Mark Williams

Head Coach
16th Season
371-36 (.912)

Email Coach Williams
Phone: 405-325-8341
Mark Williams

With three NCAA Championships already in the books, the University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics program was no stranger to success prior to head coach Mark Williams' arrival. However, Williams has established OU as the nation's elite program with five national titles in the past 12 years, claiming crowns in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and most recently in 2008. 
Williams was named the head coach at Oklahoma in 2000 and has positioned the program as a national contender every year with an overall mark of 348-33 (.913) in 14 seasons. 

In addition to the five national titles, the Sooners have recorded six national runner-up finishes under Williams and other gaudy numbers that include 25 individual national champions, 146 All-America honors,  11 conference team championships, 46 individual conference titles and three Nissen Emery Award winners (Steven Legendre in 2011, Jonathan Horton in 2008 and Daniel Furney in 2003), presented annually to the nation's top senior gymnast.

With a roster that included 13 freshman and sophomores and just two seniors and two juniors, the Sooners collectied their 20th conference title in 2013. In a year where many predicted OU's incredible run of 12 straight top-three finishes to come to an end, Williams led the Sooners to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship. Oklahoma earned nine All-America honors and Michael Squires became the first Sooner to win a national title on rings since 2008. Five different OU gymnasts won conference titles, the most in one year in program history. Williams was named the MPSF Coach of the Year and the West Region Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

Oklahoma collected its 10th conference title in 2012 along with its 10th top-two finish since 2001 by claiming second at the NCAA Championship. Jake Dalton became the first gymnast in OU history to earn All-America honors on six events (all-around, floor, rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar) in one season while claiming NCAA titles on all-around and parallel bars. Dalton also won conference titles on all-around, parallel bars, high bar and rings. Williams was named the MPSF Coach of the Year along with the Coach of the Year for the West Region.

Williams was named the assistant coach of Team USA at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Of the six gymnasts in the American lineup, four were Sooners. Team USA featured current Sooner Jake Dalton along with letterwinners Jonathan Horton, Steven Legendre and Alex Naddour. The United States earned Bronze at the international event and qualified as a country to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The Sooners saw continued success in 2011 with senior Steven Legendre being the program's seventh Nissen-Emery Award winner.  OU also added three individual NCAA  National Champions (Jake Dalton; floor and vault, Alex Naddour; pommel horse) and 12 All-American to its extensive list of accomplishments. The team was runner-up in the team final, which marks the four time under Williams that the Sooners have finished in second.

Oklahoma finished the 2010 season as the MPSF Conference Champions and third place finishers at the NCAA National Championships. Steven Legendre took one step closer to breaking Jonathan Horton's OU program record six national titles by capturing one more individual National Championship on floor. Freshman Alex Naddour claimed the pommel national title, while the Sooners claimed 11 more All-American honors.

Half of Team USA at the 2010 World Championships was represented by the Sooner program.  Current OU Steven Legendre and former Sooner Jonathan Horton and Chris Brooks competed in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Horton won the bronze medal in the all-around, while Brooks and Legendre finish in the top eight in high bar and floor, respectively.

In 2009,  Legendre won national titles in the all-around, floor exercise and vault. The Sooners finished third and for the second year in a row claimed 11 All-America honors. Oklahoma would also represent half of the USA men's gymnastics' team that would compete at the 2009 World Championships. The two of the three Sooners would make the event finals on floor (Legendre) and high bar (Horton).

The 2008 Sooners won the eighth national title in the program's history while Horton won an individual national title on still rings and Legendre won national titles on the floor exercise and vault. In addition to Horton and Legendre who combined for six All-America honors, OU posted the second highest total All-America honors in the nation with 11.

In 2008, Horton won the silver medal in the men's high bar finals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. It was the second medal for Horton, as he help guide the U.S. Gymnastics Team to a bronze medal.

Following the 2008 and 2005 seasons, the Oklahoma team traveled to Washington D.C. and was honored at the nation's capital on the White House South Lawn at NCAA Champion's Day. After being recognized at a reception held by Oklahoma's senators, the Sooners received a private tour of the Capitol from Oklahoma senator Tom Cole.

Within the next six years, Williams would add to his international resume by being the 2006 World Championship head coach, 2007 World Championship assistant coach and a personal coach at the 2009 and 2010 World Championships.

In 2004, Williams was again on the world scene, where he helped guide Guard Young, then an OU assistant coach, to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Young had been coached by Williams since he was 11 years old and, at the age of 27, Young achieved his goal of competing for the U.S. at the Olympics with Williams at his side. Not only did Young compete in the games, but his performance helped the team earn silver, the first team medal for the U.S. since 1984.

"Mark is not only a good coach but a good friend," said Young. "He was able to take a young boy who could not even do the splits and make him into an Olympic silver medalist. One of Mark's strengths as a coach is his ability to unite a team. His dedication to the team is something I respect and aspire toward."

In his 29 years as a professional gymnastics coach, Williams has guided gymnasts to the Olympic, World Championship, Pan American Games and University Games teams. He has also coached numerous senior and junior U.S. national team members.

"As a college coach, NCAA competition will always be my first priority," Williams said, "but I also want to encourage those guys who come into the program with aspirations to make the U.S. national team. As a coach, I am committed to making USA Gymnastics training and competition opportunities available to every athlete on my team who wants to compete on a national and international level."

In addition to his coaching prowess, Williams is a nationally and internationally certified judge. He served as the vice president for the U.S. Men's Elite Coaches Association, as a member of the Men's Program Committee for USA Gymnastics (USAG) and on the USAG Board of Directors. Williams was a member of the 2000 Olympic Selection Committee. He also served as a personal coach on the U.S. team which competed at the 2001, 2002 World Championships and the Chinichi Cup.

