After a very successful fall at Illinois Institute of Technology, Joel Williams has stepped down as Illinois Tech’s head coach for the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams. He has accepted the position of men’s track and field/cross country head coach at Tufts University.
“I am eternally grateful to Joe Hakes and Illinois Tech for giving me the opportunity to be part of this wonderful place,” said Williams. “While it has been a brief journey, I have learned so much and got to work with a group of fantastic athletes and coworkers. I can’t express my appreciation enough of how supportive and encouraging everyone has been in my pursuit of fulfilling a dream. Every coach wants to make a their program better, and I hope I accomplished that by taking the program one step closer to Joe’s vision.”
Williams helped the Illinois Tech cross country programs take steps forward in 2015. On the men’s side, he was named Coach of the Year by the Association of Division III Independents after coaching AD3I Runner of the Year and First Team All-Independent Samuel Wietlispach. He also guided freshman Cole Dammeier to a strong season and Second Team All-Independent selection. Junior Quentin Shipley-Mellon enjoyed steady improvements as the season progressed, earning an All-Independent Second Team selection as well.
On the women’s side, Williams also earned accolades. He was named Coach of the Year by the United States Collegiate Athletic Association while guiding some strong Illinois Tech runners. Sophomore Caitlyn Brunner emerged as one of the top runners at nearly every meet, earning First Team All-Independent honors from AD3I. Senior sisters Brooke and Rebecca Bell also made strides under Williams, earning All-Independent Honorable Mention accolades.
Located in Medford, Mass., Tufts has traditionally been one of NCAA Division III’s strongest Cross Country and Track and Field programs. The Jumbos finished the 2015 season ranked 12th in the USTFCCA Division III Men’s Cross Country poll. In Men’s Track and Field, Tufts finished the 2015 Indoor season ranked 16th in the country.
“We wish Joel the best as he moves back to the East coast,” said Illinois Tech Athletic Director Joe Hakes. “His work with our student-athletes here, while over a short time, has set a bar of expectations for his successor. We anticipate taking the next steps forward to strong and sustained programs in both cross country and track and field.”
A search for a new men’s and women’s track and field/cross country head coach will begin immediately.