Last November, we honored Andrea Williams at the 4th annual Shadow League Awards in New York City.
On July 1st, 2016, she made history when she was announced as the new Commissioner of the Big Sky Conference, becoming the first African American woman to lead a Division I athletic conference.
TSL Leadership Series- Andrea Williams
We recognized early on how groundbreaking her accomplishments were. For all of us who work here at The Shadow League, we’re committed to facilitating access, opportunity and a seat at the table of power, and not simply being a disposable commodity on the playing field.
This is what’s being fought for and demanded in the next frontier for people of color in the business of sports.
It’s no secret that we’re woefully underrepresented when it comes to ownership and the leadership positions of head coaches, general managers and athletic directors, among others.
And when it comes to women of color, the dearth is beyond staggering.
But quietly, and with little fanfare, a historic step in the right direction was taken by Williams when she took the reigns at the Big Sky.
And now, she’s proven once again that she’s not done with her quest to crash through glass ceilings.
It was announced today that she’s been named the chief operating officer of the College Football Playoff, where she will primarily be responsible for managing the national championship game and the process for selecting sites for future title games.
In addition to being the Big Sky commissioner for the last two years, Williams was a member of the College Football Playoff’s advisory committee and stadium operations team. She will now be the primary liaison with the New Year’s Six bowls.
“Andrea has all the tools,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “Her deep knowledge of college football and her strong experience in administering major events make her a terrific addition to our team. She’s a leader.”
Williams’ track record in sports administration is beyond commendable. She previously worked for the Big Ten for 16 years, including ten years as associate commissioner. She was the Big Ten’s first director of its football title game, in addition to directing the league’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments during her tenure.
She also worked for the NCAA previously, serving as the director of the Division I women’s basketball championship, where she worked with host cities and the selection committee, and handled various other operational duties.
“I’m incredibly humbled to be selected as the CFP’s chief operating officer,” Williams said in a statement. “This is a very special organization and the people involved are first class. I am excited for this tremendous opportunity and honored to join the CFP team. I also want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Big Sky Conference’s outstanding presidents, administrators, faculty, coaches, athletes and league staff I was privileged to work with.”
And here at the Shadow League, we’re excited to witness her remarkable achievements, letting others know that what once seemed impossible is now very much in reach.
Congratulations, Andrea. We’re looking forward to see where you go from here as a true groundbreaker and an inspiration to those looking to follow in your footsteps.