Entering his ninth season as head coach of the track and field programs at Southern Miss, Wayne Williams' energetic personality has continued to raise the level of expectations of the Golden Eagle track and field program. Last season, a total of 13 performers competing in 13 events qualified for the NCAA Regional competition, with four advancing to the NCAA National Meet. The Golden Eagles combined for seven Conference USA indoor and outdoor event champions.
In 2004, Williams saw a school-record 14 performers advance to the NCAA Regional competition. Cedric Norman, Tanika Liburd and the women's 4x100-meter relay team advanced to the national meet with Norman finishing in a tie for ninth. In the Conference USA Championships, Williams' athletes captured five individual titles that included the men's indoor and outdoor high jump and javelin, women's 4x100-meter relay and women's long jump.
In 1999 and 2000, the Golden Eagle squads finished second at the indoor championships and made considerable strides in the outdoor championships. For his efforts, Williams was named NCAA Region 9 Coach of the Year.
Since 2000, Williams has produced three outdoor track and field NCAA All-Americans, the first in the school's history, Wenston Riley, Jason Wilson and Cedric Norman, a two-time All-American. Riley advanced to the semifinals of the 110-meter hurdles in 2000, and in 2001 Riley advanced to the finals, finishing fifth in the process. Wilson finished eighth in the decathlon in 2000. Lady Eagle runner Hellena Wrappah qualified for the NCAA Championships. In the last two seasons, Norman finished third in the high jump after winning the Mid-East Regional championship in 2003, and in 2004 finished in a tie for ninth. In 2002, long jumper Marvin Lucas qualified for the Junior World championships.
Williams, a 1964 Auburn graduate, took over a program that only had one previous coach in its modern era.
Williams, a native of Fairfield, Ala., is a veteran coach, having worked as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama for 21 seasons. Williams also spent three years as head track coach at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. He worked as a teacher and coach at Berry High School in Birmingham, Ala., and Brandon High School in Tampa, Fla.
During his coaching career at Alabama, Williams recruited and coached 13 Olympians, including three world champions. He had athletes set world records in three events and coached 159 All-Americans, 13 NCAA National Champions and four USA/TF National Champions. He was part of 16 Top10 team finishes in the NCAA meets, in addition to three USA/TF national champions and 132 Southeastern Conference Champions.
During his only previous head coaching stint at the collegiate level, Williams' Austin Peay squad established 16 new school records out of 17 events in just three years. His team won the Ohio Valley Conference outdoor championship in 1976 and won the OVC indoor championship in 1978. In addition, he also coached three NCAA All-Americans. He was named the OVC Coach of the Year (Outdoor) in 1976 and the OVC Coach of the Year (Indoor) in 1978.
Williams holds a bachelor's degree in physical education from Auburn University in 1964, and a master's degree in education with an emphasis in physical education from University of West Alabama (formerly Livingston State University) in 1967, and earned a doctorate of education in administration from the University of Alabama in 1975.
He is married to the former Judi Allen of Bessemer, Ala.