Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 20, 2013
SoonerSports.com
 
Mark Williams

Head Coach
16th Season
397-36 (.917)

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

Mark Williams has become a household name in the world of gymnastics. The Sooner head coach has had success at every level of the sport and has recently been announced as one of the members of the 2015 class of inductees into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, just another testament to the outstanding coaching he has done with the national team and the OU men’s gymnastics squad.

With three NCAA Championships already in the books, the University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics program was no stranger to success prior to Williams’ arrival. However, Williams has established OU as the nation’s elite program with five national titles in the past 13 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 371-36 (.912) in 15 seasons at the helm.

In addition to the five national titles, the Sooners have recorded seven national runner-up finishes under Williams and other gaudy numbers that include 28 individual national champions, 155 All-America honors, 12 conference team championships, 49 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.

Williams has also made an impact on the international level, most recently serving as the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. Williams guided a squad that included former Sooners Jake Dalton and Alex Naddour to a bronze medal, marking the first world team medal as the head coach of the USA national team.

At the collegiate level in 2014 the Sooners won their 21st conference title, and have now captured the title in 12 of the 15 years during Williams’ tenure, including each of the last three seasons. Williams led the Sooners to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship, extending OU’s active streak of top three finishes at the championships to 14 seasons. The Sooners claimed three of the six event national champions with Michael Squires defending his title on the rings and Alec Robin winning both the floor exercise and vault national championships. Oklahoma picked up nine All-America accolades at the championships and Williams was named West Region Coach of the Year for the third time in as many seasons.

The Sooners collected 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. On the national level, OU alums Dalton and Legendre each captured silver medals in event finals at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. Dalton finished second on the floor exercise and Legendre placed second on the vault.

Oklahoma claimed its 10th conference title under Williams 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 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. 2012 also marked the Olympics, with the Sooners making their presence known on the national squad. Five of the eight members of Team USA came from Oklahoma at the London Olympics.

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 Champions (Jake Dalton; floor and vault, Alex Naddour; pommel horse) and 12 All-Americans to its extensive list of accomplishments. The team was runner-up in the team final, which marks the fourth time under Williams that the Sooners have finished in second.

Oklahoma finished the 2010 season as the MPSF champions and third place finishers at the NCAA National Championships. Legendre captured an individual national title on floor. Naddour claimed the pommel national title, while the Sooners earned 11 more All-American honors.

Half of Team USA at the 2010 World Championships was represented by the Sooner program. Legendre, 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. 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.

After a second place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2004, Oklahoma won two-straight team titles in 2005 and 2006, marking the second time during Williams’ tenure that the team claimed the top spot two seasons in a row.

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.

Upon arrival in Norman in 2000, Williams made an instant impact on the program. The Sooners placed second at the 2001 NCAA Championships before winning back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, going 54-1 in the two seasons. Daniel Furney became the first gymnast under Williams to win the coveted Nissen Emery Award in 2003.

"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 30 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.

 
 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
 Year
 Record
 Conference
 NCAA Finish
 2015  26-0  MPSF (1st)  1st
 2014  23-3  MPSF (1st)  2nd
 2013  26-3  MPSF (1st)  2nd
 2012  26-3  MPSF (1st)  2nd
 2011
 26-2
 MPSF (2nd)
 2nd
 2010
 24-4
 MPSF (1st)
 3rd
 2009
 23-3
 MPSF (2nd)
 3rd
 2008
 28-1
 MPSF (1st)
 1st
 2007
 26-4
 MPSF (1st)
 2nd
 2006
 31-0
 MPSF (1st)
 1st
 2005
 21-2
 MPSF (1st)
 1st
 2004
 24-4
 MPSF (2nd)
 2nd
 2003
 26-0
 MPSF (1st)
 1st
 2002
 28-1
 MPSF (1st)
 1st
 2001
 24-2
 MPSF (1st)
 2nd
 2000
 15-4
 MPSF (1st)
 4th
 Total
 397-36 (.917)

 Career Coaching Highlights
 2015 NCAA National Champions
 2015 National Coach of the Year
 2015 MPSF Coach of the Year
 2015 West Region Coach of the Year
 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

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.

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.



 





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