Announcement of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

May 8, 2015

I am delighted to announce that Mike Williams has accepted my offer and will be Berkeley’s next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Since becoming the Interim Director last June, Mike has, at every turn, demonstrated the full complement of professional skills, personal attributes and deeply held values that are the recipe for success and accomplishment in one of the most challenging positions on this campus. 

Given how important Cal Athletics’ continued competitive and academic excellence is for this campus, we did an extensive search for this position. With the valuable assistance of an advisory group consisting of students, staff, faculty and alumni, we carefully considered and defined the characteristics a successful candidate would need. We then launched a national search that brought to the fore a number of highly qualified applicants who were, in turn, evaluated by a broadly representative search committee. At the end of that process it became abundantly clear that Mike Williams was far and away the person best positioned and equipped to lead our storied athletics program at this point in our history. 

As an alum, a former student-athlete and successful leader in the financial sector, Mike understands, on both a human and organizational level, the unique set of interests, needs and challenges that must be addressed so that our exceptional student-athletes can thrive on the field of play and take full advantage of the educational opportunities our university offers. As a member of my Task Force on Academics and Athletics, Mike helped lead the effort to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to improve virtually every aspect of our student-athletes’ experience, and the support we provide for their academic aspirations. To date, he has played an invaluable role in turning those recommendations into action.

Cal Athletics is an integral part of our identity as a campus community. Thanks to Mike’s leadership, the hard work of the program’s outstanding coaches, leadership team and staff, as well as the continued dedication and passionate support from our alumni, we have also taken important steps to more fully integrate intercollegiate athletics into the broader life of this campus.   Mike has already demonstrated his unique ability to engage faculty, staff, and students across the campus in an effort to ensure that this is more than rhetoric, for the future success of all of our athletic programs depends upon a much more secure relationship to the entire university.

Mike’s deep experience with the management and financial operations of complex organizations and an equally deep level of knowledge about and engagement with our university are clearly invaluable assets in his new position. As a result, he is also well prepared and equipped to help Cal Athleticssuccessfully navigate through a period of change, challenge and opportunity as the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference move to address issues related to student-athletes’ status, welfare and academic performance. I look forward to my continuing partnership with Mike on this and many other fronts. 

Our highest calling as university administrators and educators is to provide all that our students need to realize their full potential; to take advantage of the incredible educational, cultural and experiential opportunities Berkeley offers; and to contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of our campus community. I have been both moved and impressed by the extent to which Mike shares that conviction, and the degree to which it informs his every action and decision. 

Since arriving at Berkeley, it has been an eye-opening experience for me to meet and get to know many of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and supporters who comprise Cal Athletics’ extended family. It is an extraordinary group that does this university proud by virtue of its teamwork, dedication to excellence, drive to win and devotion to the Blue and Gold. They deserve nothing less than the best in a leader, and I am confident that in Mike Williams we have found exactly that. 

I look forward to working with Mike and with all of you as together we support the great excellence of our athletic programs, and their vital role in the excitement, opportunity, and identity of this great university.  

Go Bears!

Nicholas Dirks