Grambling State Football Coach
Grambling State Football Coach
Grambling State University's Doug Williams has completed
four seasons as "Head Tiger" and his golden
touch has dramatically returned the magic to the renowned
Kings of Black College Football.
History was made in December of 1997 when Williams returned
to his alma mater to take over for retired legend Eddie
G. Robinson as the first new head coach at Grambling for
more than 50 years. History was made again in 2000 and
2001 as Williams guided the Tigers to "Back-2-Back"
Southwestern Athletic Conference and National Black College
Williams was a natural for the position, having been the
most prolific quarterback in GSU history combined with
an outstanding professional career. Williams brought a
new sense of youth, vitality, intelligence and determination
to the Grambling football program.
But Williams also brought several intangibles to the GSU
football program, including his vast football knowledge
built by a wealth of experience and a love for Grambling
that is unmatched by anyone, anywhere.
Williams' impact on the GSU football program was immediate
as the Tigers went from a 3-8 record in 1997 to a 5-6
mark in Williams' first season as head coach. His second
season saw even more success as the Tigers finished at
His third season as head coach proved to be the charm
as Williams guided the Tigers to a 10-2 record their first
Southwestern Athletic title since sharing the honor with
Alcorn in 1994 and first outright title since 1989. The
Tigers were also named National Champions in the NCAA
Division I Black College Football Poll.
Things didn't slow down in season four as Grambling again
captured the SWAC and NCAA Division I Black College football
championships and this time also added a Sheridan Black
College National Championship as Williams again reaped
in conference and national coaching honors.
Growing up as a young boy in the 1960s, Williams could
only dream of the day he'd get the chance to play in the
NFL, let alone quarterback a team to a world championship
and earn MVP honors. It was a day and age when black men
and women gave up much just to achieve basic equality,
and imagining a black man as a leader of champions was
only a dream in the winds of greats like Martin Luther
King Jr. But Williams would end up turning that dream
into his life's story.
Williams attended Cheneyville High School in Zachary,
La., in the early 1970s and became a star quarterback
for the football team. He was recruited out of high school
by Robinson, who was coaching one of the most successful
black college football programs at the time at Grambling.
After riding the bench early on during his freshman year
at Grambling, Williams finally got his chance to start,
and wasted no time in leading Grambling to victory. The
Tigers were Williams' team from that point on as the freshman
went on to start every game he played for GSU. In his
senior season of 1977, Williams' passing statistics were
staggering, vaulting him to a fourth-place finish in the
Heisman Trophy race behind Texas running back Earl Campbell.
That spectacular college career earned Williams plenty
of attention from NFL scouts, and the changing times saw
Williams selected in the first round of the 1978 NFL draft
by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Williams turned in a strong career at Tampa Bay before
the fledging United States Football League gave the young
signal-caller the respect he deserved for so long. The
Oklahoma Outlaws signed Williams to a lucrative contract
and showed a resounding vote of confidence in Williams
as a true team leader. Williams quarterbacked the Outlaws
into first place before a knee injury sidelined him halfway
through that initial USFL season. He played a second season
with the Outlaws until the USFL suddenly folded in 1985.
In 1986, Tampa Bay traded the NFL rights to Williams to
the Washington Redskins, and a year later Williams shared
that team's starting quarterback role with Jay Schroeder.
But it was Williams who shined in the postseason, leading
the Redskins through the playoffs and to a 42-10 Super
Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos. The first black
quarterback to play in the Super Bowl, Williams made the
most of a monumental opportunity, shattering Super Bowl
passing records and being named the game's MVP.
"He was probably one of the most talented people
I've ever seen," former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs
said. "Even when he was young he was a natural leader."
Two years later nagging injuries forced Williams off the
playing field, but he refused to give up the game he loves.
He went on to coach at Northeast High School (Zachary,
La., where he compiled a 13-1 record. Williams later
coached at the U.S. Naval Academy and for the Scottish
Claymores of the World Football League as well as serving
as a scout for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. Williams
also spent a season as head coach at Atlanta's Morehouse
College before taking over the GSU football program.
Part of what has made Williams such a strong coach is
his understanding that performance on the field is not
the only factor in becoming a great player.
"It starts at the top," Williams said. "The
main mission is to build leaders. And when you start with
Martin Luther King, Jr., you're setting a pretty high
Williams and new wife Dr. Lisa Judge are the parents of
Ashley (19 and a sophomore softball player at GSU), Adrian
(15), Douglas III (D. J. - 9), Jasmine (8) and Russell