Coach Danny Williamson compiled an impressive resume at Western Carolina University during his nearly 30-year coaching span at the helm of the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams. A Sylva-Webster graduate, Williamson is now taking his talent to UNC Asheville. He was hired in June as the cross country and track and field coach.
During his time with the Catamounts, Williamson and his teams earned 32 Southern Conference Team Championships. He was voted by coaching peers as Southern Conference Coach of the Year 39 times and in 1999, 2004 and 2006 he added NCAA Division I Regional Track and Field Coach of the Year to his awards.
After leaving WCU, Williamson spent a season helping the track and field teams at Cherokee High School and then spent two seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory.
Williamson credits his success in part to the opportunities he had to grow at WCU throughout the years.
“Western Carolina gave me an opportunity to get started,” he said. “With being a young coach and not knowing a lot about what I was doing, the school gave me the opportunity to grow and become better every year.”
Williamson is excited to take over in Asheville because it is closer to his home and family.
“The job was enticing because it gave me the opportunity to be back in Western North Carolina, also to be closer to my family without having to uproot them,” Williamson said. “I love coaching and working with young adults, but taking this job also allows my family to stay where they’re at.”
At UNCA he has goals for his teams in the classroom and on the running courses.
“We would like to continue to be at a high level academically, as they have been in the past,” he said. “That is our number one priority because ultimately athletes come to college to earn a degree. We also want to improve our standings as a team. We want to be a consistent competitor at the top of the standings in the Big South Conference in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.”
Williamson replaced UNCA cross country and track coach Jesse Norman. Ironically, Norman is now in the head coaching position at WCU as of January this year.
“It is a unique situation, he was the head coach here at UNCA and he now took the job at WCU. Jesse also ran for me at Western,” Williamson said. “It’s like we have switched roles, and everything has now come full circle.”