Jacksonville Jaguars defensive assistant Tom Williams has been selected as Yale’s 33rd head football coach, the News has learned.
Williams, 39, will become the first African-American head coach in history of Yale’s football program. The Athletics Department has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday to introduce him as the successor to Jack Siedlecki, who resigned in November after 12 seasons.
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Williams has never before been a head coach, but he has extensive experience in college football. Before spending the past two years with the Jaguars, Williams was an assistant for 11 years at Hawaii, Washington, Stanford and San Jose State.
At Stanford, his alma mater, Williams was co-defensive coordinator for two seasons and in 2004 was named associate head coach. The next season, he went to San Jose State, where he was co-defensive coordinator and helped lead the team to a 9-4 record and a win in the New Mexico Bowl in 2006.
Steve Conn, the director of Yale Sports Publicity, refused to confirm or deny that Williams has been selected as Siedlecki’s successor, though he said a press conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Ray Tompkins House to introduce the team’s next head coach.
The selection concludes a longer-than-expected search to lead one of college football’s most storied programs. UMass head coach Don Brown, Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore and now-University of Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio also interviewed for the position but decided to stay with their respective programs.
Williams’ selection was first reported Monday afternoon on the Web site of WTNH.
Williams, who played linebacker in college, was a captain of the 1992 Stanford team that went 10-3 and won a share of the Pac-10 title. An undrafted free agent, he spent the 1993 season on the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad but returned to Stanford the next year to earn a master’s degree in university administration. While there, he served as a graduate assistant under coaching legend Bill Walsh.
In 1996, Williams joined the coaching staff of the University of Hawaii, where he spent three seasons, including one as the Rainbow Warriors’ defensive coordinator. He then moved on to the University of Washington, where he served as the linebackers coach under Rick Neuheisel from 1998 to 2001, until returning to his alma mater in 2002.