PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 7, 2014) - Rutgers University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Julie Hermann announced today that Kari Williams has been named Head Women’s Golf Coach. Williams arrives “On the Banks” from Columbia University, where she recently guided the Lions to three tournament titles in 2013-14 during her eighth season there as head women’s golf coach.
“Coach Williams will be a great leader for our women's golf program,” said Hermann. “Coming from Columbia University, she's focused on the student experience, their academic progress and she's a national and international recruiter. She will be a fantastic person to have in our department because she cares about the total program."
“I am very excited to join such a great university as it enters the nation’s premier athletic and academic conference,” said Williams. “I would like to thank Julie Hermann, Sarah Baumgartner and Kate Hickey for providing me this tremendous opportunity. I look forward to working with the team to get us ready for the next level of competition in the Big Ten. I had a great experience at Columbia, and will work to build the relationships necessary here at Rutgers to achieve success both athletically and academically.”
Under Williams’ leadership, Columbia took top honors at the Monterey Bay Invitational, Seton Hall Pirate Invitational and its own Roar-EE Invitational this past season. First Team All-Ivy League honoree Michelle Piyapattra won medalist honors at the Bucknell Invitational and the Seton Hall Pirate Invitational, bringing her career win total to six. Piyapattra's prolific career under Williams' guidance culminated with her being honored as the Maniatty Award winner at Columbia's Varsity C Celebration as the best female athlete over her four-year career. In addition to Piyapattra's two individual wins, sophomore Monique Ishikawa won the Monterey Bay Invitational and the Roar-EE Invitational.
On the links, Columbia golfers earned All-Ivy League honors 12 times under Williams, including three in both 2007 and 2008. In the classroom, two Lions were named to the prestigious Academic All-Ivy squad and 13 earned Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar accolades.
The Lions were Ivy League title contenders year-in and year-out with Williams at the helm. In 2012-13, the team posted five top-five finishes in just eight tournaments. Freshmen Spencer Krut and Monique Ishikawa shared the Roar-EE Invitational title and junior Jane Dong garnered second team All-Ivy League honors. The 2011-12 season saw Piyapattra named Ivy League Player of the Year after she posted league-best 74.73 round average with seven top-five finishes and two tournament victories. Piyapattra also became the first Columbia women’s golfer to compete at the NCAA East Regional since the 2007 team. In 2010-11, Piyapattra dominated the field at the Ivy League Championship and took home medalist honors by 10 strokes en route to three tournament victories as a rookie.
In her first season with the Lions, Williams guided the team to its first-ever Ivy League Championship and a berth in the 2007 NCAA Championships. Sophomore Sara Ovadia, who turned professional in 2009, became the first Columbia golfer in history to earn an Ivy League Individual Championship, as freshman Stevy Loy closed as the runner-up.
Williams arrived at Columbia rich with experience in the golf world and beyond. The Evanston, Wyoming native played for the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she was a two-time team captain, All-Big West selection, and an NCAA Regionals qualifier as a senior. Williams graduated in 1994 from the Shidler School of Business with a degree in accounting.
Post-graduation, Williams embarked on a professional career that included playing on the Futures, Players West and Kosaido Ladies Asian tours and in LPGA Q-School events.
As an amateur, Williams established herself as the top female high school golfer in Wyoming, winning Wyoming individual state titles in 1988 and 1989. She was also the Utah State Jr. Champion in 1988. While in Hawaii, Williams won the island’s top amateur event, the Jennie K. Wilson Invitational, twice (1994 and 1999) and the Hawaii State Stroke Play Championship in 1995.
Upon concluding her competitive career in 2002, Williams became a high school teacher at Gilroy High School in California, where she was also named the head coach of three sports, taking over the girls’ basketball program and the boys’ and girls’ golf teams. Williams coached the basketball team to the final four of the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs three consecutive years.
A USGA and WGCA member, Williams earned a Master of Science in Sports Management from Columbia in October, 2008. She also earned a Master of Education from Teachers College at Columbia University for Curriculum and Teaching in May of 2013.
Williams replaces Maura Ballard, who stepped down from the position in June.