Frustration forced Williams from Grambling

Updated: February 26, 2004, 5:34 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- In the end, the frustration Doug Williams felt at Grambling overcame the love he had for his alma mater.

Williams, who once called his job as the Grambling football coach a dream come true, said that exasperation over the school's inability to deal with the program's needs made him receptive to a job offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

There was never any action on things I asked for. Nobody but me seemed to want to get things done.
Doug Williams

"Sometimes you just have to be ready to change," Williams said. "This is a great opportunity for me. I'll always love Grambling, but it was time for a change."

Williams left Grambling earlier this month for a Buccaneers' front office job as a personnel executive with duties that include evaluating pro players and assisting in recruitment of free agents.

The challenge of dealing with problems ranging from the lack of a second practice field to lack of maintenance marked Williams' tenure at Grambling as much as the turnaround he made in the program.

"I just felt like I couldn't get things done that needed to be done," Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press. "There was never any action on things I asked for. Nobody but me seemed to want to get things done."

Williams drew up a list of needs for the football program, ranging from things as ordinary as care-taking duties to adding another coach. He presented it to athletic director Al Dennis, he said, but never got a response.

After the proposal went unanswered for 20 days, Williams talked to Tampa Bay about a job back in the NFL.

"It ranged from very simple things like making sure the fields were kept up and taking care of the front of our building, to adding a seventh coach," Williams said. "Since I've been there we've been a coach short. I wanted another assistant the same as everybody else has."

Williams' memorandum requested several things, although not a raise for him. In it he asked for the additional full-time coach at a salary ranging from $30,000-$35,000; and a part-time coach or two graduate assistants.

Williams also wanted additional money to maintain the football field, practice field and support facilities and for medical and office supplies, and another weight room for non-football athletes.

"I suggested we get 20 percent of the money that comes from all these football classics we play," Williams said.

Grambling plays two to three games staged away from the campus stadium that draw huge crowds. The biggest is the Bayou Classic, played in the Superdome against Southern University, which draws almost 80,000 fans.

"They bring in big money for the school," Williams said. "I felt like some of that should go to the football program. Not all of it, just some of it."

Grambling athletic director Al Dennis did not return numerous calls, but The News-Star of Monroe reported earlier that Dennis had Williams' proposal, but had not given Williams a definitive answer.

Williams took over after Grambling struggled through losing seasons in each of longtime coach Eddie Robinson's final four years.

Williams, who played for Robinson before a successful pro career, went 52-18 as Grambling in the six seasons after Robinson retired and won three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships to go with the 17 won under Robinson.

"I'm going to always love Grambling," Williams said. "I had just reached the point that I needed some things done. I needed some assurances. I didn't get them, so I decided to go onto something else."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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