Bob Williams has been selected as the NCAA’s vice president of communications, President Mark Emmert announced today. Williams had served as managing director of public and media relations at the NCAA national office since February 2005.
“Bob has distinguished himself as a superb communicator and strategist, and I am pleased to promote him as a member of my senior staff,” said Emmert. “Under his leadership, I look forward to telling the story of the student-athlete as effectively as possible and to new audiences as well.”
Williams will function as the Association’s chief communications officer and serve on Emmert’s senior management group. He will direct overall communications for the Association with an emphasis on communications strategy and work closely with senior leadership at the national office and in the NCAA membership.
“This is an important time for the Association as President Emmert leads us in managing the many issues impacting intercollegiate athletics and ensuring that everything we do links back to benefitting the student-athlete experience as a whole,” said Williams. “I’m looking forward to working with our members, external constituents and the media to accurately tell the student-athlete story and highlight the incredible young people who compete both in the classroom and on the field of play every day.”
President Mark Emmert.
Williams was named interim vice president of communications in September, following a restructuring of the national office to better meet the needs of the Association and its membership. Williams led the creation of the new communications group, which consists of three units: public and media relations; digital communications; and image management and strategy.
As managing director of public and media relations, Williams functioned as the Association’s primary spokesperson and oversaw strategic communications and issues management for the national office. Over the last five years he has helped lead the communications efforts for the Association’s most important issues including academic reform and financial reform initiatives.
A native of Rome, N.Y., Williams joined the NCAA in 2005 following a 25-year career in the U.S. Air Force, where he managed public affairs in a variety of capacities and retired as a colonel.
His last position was director of public affairs for Air Combat Command, which provides combat air forces for military operations around the world and is comprised of more than 170,000 people. In that role, he led a team of 54 communication professionals to develop global communications strategies. Located at Langley Air Force base in Virginia, the unit provided public relations oversight to 198 additional public relations professionals in 22 locations around the world.
Williams was chief of the Air Force’s public communication division at the Pentagon from 1998-2002, during which he led the Air Force’s branding efforts including development of a corporate logo and advertising campaign.
He also has served as director of public affairs for the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base (1996-98), chief of the external relations division for Germany-based U.S. Air Forces in Europe (1993-96), director of public affairs for the 363d Fighter Wing (1991-93) and chief of media relations in the Air Force’s eastern regional office in New York (1988-91).
Williams’ community involvement includes serving on the board of directors for the Fathers and Families Center in Indianapolis. The non-profit agency assists young fathers to become responsible and involved parents. He also serves on the advisory board at Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center.
He has received numerous awards from the Air Force for his work in public affairs. Williams has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the State University College at Buffalo, and he earned his master’s degree in mass communication and public relations from Boston University.