John Williamson has taken pride in watching his Vanderbilt bowling teams win “both ways” he likes to put it. Winning both ways means achieving success on the lanes and in the classrooms — two parallel destinations where Vanderbilt University ranks among the national leaders.
Williamson has guided the Commodores to two NCAA championships, the first coming in 2007 and the most recent in 2018. While his approach is definitely “team first”, many individual Commodores have earned success on national and international stages. Vanderbilt has had a nation-leading 13 first-team All-Americans and six NTCA Rookies of the Year.
Vanderbilt bowlers shine academically. The team and multiple program members annually are found on the NCTA and Vanderbilt academic honor rolls. In 2018 Kristin Quah won the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award with her 3.95 grade point in biomedical and electrical engineering.
It’s more than bowling and academics at Vanderbilt. The department has an innovative international travel program and Williamson has encouraged individuals to participate. He has led travels to France, Italy and Australia over the years with the entire roster while individuals have taken service trips to far-away places such as Morocco, Tanzania, Costa Rica and Cuba.
Additionally, when feasible Williamson arranges his tournament travel to allow for brief side trips to historical places such as Gettysburg, the Texas Book Depository, One World Trade Center, Philadelphia’s Independence Park and so forth — places most team members have never visited.
His success has been recognized in a number of ways, including being named Vanderbilt’s Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2018. The program’s high profile has found its way before the cameras of Nashville’s “Pickler and Ben” show during the summer of 2018.
Prior to his service with VU’s baseball team, he was in Vanderbilt’s athletic development office. He is a native of Franklin, Tenn., and a graduate of the University of Mississippi. He was a member of the Ole Miss football team for two seasons after earning all-state football and all-district baseball honors at Nashville’s Franklin Road Academy, where he is a member of its Athletic Hall of Fame.
He and his wife Melissa reside in Franklin with their four boys: Landon (13), Eli (9), Gabe (6) and Tucker Jay (2).
- In 15th year at Vanderbilt after starting program in 2004-05..
- Two NCAA titles (`07 and ’18) and two runner-up finishes
- Teams have made 13 straight NCAA Championship appearances
- Commodores have won 2015 and 2017 Southland Bowling League championship
- Vanderbilt Coach of the Year (’18 and ’06)
- 2007 NCAA Coach of the Year
- His Vanderbilt program has produced the second-most All-American honorees in nation and leads the nation in first-team All-Americans and Rookies of the Year.
- Has served NTCA coaches association in variety of roles including president