Follow Coach Williams on Twitter
Joel Williams was hired as the head coach of the Tufts University Men's Cross Country / Track & Field program in November 2015. He is entering his second season directing the Jumbo men's cross country team.
Last year, Williams' men's cross country team had two runners (Tim Nichols and Luke O'Connor) earn All-American honors at the same NCAA Championship for the first time in program history. Nichols won the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and NCAA Regional Championships and was voted the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) New England Athlete of the Year.
Coach Williams' Jumbos also performed academically. Nichols received the USTFCCCA's Men's Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year award after finishish third at the NCAA Championship. Eight team members earned NESCAC All-Academic awards for carrying grade point averages of 3.4 or better.
A national champion as a competitor and the recipient of multiple Coach of the Year awards, Williams came to the Jumbos from Illinois Tech where he was head coach of the men's and women's cross country and track & field programs. In his first season as a head coach at Illinois Tech in 2015, Williams was named Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the Association of Division III Independents.
Over the past 18 years, Williams has coached at several institutions, including Williams College in the NESCAC. During his four years at Williams College, Williams was the 2009 (women's) and 2011 (men's) USTFCCCA New England Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
As the leader of the Tufts men's track & field program last season, Williams directed the Jumbos to the 2017 New England Division III title. Tufts was 18th at the NCAA Indoor Championships with Nichols capturing the 5,000 meters crown. Outdoors, Tufts' 11 qualifiers was the most in program history and the Jumbos placed 16th. Williams was the USTFCCCA's New England Coach of the Year both indoors and outdoors.
Williams graduated from North Central College in 1999 with a BA in Physical Education. He returned to North Central for graduate school, earning a master’s degree in Leadership Studies in 2014. While an undergrad at North Central, Williams was a four-time All-American and a 12-time NCAA Championship qualifier in track & field. In 1998, he helped lead North Central to a team national championship in track & field as a member of the Cardinals' national champion 4x100-meter relay foursome.
Upon returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach, Williams was part of the coaching staff that guided North Central to NCAA Division III regional and national team championships in men's cross country in 2012, as well as a regional championship and national runner-up finish in men's cross country in 2013. He worked with 17 NCAA DIII Cross Country and Track & Field All-Americans during his time at North Central.
Williams' strong background in coaching includes other stints at Division I Davidson College and Kent State University, as well as at Division III schools U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Aurora University and Elmhurst College. Including assistant coaching roles in volleyball, he has mentored more than 80 All-Americans, 315 All-Conference and 170 Academic All-Conference athletes.