Alumni Spotlight: Debbie Williams-Hoak
Debbie Williams-Hoak was recruited by Red Simmons and Bo Schembechler out of Ohio and came to the University of Michigan on Basketball and Track scholarships in 1979. She became Michigan's first Women's Track & Field Big Ten Champion, won 4 Big Ten titles in the Javelin and was named an All-American in 1982. Debbie qualified for 3 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials and competed in 6 U.S. Olympic Festivals, 5 in track and 1 in softball. She has just been selected for membership to the Ohio Association of Track & Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame, adding to a previous induction to the Michigan Women's Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Debbie served as the Assistant Women's Track coach at U-M for four years before pursuing a career in professional golf. She won 2 Michigan Amateur Championships, 1 Michigan Open Championship, was named Golf Association of Michigan Female Player of the Year in 1993, and played professionally competing on the LPGA and Futures Tours.
Currently, Debbie is a member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division, the Head Teaching Professional at Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor, a certified golf fitness instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute, and the head boys golf coach and assistant girls golf coach at Saline High School. While her accomplishments in sport are numerous, her proudest accomplishment has been giving underprivileged children the opportunity to experience the joy of Christmas and to help change the perception of the police in the eyes of children. As a child, Debbie experienced some tough holiday seasons, and she vowed that if she ever was fortunate to be in a position to help children this time of year, she was going to do it. And she has.
The Magic of Christmas Foundation was started in 1996, through a partnership with the Ann Arbor Police Department and supported by the University of Michigan Athletic Department, for children of Washtenaw County. The AAPD, now in cooperation with departments in Saline, Chelsea, and the Washtenaw County Sheriffs, are all involved.
Debbie said, "I have had many great things happen to me in my athletic career but the best thing to ever happen is this program. To know you are making a positive difference in the lives of children who are experiencing some tough times is a priceless and humbling experience."
As of this fall, and after six years of supporting the Letterwinners M Club as a member of the Board of Directors, Debbie has chosen to focus her efforts on the Magic of Christmas Foundation, her responsibilities as a golf instructor and coach, and her family. The M Club thanks Debbie for her life-long commitment to Michigan, and wishes her the very best. GO BLUE!