As Andre Williams saw it, there were only two options for men in his family - join the military or become a drug dealer on the streets of his hometown Richmond, Virginia. But sports presented another option – basketball was his first choice – and he wanted to use cross country as conditioning for it. However, he quickly fell in love with his newly adopted sport and showed promise: skyrocketing into national prominence, winning the Virginia State cross country title, setting the course record, and winning the Kinney southeast region cross country championships. This rising star earned a trip on his first-ever flight to San Diego for the National Championships, where he finished 19th—earning All-American honors.
He received an athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – where he initially struggled academically due to gaps in his earlier education. But Andre began absorbing information - a habit that was reinforced by his daily newspaper reading. This daily literary habit transferred into a curiosity that he maintains to this day. During his collegiate career, he earned All-American honors, was a three-time ACC conference champion, and was team Captain of the two-time ACC Champion Tar Heels track teams.
Feeling he had more to give in his sport, he accepted an invitation to join the prestigious Enclave Track Club, a professional running club sponsored by Reebok. After two years of hard work, countless grueling high mileage days and intense track workouts, and finally watching his teammates board their flight to the 1996 Olympic Trials---he considered hanging up his spikes. Andre’s coach, former American Record holder Matt Centrowitz urged him to stick with it for one more year. This paid huge dividends; he committed to staying the course and adopted a strength regimen to stabilize his trunk imbalances and began placing more emphasis on flexibility, recovery, and rest. This hard-working warrior from river city was ranked in the top ten in the country from 1997-2001 in the 5,000-meter run, with a personal best of 13:28*.
Today this tireless life learner has risen to the top of his field in Information Technology and Mobility for the AT & T corporation. We warmly welcome my longtime friend Andre to this episode of Intrinsic Drive™.
Intrinsic Drive™ is produced by Ellen Strickler and Phil Wharton and Andrew Hollingworth is sound editor and engineer.
*PBST (Pre-Bionic/Boingo Shoe Time)