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Doug Williams returns to Grambling, laments "good ol' boy fraternity" in NFL front offices

Former Bucs quarterback and scouting director Doug Williams is heading back to his former coaching gig at Grambling State, where he’ll be coaching his son.

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Former Bucs quarterback and scouting director Doug Williams is heading back to his former coaching gig at Grambling State, where he’ll be coaching his son.

TAMPA — 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 Monday. "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, 55, 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 scouting director before he left the organization in May. He had been working as the general manager of the UFL's Virginia Destroyers.

When he left Grambling State the first time, Williams aspired to become 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," he 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 Bucs owners and the front office had to be persuaded to select Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman in the first round of the 2009 draft by coach Raheem Morris, who was on the Wildcats' coaching staff in 2006. The Bucs traded up two spots to take Freeman at No. 17 overall. Georgia's Matthew Stafford was the first overall pick by the Lions, and the Jets took USC quarterback Mark Sanchez fifth overall.

"I laugh, when I hear them talk about Josh Freeman," Williams said. "I know they wanted Mark Sanchez. I sat right there while they were talking about trading up and getting Sanchez and all these different scenarios. Raheem was the strongest guy in there (pushing for Freeman). 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 over 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)."

Williams' 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 alumni 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 (nonsense)."

As for returning to the sideline, Williams is confident he can build a winner again.

"I don't think a lot has changed," Williams said. "I know what to expect from Grambling, and that hasn't changed. They expect to win, 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."

Doug Williams returns to Grambling, laments "good ol' boy fraternity" in NFL front offices 02/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 11:00pm]
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