When former athletic director Steve Cottingham resigned in June, the Marquette athletic department looked like it was on the verge of collapse amid sexual assault allegations. The school needed to find someone that could rebuild Marquette’s image. Enter Larry Williams, a former Notre Dame football standout who played five years in the NFL. The Tribune asked Williams some questions via e-mail to learn more about his first semester at Marquette.
Q: How was your first semester at Marquette? What went better than expected? What needs the most work?
A: My first semester at Marquette has been great. The enthusiasm that the community has for the university, especially for its men’s basketball program, is something special. I am excited to help identify and pursue a clear path that will allow Marquette to be viewed as the premier non-football-playing athletic program in the country, one that is firmly committed to the university’s core values and celebrates its rich history.
Q: How does your experience as a former athlete help you in this role?
A: My experience as an athlete informs every decision I make because Marquette athletics is ultimately about the full development of each of our student athletes. I was fortunate to have a broad and deep experience as an athlete, with exposure to great and less-than-great coaches and administrations, and great and less-than-great success formulas. So with every decision I make, I ask, based on my experience, what’s in the best interest of the development of our student athletes?
Q: For a school that relies heavily on the men’s basketball program, how will you ensure the other sports get their due?
A: Amassing and channeling resources is an enormous challenge. Maximization of the resources that can be generated through men’s basketball is certainly important as some of those resources can be redirected. However, we must also be diligent about being creative in regards to revenue generation opportunities in other programs and cost containment.
Q: How will you make sure Marquette has its say in the conference realignment discussions?
A: It is imperative that Marquette remain elite in men’s basketball, but also Marquette must be able to demonstrate broad-based success, in order to have a voice and place in whatever the new world of conference alignment becomes.
Q: College basketball coaches rarely stay at one place for more than a few years before seeking a better opportunity. How will you ensure Marquette is destination rather than a stepping stone?
A: Marquette is already a destination in the world of college basketball. The investment that the university makes in the enterprise, the support that the community demonstrates for the program and the rich history and core values that underpin the university absolutely make it a uniquely desirable place in the landscape of college athletics.
As long as those elements are maintained, the coaching world knows that remarkable student athletes can be formed here and national championships can be won here.
Q: What are your top priorities for summer getting prepared for your first full season?
A: My top priority is to finish a clear plan of action that we will take in athletics to ensure ultimately that our student athletes are formed in ways that will allow them to make the world a better place. Along the way, we will also enjoy tremendous success. Athletics is unique in its opportunity to teach remarkable skills.