TAMPA, Fla. -- More than 20 years after an ugly breakup,
Doug Williams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back together.
The former Super Bowl MVP is quitting his job as Grambling
State's football coach to work in the Bucs' front office as a
personnel executive with duties that include evaluating pro players
and assisting in recruitment of free agents.
"Getting out of the coaching element wasn't as hard as walking
away from Grambling. Grambling is always going to be right there
for me," Williams said, pointing to his heart.
"I think when you get an opportunity like I have here ... it
makes it a little easier. At the same time, Grambling has been good
for me, and I hope I've been good for Grambling. We still have to
Williams said he had not spoken to most of his former players,
but planned to do so when he returned to Louisiana. He'll clean out
his office and return to the Bucs in time to attend next week's NFL
scouting combine in Indianapolis.
"We believe that some of the greatest assets of the league have
been underutilized," Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said,
explaining the decision to pursue Williams, who led the Redskins to
the 1988 Super Bowl title.
"Doug has been successful at every level of football he has
been involved in, and we think he'll help us become a better
team," Allen said.
Williams leaves his alma mater with a 52-18 record in six
"It's a big shock, a huge shock," Grambling State spokesman
Peter Forest said. "This is a huge loss to Grambling, no
Williams played for the Bucs from 1978-82 before a bitter
contract dispute with former team owner Hugh Culverhouse led the
quarterback to sign with the USFL's Oklahoma Outlaws.
He led Tampa Bay to the playoffs three times, including a loss
to the Los Angeles Rams in the 1979 NFC championship game. After he
left, the franchise didn't post another winning record until 1997.
"What he accomplished here in Tampa was truly remarkable when
you look at what happened here before his arrival and what happened
after he left," Allen said. "I was in the USFL and remember how
happy we were to get a player like Doug Williams."
Williams joined the Redskins in 1986 and led them to a 42-10
rout of the Denver Broncos in the 1988 Super Bowl. He is the only
black quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
A back injury forced his retirement in 1989.
Williams became the second football coach in Grambling State
history, replacing Eddie Robinson in 1997. Before that, he was a
head coach at Morehouse, and his overall record is 55-26.
He also worked as a scout for the Jacksonville Jaguars and
coached at Zachary, La., Northeast High School and Navy.
Bucs coach Jon Gruden approached Williams at last month's Senior
Bowl. Williams was interested but didn't want to discuss anything
in depth until after the college football recruiting period ended
"I've always been one to say that if you have a job you take
care of the job you have, and then if something else comes up you
listen. That's what happened here," Williams said. "I had a job
at Grambling. At the same time, I don't think it would be fair to
me to close the door when I had a chance to talk to Bruce."
Growing up in Tampa as the son of a Bucs assistant, Gruden
idolized Williams. He played catch with the quarterback on the
sidelines before games and was devastated when Williams left for
"I never saw a guy have command of an NFL team the way he did.
... Guys looked to him for results," Gruden said.
Williams harbored bad feelings about his departure from Tampa
Bay until after Culverhouse died and the team was sold to current
owner Malcolm Glazer, who hired Tony Dungy as coach in 1996.
When Gruden replaced Dungy in 2002, he invited Williams and
other former players back to Tampa for a reunion the ex-quarterback
felt was long overdue. Three of Williams' former teammates --
Richard Wood, Jimmie Giles and Parnell Dickinson -- attended
Thursday's press conference.
"That's behind us. We're going to leave that part alone, and
we're going to deal with what we have to deal with now," said
He actually was asked if he had a hex placed on the team because
he was so upset about the way the team treated him.
"Let me ask you a question," he deadpanned. "When I left, how
many games did they win? If I had put a curse on them, I can
promise you that they wouldn't have won any."