OC Scholar-Athlete McWilliams prepares for ministry

Former OC cross country and track standout David McWilliams is headed to divinity school at Emory University.
Former OC cross country and track standout David McWilliams is headed to divinity school at Emory University.

By Callie White
OKLAHOMA CITY (July 10, 2013) – Recent Oklahoma Christian graduate and track and cross country headliner David McWilliams carries an enviable résumé into the next phase of his life.

A star both in the classroom and in sports, McWilliams took on an important role in helping his team win a pair of national championships, in 2011 in the NAIA and in 2012 in the National Christian College Athletic Association.

He earned All-America honors six times in track and cross country during his career, as well as a spot on the prestigious Capital One Academic All-America first-team list after his junior and senior years. He earned Scholar-Athlete honors five times from either the NCCAA or NAIA.

Putting the final touches on his career at OC, McWilliams also received the Mr. Eagle award, the university’s most esteemed athletic prize, sharing the honor with Devan White of the men’s basketball team. The honor is awarded to a student-athlete who achieves far-reaching success in a sport while exemplifying the ideals and foundations of an OC student.

“I was overjoyed to win the Mr. Eagle award, but the greatest part of winning was not the personal glory, which is fleeting, but the testimony to the working of Christ in me, the teaching of my coaches to me and the blessings that my parents have provided in my upbringing,” McWilliams said.

“Receiving the award depended on my teammates, my coaches, my professors, my family and most of all, my God. And so I rejoice in the moment, knowing that all of them are rejoicing with me.”

According to Curtis Janz, OC’s athletic director, McWilliams’ humility is yet another reason for the runner’s success as an athlete.

"David was an ideal Oklahoma Christian student-athlete,” Janz said. “He was highly competitive athletically, outstanding academically and a leader spiritually. He was an example for all student-athletes at OC.”

Although he received his bachelor’s degree in April, McWilliams’ education hasn’t ended. The Bible major carried a perfect 4.0 grade-point average throughout his OC career and earned a full scholarship to attend Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, where he will work toward his ultimate goal of a master’s degree in divinity.

Eventually, he would like to have a career in ministry.

While McWilliams is entering into a new chapter in life, he will not be giving up running just yet. As his collegiate career now fades into the rear-view mirror, he is allowing his body a month of rest and recovery, but that is about as long as he can stand.

“There are several famous races that I plan to compete in while I am at the top of my running career,” McWilliams said.  “The Peachtree 10K in Atlanta and the Boston Marathon are two I’ll run.”

However, his athleticism does not begin and end with running. McWilliams was a multi-sport athlete in high school and looks to gradually return to form as a swimmer and compete in triathlons in the future. 

“While triathlons offer a new experience, running will remain my primary activity, so long as the Lord continues to be gracious to my health,” McWilliams said.

McWilliams credits a lot of his success and future successes to lessons learned and instilled in him in his time at OC.

“Being an OC athlete taught me to seize every opportunity,” McWilliams said.  “After a poor performance and a discussion with coach Miller, I made a note, which I still have today, that says whether God willed it or not, I should react knowing that He’s still in control.” 

Although McWilliams is excited and grateful for the next journey, leaving OC will not come easy.

“OC has prepared me greatly; leaving the people will never be easy,” he said. “The relationships I’ve built with my professors, coaches and friends will forever remind me that faith is not an individual endeavor, but a community commitment.”