James Williams was born and raised in Philadelphia. He lived in the middle class neighborhood of Cedarbrook, with his parents and maternal grandmother. His father, James Williams Sr., worked as an UAW shop steward for Budd Company. His mother, Jane Williams, worked for IBM and the Tribune newspaper. Both parents worked hard to make sure he received a quality education. He attended St. Raymond School during his elementary school years. He went on to attend Bishop McDevitt High School. He graduated from Cabrini College with a Bachelor’s degree in History.
After graduation he decided to follow in the footsteps of his coach and mentor, Tom O’Hora, and become a coach. Over the past 15 years, Williams has coached on the collegiate level at some of the finest schools in Pennsylvania. The list includes Gwynedd Mercy University, West Chester University, Cabrini College, and Cheyney University.
His first coaching job was Gwynedd Mercy University. He produced his first conference champion. During his stint as head coach at West Chester University, he produced five PSAC Champions and 15 of his student-athletes went on to earn All-PSAC honors. He also was in charge of the 10 week summer sports camp, which grossed over $600,000 annually.
When he returned to his alma mater, Cabrini College, he churned out 20 All-Americans, 60 All-ECAC and 10 ECAC Champions. Williams has been honored on several occasions for his excellence: USTFCCCA Mid-East Region Women Coach of the Year, 2004 & 2008, 2008 ECAC Indoor Women Coach of the Year, and Mid-East Region Rep 2005-2009. At the same time, Williams was working as a full time TSS worker in the Philadelphia inner city public schools. There, he worked one-on-one with youths who required mental health services.
He served a stint as head coach at the HBCU Cheyney University. In addition, he was the president and a delegate of Cheyney’s chapter of the APSCUF Coaches Union. To give others a glimpse into his successful coaching methods, he’s spoke on two occasions at the Annual US All-Star Track and Field Clinic in Atlantic City, NJ.
In the 2014 elections, Williams served as the Campaign Manager for Armond James, who was endorsed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2015, James Williams was endorsed by the Philadelphia Daily News when he ran for Philadelphia City Council, but lost in the Republican Primary. He briefly worked in the Office of City Councilman David Oh, following his City Council At-Large lost.
Williams, resides in the Cedarbrook section of Philadelphia, and is the Republican Ward Leader in Philadelphia’s 50th Ward.