By David Grossman
Looking back as a youngster, Barney Williams’96 dreamed of playing in the National Football League.
But when he didn’t get the quarterback spot on the Upper Canada College team, little did he know at the time that a switch to rowing was the foundation for a great future as an athlete, instructor and coach.
A World champ, Olympic silver medalist in the Men’s Coxless Four category and member of the Canadian National team, Williams is now Talent Identification and Development Coach for the Canadian Sport Institute and working on Vancouver Island.
“I learned at UCC, that given the opportunity to compete in various sports, I could pursue passions,” recalled Williams, a graduate of the University of Victoria followed by a term in England where he earned his Masters Degree at the University of Oxford.
“There were individuals at UCC, teachers and coaches, who had a huge educational impact on me and helped me understand to never close doors and look for opportunities — and it also rubbed off in sport.”
Married to a Canadian Olympic rower and stressing his family of four was the most important part of his life, Williams biggest milestone on water was a gold medal at the 2003 World championship in Italy followed by a personal best performance finishing second at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.
He also a pair of wins from Rowing World Cup events.
“For me, competing in sport has been a huge accomplishment and a rewarding experience,” says Williams, whose next goal is to be a rowing coach for Canada’s Olympic team.