Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell proclaimed Saturday to be “Tom Williams Day” in the state, in recognition of the Yale football coach’s upcoming first home game against Cornell.

Rell noted that Williams is not only the first African American football coach in the school’s “storied football history,” but also the first African American college or university football coach in Connecticut. She recognized Yale Football’s leading role in the development of the sport, and congratulated Williams on his “outstanding achievement.”

The full text of her proclamation is below:

WHEREAS, for the past 137 years, Yale’s illustrious football program has been a place of many firsts in the sport, including the first set of written football rules (1873), first college “fight song” (1892), first to establish “plays” (1880), first to build a “bowl” stadium (1914), first winner of the “Heisman” trophy (Larry Kelley, 1933), first college to win 800 football games (2000), and many others; and

WHEREAS, many exceptional football coaches have led Yale in the past including “The Father of American Football” Walter Camp and College Football Hall of Fame Coach Carmen Cozza; and

WHEREAS, Yale’s 33rd Head Football Coach, Tom Williams, comes to the University with an outstanding resume that includes being named All-State in Texas in football, basketball and baseball during high school, Academic-All American and first Academic All-Pac 10 for two years during college and captain of the Stanford football team who went on to defeat Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl; and

WHEREAS, Tom Williams comes to Yale from his position as a defensive assistant for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and holds eleven seasons of college coaching experience from Stanford, the University of Hawaii, San Jose State University and the University of Washington; and

WHEREAS, Tom Williams will become the first African American Head Football Coach in Yale’s storied football history, as well as the first African-American head coach at any college or university in the State of Connecticut and at any Division 1 university in New England; now

THEREFORE, I, M. Jodi Rell, Governor of the State of Connecticut , together with the Yale football, student and surrounding community, congratulate Tom Williams on this outstanding achievement and do hereby officially proclaim September 26, 2009, as


in the State of Connecticut.