Williams' success doesn't stop at the NCAA level. He has earned the respect of the gymnastics nation by coaching at every level of the sport, from beginners to Olympians.

Although Williams has returned gymnastics at OU to the top of the sport, another one of his primary goals as head coach was to revitalize OU's presence on the international gymnastics scene. With Horton at the 2008 Olympic Games and Young at the 2004 Athens Games, Williams has achieved just that.

 The Williams File
 High School  Lyons Township, 1976
 College  Nebraska, 1980
 Family  wife, Susan & son, Cooper

 Coaching History
 2000-present, Oklahoma Head Coach
 1988-99, Oklahoma Assistant Coach
 1982-88, High School Coach

 Coaching Record
 NCAA Finish
 2014  23-3  MPSF (1st)  2nd
 2013  26-3  MPSF (1st)  2nd
 2012  26-3  MPSF (1st)  2nd
 MPSF (2nd)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (2nd)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (2nd)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (1st)
 MPSF (1st)
 371-36 (.912)

 Career Coaching Highlights
 2014 U.S. World Championships Head Coach (Bronze Medal)
 2014 West Region Coach of the Year
 2013 West Region Coach of the Year
 2013 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2012 West Region Coach of the Year
 2012 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2011 U.S. World Championships Assistant Coach
 2010 World Championship Personal Coach
 2009 World Championship Personal Coach
 2009 USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year
 2008 NCAA National Champions
 2008 National Coach of the Year
 2008 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2007 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2007 U.S. World Championships Assistant Coach
 2006 U.S. World Championships Head Coach
 2006 USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year
 2006 NCAA National Champions
 2006 National Coach of the Year
 2006 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2005 NCAA National Champions
 2005 National Coach of the Year
 2005 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2004 U.S. Olympic Personal Coach
 2003 NCAA National Champions
 2003 National Coach of the Year
 2003 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2003 World Championship Personal Coach
 2002 World Championship Personal Coach
 2002 NCAA National Champions
 2002 National Coach of the Year
 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2001 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2001 West Region NCAA Coach of the Year
 2001 World Championship Personal Coach
 2000 MPSF Coach of the Year
 1999 Pan American Games Head Coach
 1996 Assistant Olympic Coach
 1995 Assistant World Championship Coach
 1994 World Championship Personal Coach
 1994 USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year
 1994 NCAA Assistant Coach of the Year
 11-time USA International Team Coach

 Coaching Accomplishments
 Three Athletes on U.S. Olympic Team
 Five athletes on World Championship Teams
 Two Athletes on Pan American Games Team
 Athlete on Pan American Championship Team
 Two Athlete on World University Games Team
 15 athletes on USA Senior National Team
 Eight athletes on Junior National Team
 155 NCAA All-Americans
 28 NCAA Individual National Champions
 Two USA Junior National All-Around Champions

 Gymnastics Activities
 NCAA Rules Committee Chair, 2005
 NCAA Rules Committee, 2002-2005, 2009-Present
 NGJA Nationally Certified Judge, 1984-2001
 F.I.G. Certified Judge, 1998-2004
 USAG Men's Program Committee Member, 1994-2000
 U.S. Men's Elite Coaches Association Sec./Treas. & Vice  President, 1991-98
 USAG Board of Directors Sr. Rep, 1996-98
 Coached on seven NCAA National Championship Teams
 (1981, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008)

 Athletic Accolades (Nebraska)
 NCAA Team Champion, 1979 and 1980
 All-American High Bar, 1978
 Big Eight Champion High Bar, 1978
 U.S. Junior National Team, 1975

Outside of coaching on the collegiate level, Williams was on the international scene at the 2008 Summer Beijing Olympics when Horton was selected to represent his country. Horton did his part in leading the underdog U.S. team to a bronze medal, while collecting a individual silver medal on the high bar. 

Williams' vast experience has been recognized at the highest levels of the sport, one of the most notable was when he was asked to serve as the assistant coach for Team USA at the 1996 Olympic Games. In July of 1999, Williams was head coach of the USA's Pan American Games Team which claimed the silver medal. He coached at both the 1994 and 1995 World Championships, as well as the 1987 Junior International, 1991-92 DTB Cups, 1991 World University Games and 2000 International Team Cup.  Williams was also named to the Lyons Township High School Hall of Fame in 2009.

As a gymnast, assistant coach or head coach, Williams has been a part of eight NCAA Championship teams. A high school standout from La Grange Park, Ill., he went on to compete at Nebraska (1977-1980). He received All-America honors on the high bar (1978) in addition to the two national championship titles he earned with his team (1979, 1980). He then helped the Cornhuskers to another title in 1981 as a graduate assistant coach. Ten years later, Williams was on the coaching staff that produced OU's third National Championship in 1991.

"My stint as a collegiate athlete was one of the best times in my life," Williams said. "The excitement of being part of a great team is indescribable. There are very few opportunities for gymnasts to feel that unity outside a university setting. I've coached hundreds of athletes in my career and not one has ever come to me with any regrets about choosing college gymnastics. I've been a coach at all levels and all have their benefits, but to me, the combination of athletics and education, plus the support and camaraderie of a team, make NCAA gymnastics something special."

Williams graduated from Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in secondary education/English and completed his master's degree in journalism at OU with a 4.0.

Williams was married to his wife, Susan, in May of 1998. The couple welcomed their first child, son Cooper, in 2007.