Sept. 22, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. -- Tom Williams, who has been affiliated with the University of Nebraska's track and field program for nine years as a student-athlete, GA coach and assistant coach, has been hired at the University of Oklahoma as assistant track coach. Williams will coach the Sooner pole vaulters, replacing former assistant coach Terry Womack, who resigned in July.

Williams has been a successful coach in the highly successful Husker track and field program. He coached last season's Big 12 Outdoor pole vault champion and NCAA Indoor All-American, Eric Eshbach. He also coached the 1996 Big Eight outdoor runner-up in the pole vault, Tom Richmond, and the 1998 NCAA Women's Outdoor pole vault runner-up, Kim Stewart. That finish came in her first year as a vaulter. In addition to serving as the primary vault coach for the Huskers, Williams also served as an assistant with the multi-event athletes and jumpers.

He has had athletes score points 51 times in the last five years at conference meets and has served on the coaching staff of Husker teams that have won 11 conference championships.

A former vaulter himself, Wiliams was a 1991 NJCAA All-American at Johnson County Community College. He won the 1989 Kansas 6A state title in the pole vault while competing for Lawrence High School and was a member of the Husker track and field team from 1992-94.

He began coaching as a graduate assistant at Nebraska while working on a graduate degree in education. He completed that degree in December 1998 after earning his undergraduate degree in secondary education at Nebraska in 1993.

"We are thrilled to have a coach with Tom's experience join our staff," said Sooner co-head coaches Jill Lancaster and Rodney Price. "He is familiar with our conference and what it takes to be successful in the Big 12 and on the national level. We have a proud tradition of vaulting at OU and several talented student-athletes returning this season. It was important to us that we continue our strong performances in this event. Tom has been a great addition to our staff."

The Sooners return two vaulters, Michael McNamara and Michael Westlund, who qualified for the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships last season. Westlund earned NCAA All-America honors at the outdoor meet while McNamara qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the pole vault. Westlund finished second at the Big 12 Outdoor in the pole vault and fifth at the Big 12 Indoor. McNamara finished second at the Big 12 Indoor and fourth at the Big 12 Outdoor. Lindsey Harris returns for the Sooner women after finishing fourth in the Big 12 Indoor and tied for seventh in the Big 12 Outdoor.