Jan. 7, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Tom Williams, a defensive assistant for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars who also has 11 seasons of college coaching experience, has been named the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football at Yale. Williams becomes the 33rd coach in the illustrious history of Yale Football.
"I am thrilled for this tremendous opportunity to be the head football coach at such a historic and fabled institution. I would like to thank President Levin, Tom Beckett and all of the people involved in this process for their time and efforts. I am dedicated to bringing an exciting brand of football that the Yale players and fan base will both embrace and enjoy," said Williams, who will be only the third Yale head coach in the last 44 years.
Williams, 39, takes over a Yale program that was the first in all of the sport to win 800 games. The Bulldogs currently have 853 victories, which ranks second among Division I schools. He replaces Jack Siedlecki, who retired in late November after 12 seasons and a 70-49 record as head coach.
Williams recently completed his first season as defensive assistant and second season with the Jaguars. He joined the team in 2007 as assistant special teams coach after spending the previous 11 seasons as an assistant coach on the collegiate level.
Williams served as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at San Jose State for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He engineered a Spartans defense that decreased its points allowed by 21.8 from 2004 to 2006. Three of his linebackers finished among the WAC's top-10 tacklers in 2005, while SJSU won nine games in 2006, including a victory in the New Mexico Bowl.
Williams spent three seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Stanford (2002-04). He coached linebackers, served as the co-defensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003 and was the associate head coach in 2004. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Stanford in 1993 under Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Walsh while earning a master's in university administration (1995).
"This is the start of an exciting era for the Yale Football Program," said Tom Beckett, Yale's Director of Athletics, who was an associate AD at Stanford when Williams was a student. "Tom impressed me as a student-athlete at Stanford and has made a lasting impression on many collegiate and pro players since then. He is a great fit for this job."
In addition, Williams spent three (1996-98) seasons at Hawaii, including one as defensive coordinator. He also served as linebackers coach at the University of Washington from 1999-2001 and helped the Huskies to three consecutive bowl games, including a 2001 Rose Bowl win. That capped an 11-1 season and earned the team a No. 3 national ranking.
"Tom has extensive experience as a coordinator on the college level, and that along with the knowledge he gained in the NFL will serve him well as a head coach. He has shown strong leadership qualities and is a very good communicator. I'm happy for Tom; this is a great opportunity for him. I wish Tom and the Yale team great success," said Jack Del Rio, the head coach of the Jaguars.
Williams, who has been involved in six different Bowl Games, graduated from Stanford in 1992 with honors as a history major and as a Rhodes Scholar candidate. As a junior and senior, Williams started 15 games at linebacker for the Cardinal. In his final season (1992), he was a team captain on a Stanford club that went 10-3, won a share of the Pac-10 championship, beat Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl and finished No. 9 in the national polls. He was a District 8 Academic All-American and first team Academic All-Pac 10 after his junior and senior seasons and was an honorable mention All Pac-10 selection as a senior.
Williams, who was on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad in 1993 before getting into coaching, attended Trinity Valley College Prep in Forth Worth, Texas, where he earned all-state honors in football, basketball and baseball.
He is the first African American Yale head football coach and the second ever in the Ivy League.
Williams and his wife, Tonya, have four children, Grace, Tre, Ana and Lauren.
- Complete Tom Williams Information Page
- Tom Williams Press Conference Photo Gallery
- Tom Williams Playing and Coaching Career Photo Gallery
- Press Conference Video: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
THE WILLIAMS FILE
Full Name: Tom Williams
Date of Birth: December 22, 1969
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
High School: Trinity Valley College Prep
College: Stanford, 1992 (B.A., History)
Graduate Degree: Stanford, 1995 (M.A., University Administration)
Children: Grace, Tre, Ana, Lauren
Playing Experience: ILB, Stanford, 1989-92; LB San Francisco 49ers, 1993
Head Coaches Played For: Jack Elway, Dennis Green, Bill Walsh
Head Coaches Worked Under: Bill Walsh (Stanford), Tyrone Willingham (Stanford), Fred vonAppen (Hawaii), Rick Neuheisel (Washington), Buddy Teevens (Stanford), Dick Tomey (San Jose State), Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville)
THE WILLIAMS TIMELINE
1989-92 Attended Stanford - a 1992 team captain, Honorable Mention All-Pac10 Linebacker
1993 Signed Free Agent Contract With SF 49ers
1993-94 Graduate Assistant at Stanford
1995 Fujitsu, Japan (Defensive Coordinator)
1996-98 Assistant at Hawaii (Linebackers, Defensive Coordinator)
1999-01 Assistant at Washington (Inside Linebackers) - 3 Bowl appearances, including 2000 Rose Bowl win
2002-03 Assistant at Stanford (Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers)
2004 Associate Head Coach at Stanford
2005-06 Assistant at San Jose State (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers) - 2006 New Mexico Bowl win
2007-08 Assistant with Jacksonville Jaguars (Defense, Special Teams)