The Power of Representation: First Black Female Athletic Director Hired at the University

By Alysandra Worrell

New Athletic Director, Carla Williams.

A few weeks ago, the University of Virginia made a change that significantly altered the landscape of representation on grounds by naming Carla Williams as their new athletic director. Representation of color and diversity has always been a struggle for minorities at the University. What does this mean for the future of UVa and other universities alike?

One student, who would like to remain anonymous, claims that hiring Williams is a “step in the right direction.” When asked to further explain this, the student claimed,“Hiring not only a female athletic director, but a black female athletic director is a major sign of the progression that our community needs.”

Carla Williams will be the sole African American woman representative in the Power Five conferences. Is it possible that other universities will follow UVa’s lead? Second year student, Giovanna Tyndale, hopes so.  “We need more black females in power positions. Not only here, but at other schools like ours.” Other students within the university have expressed the same feelings of hope and excitement over the prospect of greater representation at the University of Virginia and other predominantly white institutions.

The track record of Williams precedes her and appears to inspire grandeur in the upcoming athletic school year. Williams has constantly been a pillar of excellence and commitment. Her career in athletics has been in the spotlight since she began playing basketball at the University of Georgia. She played professionally in Spain before going back to UGA to join the coaching staff. She later become the D1 school’s deputy director of athletics. Her success at the University of Georgia is an excellent indicator of the future she will build within the athletic program at the University of Virginia. Academic as well as athletic faculty are exponentially pleased to welcome Carla Williams to the Wahoo family. In addition, African American students have been more than receptive to her new appointment.

Tyndale commented on her elation stating that “it’s one thing to be a black AD at a predominantly white institute, but it’s another thing to be a black female AD. I’m thrilled to have such representation at such a high level of respect and difficulty. I wish her the best of luck.” It is clear that the hiring of Williams has brought a sense of social change and development on grounds, and the UVa population looks forward to seeing what she has to offer in her coming years.