The extended Vanderbilt athletics family specifically and college sports in general are mourning the loss of one of its pioneers.
Friday afternoon, Vandy confirmed that long-time athletic director David Williams had passed away at the age of 70 earlier in the day. A cause of death was not immediately made available by the school.
In September of last year, it was announced that Williams, the first African-American athletic director in SEC history, was stepping down from his post. Williams had originally planned to step down at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, but decided to remain for up to a year until a replacement was found.
Williams had overseen Vanderbilt athletics for 15 years prior to his retirement. During that time, he also served as a tenured professor at Vanderbilt’s law school; Williams planned to continue in that role full-time once he sheds his athletics responsibilities.
During Williams’ tenure in the athletics department, Vandy claimed national championships in baseball, bowling and women’s tennis. The Commodores football team has played in five bowl games during Williams’ time in Nashville, breaking a 26-year postseason drought in 2008.