/coach for the Potential Sports Academy in Greenville. In addition to her coaching duties, Smith will assume additional duties within the university’s athletic department.