T.J. Williams was a two-time NCAA champion, and a three-time All-American at the University of Iowa. He won NCAA titles as a sophomore at 149 pounds in 1999 and as a senior at 157 pounds while finishing third at 157 pounds as a junior. Williams was also a three-time Big Ten champion, and a finalist at the 1997 junior college national tournament for Lassen College. He holds the Hawkeye record for career winning percentage of .099 after finishing with a career record of 98-1. Williams was a four-time state wrestling champion for Mount Carmel High School in Chicago.