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‘Pooh Bear’ Williams, FSU football fan favorite, dies in car crash

The former fullback, a member of the 1993 national-title team, is killed Thursday morning near his hometown of Crescent City.
Florida State running back "Pooh Bear" Williams scores the eventual winning TD in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 win over No. 1 Florida in 1996.
Florida State running back "Pooh Bear" Williams scores the eventual winning TD in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 win over No. 1 Florida in 1996. [ CLIFF MCBRIDE | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Feb. 19|Updated Feb. 19

Former Florida State fullback Clarence “Pooh Bear” Williams died in a car crash Thursday morning near his hometown of Crescent City.

He was 47.

Williams was part of the FSU program from 1993-96 and quickly grew into a fan favorite. He was a part of Seminoles teams that combined to go 43-5 with four ACC championships while claiming a consensus national championship in 1993. He missed the 1994 season after a knee injury and finished his college career with 472 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 109 carries in 31 appearances.

He would briefly play in the NFL with Buffalo in 1998.

Williams returned home to Crescent City, located northwest of Daytona Beach, serving as head coach at Crescent City High for a time. He recently returned to coaching, working as defensive backs coach at Palatka High in 2021. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, he was set to take over as defensive coordinator.

Quintin Lewis had just started teaching and coaching at Crescent City when he first met Williams. They immediately became close friends, so much so that Lewis — Tallahassee Rickards High’s veteran coach — described Williams to the Democrat as “a brother from another mother.”

“This is so tough,” said Lewis, hired at Rickards in 2012 from Crescent City. “He was such a tremendous person and a pillar in that community. Those kids looked up to him. And he was so good to me and encouraged me when I got into coaching. He was just finding that niche in what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.”

Williams, known for his infectious smile, lovable nickname and large physique, was divorced with three children, according to Lewis. The player nicknamed “Pooh Bear” by his grandmother rushed for 5,090 yards at Crescent City — seventh best in Florida high school history at the time — and “always had a smile on his face and was a heck of a fullback,” former FSU running backs coach Billy Sexton told the Democrat.

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