Williams returns to Grambling relishing chance to coach son, laments 'good 'ol boy' network in NFL front offices
Doug Williams is excited about returning for a second stint as coach at Grambling State, where his son, D.J., just enrolled as a freshman quarterback.
But after serving for six seasons in the Bucs’ scouting department, he believes the ‘good ol’ boy fraternity,’ still limits front office opportunities for minorities in the NFL.
"I was (at Grambling State) six years, I left and was gone for six years, and now I get a chance to go back,'' Williams said. "Things happen for a reason. How many dads get a chance to go and do what I can do? I got to play there, coach there, leave, go back and coach my son there.
"I left Tampa Bay in '82 and good things happened. When you do right by people, they don't mind having you back.''
Williams, a first round pick by the Bucs from Grambling State in 1978 and the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XXII for the Washington Redskins, succeeded legendary coach Eddie Robinson and won Southwestern Athletic Conference titles in 2000 and 2001.
He returned to the Bucs in 2004 as a front office executive and was promoted to pro scouting director when he left the organization last May.
Williams had been working as the general manager of the UFL's Virginia Destroyers. The opportunity to return to Grambling State became possible when coach Ron Broadway left the program for North Carolina A&T.
"I had a lot of allumni calling and me and the president got to talk over the weekend and came to kind of an agreement,'' Williams said. "D.J. just signed up there for the spring semester. It's rare you get a chance to coach your son and I'm looking forward to going back. The other thing that's good about it is I won’t have to put up with a lot of the B.S.''
When he left Grambling State the first time, Williams aspired to become the general manager of an NFL team. But there are only eight minority coaches and five minority general managers in a 32-team league where 78 percent of the players are African American.
"The good ol' boy network is alive and well,'' Williams said. "But it's changed from the good ol' boy network to the fraternity. I always find a way to overcome and just keep going forward.
"I look at it this way, you've got guys sitting in the front office that never coached. I just didn’t coach college, I coached high school. If you've got the patience and time to coach high school, you can do other jobs. There are guys who learned the (football) language and never got their hands dirty, per se. They can’t go back and get their hands dirty again.
"I'm not frustrated at all. When I left the (NFL) the first time, things happened for me.''
Williams indicated he didn't feel like he had a very big voice in the Bucs' front office decisions during his six-year tenure in Tampa Bay.
"People in other offices have a chance to get their ear,'' Williams said. "The guys like me don’t get their ear. Other folks can tell them something because that’s what they want to hear. You know me, I've always been one to say what I thought as right and not everybody can deal with what's right.''
Williams said coach Raheem Morris convinced Bucs owners and the front office to draft Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. Morris was on the Wildcats coaching staff in 2006 when Freeman was a freshman.
"I laugh, when I hear them talk about (quarterback) Josh Freeman,'' Williams said. "I know they wanted (Jets quarterback) Mark Sanchez. I sat right there while they were talking about trading up and getting Sanchez and all these different scenarios. (Bucs coach) Raheem Morris was the strongest guy (pushing Freeman) in there. I remember the owners asking me which quarterback I liked. I said, "If you want someone to play right now, take Sanchez. But I think ove the long haul, Josh is going to be better,' and I think he's proven that. Raheem had the strongest conviction because he had been around the kid (at Kansas State).''
As for returning to the sidelines, Williams is confident he can build a winner again.
"I don't think a lot has changed,'' Williams siad. "I know what to expect from Grambling and that hasn’t changed. They expect to win and and I’ve always been about winning. I don't look at this as a challenge I’m afraid of.''
D.J. Williams played quarterback at Tampa Catholic and Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy. Williams says he's excited to coach his son.
"I’m not looking to play him this year,'' Williams said. "He needs a little work. He needs to get bigger. He's long, 6-4, 190-pounds, a little bigger than Josh Johnson.
"I asked him could he handle it, he told me yes. That’s all I've got to know. A man’s word is his bond.''