University at Albany Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives announced the hiring of Deshaya Williams as the program’s new assistant coach in July 2013.
A Saratoga High School product, Williams gained coaching experience at Penn State, Clemson, Fredonia and St. Lawrence. As an athlete, she was the first NCAA Women’s Champion in Penn State history (discus, 2003) and competed in two Olympic Trials.
“Deshaya is a superb addition to our staff and she will make an immediate and dramatic impact,” said Vives at the time of her hiring. “She emerged to be the best candidate for our program because of her tremendous experience, positive energy and charismatic personality. Deshaya will contribute significantly to our goal of becoming a top 20 national program.”
Deshaya Williams enters her third season as an assistant cross country and track & field coach with UAlbany in 2015-16. She is in charge of all throwing events for the Great Danes.
In Williams’ second season (2014-15), she coached Briana Cherry-Bronson to a school record in the weight throw with a mark of 19.98m (65’-6.75”). Bronson also went on to throw 57.33m (188’-1”) in the hammer throw during the outdoor season, good for second on the UAlbany all-time performance list. She coached Janice Johnson to a 14.66m (48’-1.25”) school record mark in the shot put, a mark which won Johnson the 2015 America East Outdoor Championship. Further, she coached Lauren Lopano to a 16.93m (55’-6.5”) mark in the weight throw, a 54.08m (177’-5”) mark in the hammer throw, and a 44.68m (146’-8”) mark in the discus throw to qualify for the ECAC Championships all three events for her junior campaign. Also under Williams’ guidance, senior Veleisha Walker finished her senior campaign with a 44.70m (146’-8”) mark in the javelin to earn a spot at the East Regional Championships and a school record.
With the renewed focus on developing the Great Danes’ throwing events, Williams saw her women’s squad collectively score 67 points at the 2015 America East Outdoor Championships, a higher total than any other event group on the team. Individually, the women won three of the four contested events: Janice Johnson won the shot put, Zoe Doolittle won the discus, and Veleisha Walker won the javelin. At indoor championships, Briana Cherry-Bronson won the weight throw, giving the UAlbany women’s throwers four individual victories in six events at conference championships in 2015.
On the men’s side, Williams coached Jonathan Eustache to a 19.64m (64’-5.25”) second-place finish in the weight throw at the America East Indoor Championships, as well as a second-place showing at the Millrose Games. Further, Eustache finished his sophomore campaign with IC4A qualifying marks in the discus (49.08m/161’-0”) and hammer (54.03m/177’-3”). She also coached Eric DelVescovo to a 16.25m (53’-3.75”) mark in the shot put to finish his inaugural campaign second on UAlbany’s all-time outdoor performance list.
In Williams’s first season (2013-14), she coached Lauren Lopano to a top-three finish in the weight throw. Lopano threw 15.78m for the first time and finished fourth on UAlbany’s all-time performance list. Lopano also placed second in the women’s discus at America East Outdoor Championships in her sophomore campaign. Additionally, Williams coached Samantha Kosa to a then school record 14.20m (46’-7.75”) in the women’s shot put.
Williams joined the Great Danes after a two-year stop at St. Lawrence University, where she served as the Assistant Coordinator for Student-Athlete Development and Head Throws Coach. Williams served a key roles in both recruiting and in developing conditioning and throwing programs for the javelin, hammer, shot put, weight, and discus throwers. She helped St. Lawrence win back-to-back indoor and outdoor Liberty League Championships.
Williams played a similar role at SUNY Fredonia from 2010-11 where she recruited three SUNYAC champions.
She has significant experience at the highest level of track & field, both as an athlete and as a coach. After a decorated collegiate career at Penn State University that saw her win one NCAA individual title and claim 3 All-America accolades, she went on to compete in the US Olympic Trials in 2000 and 2004. She was a three-time Big Ten Champion, a member of the USA National Team and both USA Junior National Champion and Junior Pan American Champion in 1999.
Earning her bachelor's and master's degrees at Penn State in 2002 and 2004, Williams also earned a second master's degree from the Erskine Theological Seminary in 2009. She served as a graduate assistant for the Penn State women's program in the 2003-04 season and was a volunteer assistant at Clemson University from 2004-2006.
Williams has done a lot of work developing her coaching skills, attending a Level II Coaching School in California, as well as a Women’s Coaching Academy in Denver. She also received her BFS-strength and conditioning certification in 2012.