GRAND MARSHALL


Doug Williams
Grambling State Football Coach

Doug Williams
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 Championships.

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 7-4.

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 standard."

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 (4).

 



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