In addition to her work with the conferences beginning on Sept. 1, Williamson will continue in her duties with the NCAA in a limited capacity during the transition this fall. A national search for her replacement will begin immediately.
“I am very grateful for the opportunities afforded me at the NCAA over the past eight years,” said Williamson, who joined the NCAA in 2006 as secretary-rules editor and added the role of national coordinator of women’s basketball officiating in '11. “We have made great strides on both the rules and officiating fronts because of the teamwork amongst key stakeholders in our game that include the rules committee, WCBO, WBCA, coordinators of officials and the officials themselves. I am very appreciative for the support I was provided to help move rules and officiating forward. There is still much work to be done, but the future is promising.”
During her time as the national coordinator and secretary-rules editor with the NCAA, Williamson assisted with the formation of a national officials working group, was instrumental in the development of the online NCAA Women's Basketball Officiating Center Court hosted on the ArbiterSports website and led women’s basketball officiating efforts that included enhanced consistency during the regular and postseason. Under Williamson, the NCAA emphasized more consistent rules enforcement, consensus building between the major stakeholders in women's basketball, a more active regional advisor program, an increase in accountability of Division I officials and a more comprehensive selection system. As a result of the additional emphasis on consistent rules enforcement and freedom of movement during the 2013-14 season, scoring was up 5.62 points per game for the Division I regular season, with field-goal percentages increasing by 1.6 percent.
“Debbie will continue her great work in the women’s basketball officiating world and we wish her well with this new opportunity,” said Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president for women’s basketball championships. “Her efforts in leading the NCAA national officiating program and as secretary-rules editor over the last eight years are to be celebrated and we salute her many accomplishments.”
A student-athlete at Louisiana Tech in the early 1980s in both basketball and softball, Williamson (formerly Primeaux) helped lead the Lady Techsters to four Women’s Final Four appearances and was co-captain of the 1984 team. Louisiana Tech won the first NCAA women’s basketball national championship in 1982.
Her coaching career included being the head women’s volleyball coach at Louisiana Tech (1985-86), assistant women’s basketball coach at Southeastern Louisiana (1986-87), and assistant basketball (1987-91) and head softball coach at Georgia Southern (1993-94).
From 1995 to '98, Williamson was an instructor for health and kinesiology at North Harris Montgomery County Community College. In 2001, she joined the staff at Campbell University as an instructor in the department of exercise science. She remained at Campbell until 2004, when she left to join NC State as a teaching assistant professor in the physical education department.
Williamson served on the officiating staffs for several conferences, including the Big South, Colonial Athletic, Peach Belt, South Athletic, Carolinas-Virginia Athletic, USA South and Old Dominion Athletic. She worked in numerous NCAA tournament games, including three regionals at the NCAA Division II level.
An author of numerous publications and research abstracts in sports management, Williamson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education from Louisiana Tech in 1985, followed with a Master of Science degree in health and physical education in '86, also from Louisiana Tech. Williamson received a Doctorate of Education degree in 2000 from the University of Houston.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work more closely with coaches and players in my new role at the American Athletic Conference and Big East Conference,” Williamson said. “Mike Aresco and Val Ackerman have shown great leadership, in particular, in women's basketball and I look forward to learning from and working with them. This is a great opportunity to be more intimately involved in basketball and officiating, which is my passion."