Sep 12, 2022 | Featured , Athletics

Columbia State Announces Willingham as Director of Athletics

(left to right) Cissy Holt, Katie Willingham, and Dr. Janet F. Smith
Pictured (left to right): Cissy Holt, Columbia State vice president for student affairs; Katie Willingham, Columbia State director of athletics; and Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Sept. 12, 2022) - - - Columbia State Community College announced Katie Willingham as the new director of athletics on Monday following previous director of athletics Johnny Littrell’s retirement at the end of August.

“First, I would like to thank President Smith, Vice President of Student Services Cissy Holt, and the search committee for this opportunity,” said Willingham. “It's been a goal of mine since college to become an athletic director and I am excited that I get to achieve that goal at Columbia State. I am looking forward to working with our staff to continue building on the strong foundation that we have in Charger athletics."

“I am pleased that Ms. Willingham accepted this important role for the continued development of our athletic program,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “She has the talents, skills and ability to continue building our program for the success of our athletes, both on and off the court or field. We are excited about the possibilities as we begin a new athletic season.”

Willingham graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with recreation emphasis from Lee University. She went on to serve as the head softball coach, assistant softball coach, coordinator of student activities and assistant athletic director at Cleveland State Community College. She has a history with Columbia State as well, previously holding the positions of assistant coach of softball and soccer, student affairs associate and college success advisor.

In addition, Willingham currently serves as the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association/National Junior College Athletic Association Region 7 assistant women's director, on the NJCAA Division 1 softball committee and on the NJCAA beach volleyball committee. She has also had success in coaching while on the coaching staff of the Columbia State soccer team during the 2019 and 2020 conference championship seasons, as well as led the 2018 Cleveland State softball team to the Region 7 championship where they finished as runners-up.

“We are so excited to have Katie leading Columbia State athletics,” said Cissy Holt, Columbia State vice president for student affairs. “She brings so much knowledge and experience as both a collegiate athlete, coach and community college employee. We look forward to the future of Columbia State athletics.”

For more information on Columbia State Athletics, visit