Lisa Williamson had a dream from the time she was seven years old… she dreamed of earning a college scholarship.
And, she achieved that dream, at Ashland University in Ohio. But then, she discovered she had another dream.
“I realized that I really did want to give back some of what all of my coaches had given to me,” she says. “I had one coach in particular that I saw three to four days a week outside of my high school practice and he worked with me quite a bit on running and individual event technique.
“He taught me how to hurdle, long jump, high jump, throw the shot and javelin to become a more marketable athlete to college coaches, and he did it all for free. He was at every meet videotaping and critiquing me to help me be my best.”
A track runner from the age of seven, as Williamson progressed through junior high school, high school and college at Ashland, she succeeded in her first dream, becoming an Ohio state champion in the 300m hurdles in high school and a multi-event athlete and 400m hurdler at Ashland, while she was also growing her second dream.
While attending Ashland she got to work with some of the top coaches in NCAA Division II, including four-time Olympian Jud Logan, Olympian A.G. Kruger, and a host of other Olympic hopefuls that would come to train at the university. And she did indeed succeed, earning two All-American awards in the indoor pentathlon for the Eagles as well as several team and academic awards for track and field.
However, it was her other dream that led her to Clayton State University, where she is both assistant director of Recreation & Wellness and an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s track and field teams. Can you say, “she has it all?”
“In college, I began volunteering as an AAU youth track and field official. Each summer since 2007, I have volunteered as a youth track and field official for both AAU and USATF meets,” she says. “After I was finished competing at Ashland, Jud Logan and coach Dave Smalley gave me the opportunity to become an assistant coach for AU’s team, working primarily with the sprinters and hurdlers. I also received my USATF level 1 coaching certificate in January of 2012. I coached for a year at Ashland, graduated with my master’s degree, and took a job at Clayton State.”
After she started to work at Clayton State as assistant director of Recreation & Wellness, her supervisor, now-retired director of Recreation & Wellness Cindy Lauer, introduced Williamson to Clayton State’s first and only head track and field and cross country coach, Mike Mead. Seeing an opportunity to continue her dream, she began talking to Mead about also coaching the Lakers.
Clayton State’s head runner since 1995, Mead knew a good deal when he saw one, two-time All-Americans with Williamson’s passion for coaching being fairly rare.
“I started in January of 2013 and have been assisting coach Clive Caesar in coaching both men’s and women’s teams in the sprints, hurdles, and jumps as well as working with several javelin throwers,” she recalls. “I have been blessed to work with both Recreation & Wellness and Athletics these last few years and enjoy working with the students and athletes.”
And that’s not all. Williamson has used her dual assignments at Clayton State to make students’ dreams real as well.
“Working with the athletes has made me more recognizable on campus and I have been able to recruit some really great employees from Athletics and give many of our international students the opportunity to become more involved on campus,” she says, adding that her coaching duties have also helped support the University’s Fitness & Wellness program, as many athletes enjoy participating in yoga sessions during the off season.
Certainly, working two jobs, one full-time, one part-time, for 50+ hours a week have kept Williamson pretty busy for the past two years. However, it’s a labor of love.
“The two positions have meshed together very well and I am extremely lucky that my supervisors in both areas have been so supportive of allowing me to pursue my two passions in order to give back to the Clayton State community.”