Meet the woman breaking barriers for black women in sports

Carla Williams, the first African-American female athletic director at a Power Five institution, opens up about making history in sports.
4:18 | 02/14/18

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Transcript for Meet the woman breaking barriers for black women in sports
month by highlighting women who are disrupters. And we have a game changer, Carla Williams is making history as the athletic director at the university of Virginia. She played, she coached and she managed at the highest levels of college sports. Ladies and gentlemen, car Williams. Reporter: And now at the university of Virginia, Carla Williams is making history as the first African-American woman athletics director at a power five institution. And an historic feat considering there are only five active women A.D.S at this level. She was a baller. Show some respect. Reporter: When you all heard that Carla Williams was going to be the new athletic director at the university of Virginia, what was the response from the team? It's just great to have someone who is like you and in a powerful position and especially for the community and everything going on in the world today it's just really inspiring. Reporter: Carla's career dates back to the '80s when she earned a scholarship to play basketball at the university of Georgia. I know this is something that you worked toward. Just explain to people what all went into getting here. I got recruited by Georgia and I thought coach landers was kind of the boss at Georgia until I got there and I saw that there were administrators and they got to work with different sports. That sparked my interest right there. Reporter: From point guard to point Bern, she went on to become an assistant coach at her ALMA mater and later spent more than 20 years as an administrator. Not all athletic directors have a ph.d. But you do. I felt like if I was going to be an athletic director that I needed to take away any excuse for me not to be hired. Reporter: But even with advanced degrees and decades of experience, Carla still met opposition. There aren't many women in decision-making positions. I knew my time was coming. I knew at one point it would be my season and so I was just very, very patient. Breaking new details in that deadly attack in Virginia. Reporter: It comes months after charlottesville was at the center of racial discord. Some people might say I don't want anything to do with this place. You didn't. No. You said you wanted to come here. Yeah examine how . How is it now and did that factor into your decision-making process. I believe this is a destiny. The people of charlottesville have decided they won't allow the darkness here. That they will fight back if how are things now. We're still recovering as a community and all had conversation, how can we use our platform to say it's not reflective of charlottesville but more importantly charlottesville is an exam of what is happening in the world and the nation. Reporter: Carla is now living the dream at one time that seemed unimaginable. A young black girl will watch this piece and for that moment she'll go, oh, I can be an athlet athletic director. Coach something fine, being a broadcaster is fine, those things have been done. This has never been done. I get chill, you know, just thinking about it. I'm living proof that you can do anything if you work hard. If you fight for your education, you fight for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than you. And you dream it. This is your dream. Oh, yeah. Yes. Absolutely. Cannot stress, cannot stress what a big deal it is to be an athletic director but saw the university president at the ball game, Teresa Sullivan and said that's great you did this. She said we just wanted the best and I've known Carla for many years. Way back Wednesday, 1996. There she is with her baby girl. This was her last year coaching. I had no idea what was in store for her. She's the first in her family, Carla, to go to college. Her daughter that she's holding right now is in the college at the university of Georgia. Wow.

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