TAMPA, Fla. -- Doug Williams will be staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite the best efforts of Louisiana higher education officials to keep him as head football coach of Grambling.
According to the Wednesday edition of the St. Petersburg Times, Williams would be joining the Bucs' contingent later in the day at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Louisiana officials met Tuesday with Williams' new boss, Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen, and were told that their effort to get the Bucs to release Williams from his contract was going nowhere.
"We met with Mr. Allen for about an hour today," Sally Clausen, president of the University of Louisiana System, said via a news release Tuesday. "After allowing us to make our case, he informed us that the Buccaneers would not allow Coach Williams to reconsider his decision to leave Grambling."
Clausen, UL System board chairman Mike Woods, board members Andre Coudrain and Walter Rhodes, and state representative Rick Gallot traveled to Tampa for a meeting with Allen, said Catherine Heitman, spokeswoman for the UL System, which governs Grambling and seven other Louisiana universities.
Williams resigned as Grambling's coach last week to take an executive personnel job in Tampa Bay. Williams had not indicated he wanted to change his mind about moving to the Buccaneers, Heitman said. Williams did not oppose the group's meeting with the team, however.
In fact, according to the Times, Williams told Clausen that he would stay at Grambling if the Bucs would allow him out of his contract. Williams had denied an ESPN.com report on ESPN.com over the weekend that he decided to remain at Grambling.
"I had a phone conversation with Doug after the fact," Clausen told the Times. "I was upset. I asked, "Can I unring this bell in any way?' He said, "Doc, I don't think so. It's already a done deal.' He said he was pretty emotional about it "now that I have met with my team.'
"I asked him if I could go down and talk to the Bucs and see if we could "get you out of the contract.' He said, "You'd do that for me?' I told him, "I'd do that for you and Grambling.' He said, "Well, you've got my permission to do that. If they give you permission to get me released, I'll stay at Grambling.' "
After the meeting Tuesday, Allen said in a statement, "We talked about what a great person and asset Doug Williams is, and I believe all of them have left here as Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans. We wish only the best for the great Grambling State University in their search for a new head coach."
The system is in the midst of a search for a new president for
Grambling, Heitman said. Keeping Williams as the school coach would
add prestige and help in that search, she said.
"This is a pivotal time for Grambling, with the search for a
new president under way," Clausen said. "As Grambling's management
board, it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to
support the next president and build a successful future for the
university. We saw this trip as part of that effort."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.