Columbus State announced Friday morning that athletic director Jay Sparks is leaving the program for the women's basketball coaching job at Francis Marion near Florence, S.C.
Sparks was the athletic director at CSU for six years.
Columbus State has named Johnny Williams as the interim athletic director. Williams was a former athletics director at Troy University and former University of Alabama senior associate athletic director for external operations.
“We are very thankful for Jay’s service as a coach, administrator and friend to this university,” said Columbus State University President Tim Mescon in the news release. “We wish him the best in the future, as we look forward to working with Johnny Williams and starting a national search to begin the next phase of our athletics program history.”
Sparks has spent 25 years at CSU.
Over his 20-year stint as the coach of the Lady Cougars, Columbus State was 367-231. He was named the university's athletic director in April 2008 after spending nine years as the top assistant to former athletic director Herbert Greene.
“I am very proud of everything that we accomplished here at Columbus State from the moment I stepped foot on this campus,” Sparks said in the release. “Whether I was the athletic director or the head women’s basketball coach, I think we found success in many different areas, and I want to again thank everyone who contributed to that.
“I would first like to thank everyone at Columbus State for supporting me over my tenure here,” Sparks said. “I will miss Columbus State and the Columbus area, especially all of the great friends in this wonderful community.
“Coaching is my passion and I have missed the highs and lows that it brings and the daily impact that I can make in lives of the student-athletes.”