Attorney: St. Augustine's University asked athletic director to take pay cut before firing

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Longtime track and field coach George Williams was asked by St. Augustine's University to take a 50% pay cut and give up his job as athletic director before he was fired, his attorney said Thursday.

Williams and attorney Nicholas Sanservino Jr. told reporters that St. Augustine's officials called a meeting and told Williams they wanted him to move to a newly created position of athletic director emeritus. The school said in a statement that Williams turned down the offer.

"Coach was not in position to accept the position," Sanservino said. "At which point he was handed a different letter in the meeting, terminating his employment."

The school also said that while track and field continued to perform at a championship level, there were areas of its athletic department that need "significant development and focus."

Asked if he thought his firing was personal, Williams said, "I think a lot of things are personal," Williams said. "It can't be job performance."

Williams led his alma mater's track and field teams for 43 seasons, winning 39 NCAA Division II championships, the most of any active coach, and he also coached more than 40 Olympians. He coached the U.S. Olympic team in 2004.

Football coach David Bowser was was named interim athletic director.