The Life of Brian

NEW PALTZ — Born to be in and coach those who want to be in the water, the only time that Brian L. Williams sits still around the wet stuff is when he is in a boat or on the banks of a river fishing. After eight years of serving as the Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams at the State University of New York at New Paltz, Coach Williams is about to dive into more responsibilities personally and professionally as he qualified for the Hudson Valley’s Open Swimming team and was named Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance.

Coach Williams, a native of Scotia, New York has always had a penchant for the water. A member of the Charvale Swim Club, Williams has either been competing or coaching since he was five years old. A 7-time NCAA All-American and 12-time SUNYAC Champion at Cortland State, Williams graduated with a degree in elementary education from the SUNY school in 1993. After graduation, Williams remained at Cortland as the Assistant Swimming Coach. It was then that he knew what he wanted to do for a career. “I always liked kids. At first, I didn’t think one could make a career of it, but then coaching at Cortland changed that,” said Williams. “At that point, I realized that this was something that I wanted to do. Young, energetic, and committed, Williams applied for the Swimming and Diving position at New Paltz, and he replaced longtime coach Art Stockin in the fall of 1994. Never one to sit still, Williams has steadily expanded his responsibilities. About to begin his eighth year at New Paltz, Williams was recently named Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance. In his new role, Williams will coordinate certification of all student athletes, maintain records within the affiliated conferences, update staff with new NCAA legislation and maintain departmental compliance. “It is an exciting professional step for me,” commented Williams. “I am extremely proud and excited to have Brian fulfill this vital role,” said Director of Athletics, Stuart Robinson. “Having watched him grow and develop as a professional from the time that he arrived here, I know that he is more than ready for this position. He has earned the opportunity, and I am confident that he will do an excellent job because he has the respect of the staff.”

However, Williams’ time is not solely devoted to his work at the university. Since his arrival at new Paltz, Williams has been involved in numerous community projects. A founding member, Williams was the first coach of the Hawks Swimming Association, where he remains a member of its board. He has provided swim lessons for area children, participated in the Total Immersion Swim program, conducted clinics for the Girl Scouts, and has developed the Dolphin Swim program with his wife of five years, Melissa. In addition to all of these activities, Williams still makes time for his student-athletes, friends, and colleagues. “At times, being around him is like traveling with a political figure because so many people want a piece of him,” commented Robinson.

Yet, just when it would appear that his life is full, Williams continues to reach for more. Later this summer Coach Williams will represent the Hudson Valley at the 2001 Empire State Games. A qualifier in the 50 meter Freestyle, 100 meter Backstroke and 200 meter Backstroke, Williams is looking forward to the challenge of competing for the first time since college. “I don’t know what to expect, and that is exciting. I want to get to the finals in each of the events, and then see what happens. I have been training with my Assistant Coach’s (Dan Talleyrand) club team, and it is exciting. I can’t wait. ” All three events will be held July 26th through July 28th at Colgate University.

With all of these activities, Williams has had to curtail his true love- fishing, which means that there has not been much quiet time in his life. “I have to admit that it (Empire Games training) has interrupted my fishing.” However, for New Paltz that is a good thing since his love of water has paid so many dividends to the university and the community.