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Career flourishes despite setbacks

In six seasons as Grambling State coach Williams was 52-18 and won three consecutive SWAC titles.

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 13, 2004

The road back
Where Doug Williams has been in the years since he last wore a Bucs uniform
in 1982:
[Times photo: Bill Serne]
1984-85: Quarterback, USFL's Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws.
1986-89: Quarterback, Washington Redskins
1991-93: High school coach in Louisiana
1994: Running backs coach, Navy
1995: Offensive coordinator, World League's Scottish Claymores
1995-96: Scout, Jacksonville Jaguars
1997: Head coach, Morehouse College
1998-2003: Head coach, Grambling State University

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HIGH SCHOOL, 1970-74: Williams attended Chaneyville High in Zachary, La., and became a star quarterback. During his senior season in 1973, Williams was recruited by Grambling State's Eddie Robinson, coach of one of the most successful black college programs.

GRAMBLING STATE, 1974-77: Williams began his freshman season as a backup, but started the fifth game of the season and led the Tigers to a 21-7 victory against Tennessee State. Williams started every game he played during a spectacular career. Passing for more than 8,000 yards with 93 touchdowns, Williams led Grambling to three National Black College Championships and two Southwestern Athletic Conference titles with a 36-7 record as a starter. As a senior, Williams earned SWAC player of the year, All-America honors and finished fourth in voting for the 1977 Heisman Trophy behind Texas running back Earl Campbell.

TAMPA BAY BUCS, 1978-82: Williams was selected in the first round of the NFL draft - the 17th overall selection - by the Buccaneers. As the starting quarterback for five seasons, Williams led the Bucs to their first three playoff appearances (1979, '81 and '82), including the 1979 NFC Championship Game in the franchise's fourth year. Williams guided Tampa Bay to winning records in 1979, '81 and '82, the team's only winning seasons until 1997. Williams also led Tampa Bay to its first NFC Central title in 1981.

Williams, who started 67 games for the Bucs, was team MVP in 1980 and '81. He still ranks among team leaders in several major passing categories: second in touchdown passes (73), third in passing yards (12,648), third in pass attempts (1,890) and fourth in completions (895).

After the 1982 season, Williams became embroiled in a contract dispute with owner Hugh Culverhouse. In April 1983, his wife, Janice, died of a brain tumor when their daughter was an infant. Williams' first tenure with the Bucs was drawing to a painful close.

USFL OUTLAWS, 1983-85: Unable to resolve his contract dispute with the Bucs, Williams played two seasons for the Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws of the USFL. An expansion team, the Outlaws shot out to a 6-2 start in 1984 but finished with 10 straight losses to miss the playoffs. He ended the season on the sideline with a knee injury. After merging with another team, the franchise moved to Arizona in 1985 and, though Williams played well, the team failed to make the playoffs in the league's final season.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS, 1986-89: Williams returned to the NFL when Tampa Bay traded his NFL rights to the Redskins for a 1987 fifth-round draft pick, which was used on safety Tony Mayes, who never saw action in a Bucs uniform. Williams was a backup, attempting one pass in 1986. But late in the '87 season, he replaced an erratic Jay Schroeder and eventually led the Redskins to a 42-10 victory against Denver in Super Bowl XXII. The first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, Williams was named MVP, throwing for 340 yards and four touchdowns, both Super Bowl records at the time. Bothered by a back injury, Williams ended his playing career after the 1989 season with the Redskins.

STARTING OVER, 1991-97: His playing days over, Williams embarked on the next phase of his career by going back to the beginning as a high school football coach. In 1991, he was coach and athletic director at Point Coupee High School in New Roads, La. In 1993, he was coach at Northeast High in his hometown of Zachary, La., where he guided the team to a 13-1 record and the state semifinals. Just as he had done years before as a player, Williams rose through the ranks. In 1994, he coached running backs at Navy. In 1995, he was offensive coordinator for the Scottish Claymores of the World League. Later that year, he joined Tom Coughlin's staff as a scout for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 1997, he coached Morehouse College to a 3-8 record.

GRAMBLING - PART 2, 1998-2003: History was made when Williams returned to his alma mater to take over for retired legend Robinson, becoming just the second coach in school history. In addition to expertise and experience, Williams brought energy and renewed respect to the program. In six seasons under Williams the Tigers were 52-18 and won three consecutive National Black College and Southwestern Athletic Conference championships from 2000-02. Williams was honored as SWAC coach of the year each of those seasons and Street and Smith's black college coach of the year in 2000. He also was a two-time finalist for the Sports Network Eddie Robinson (Division I-AA) national coach of the year.

MAKING AMENDS, 1999-2002: Despite his popularity in Tampa Bay, Williams was estranged from the Bucs until 1997, when then-coach Tony Dungy invited him to be a sideline guest at Raymond James Stadium. On Dec. 6, 1999, Williams was among several members of the 1979 team introduced before a game against the Vikings. When coach Jon Gruden took over in 2001, he organized a reunion of former Bucs. At Gruden's request, Williams addressed the team in 2002 and was a big fan by the time Tampa Bay beat the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

BUCS - PART 2, 2004: On Thursday, Williams came full circle when he was introduced as a Bucs personnel executive in what surely will be a popular move within the Tampa Bay community. Williams will work with general manager Bruce Allen and Gruden, hoping to remake Tampa Bay into a Super Bowl contender.

- Compiled by Joanne Korth.

[Last modified February 13, 2004, 07:22:41]

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