Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tom Williams resigns

Tom Williams resigned as Yale's football coach on Wednesday.

Williams, who was hired back in 2008 off the staff of the Jacksonville Jaguars to replace Jack Siedlecki, had his claims of being a Rhodes Scholarship candidate investigated by Yale. Although the investigation results were never made public, Williams decided to step down and the resignation is effective on Dec. 31.

“I wish to clear the record,” Williams said in a statement. “On the Rhodes Scholarship issue, I was encouraged to apply by the Stanford Fellowship office, which identified me ‘as the kind of student who demonstrates the intellect, energy and commitment that the Rhodes selection committees seek in their applicants.’ I considered the opportunity, sought advice and was encouraged to apply by faculty members and my coach Bill Walsh, but I did not apply.”

“During the spring of my senior year, I was given an opportunity to attend a tryout camp with the San Francisco 49ers, and I participated in that three-day event. I did not sign a free agent contract with the 49ers or participate in their summer training camp for signed players.”

“I am extremely proud of my academic, athletic and coaching career. If there was confusion created, I take full responsibility. The timing of this inquiry has been difficult for everyone. At this point I believe it is in the best interest of my student-athletes and Yale University that I step down.”

Williams was quoted on multiple occasions, including by the Register, about his experience as a Rhodes Scholarship candidate when he was a senior at Stanford while Yale senior quarterback Patrick Witt went through the process. Witt eventually became a Rhodes finalist but chose not to attend the final interview because it conflicted with the season-ending game agaiinst Harvard. The New York Times had the Rhodes Trust check their records and they had no application from a person with the name Thomas Williams during the period when he was eligible to apply. Speaking two days before the Harvard game, Williams said it was just a misrepresentation and he was in contact with the people at Stanford to back up his claims.

“I was talking about making a choice of pursuing a Rhodes and pursuing an opportunity to keep playing football. That was all that was. We just have to make sure we clarify it," Williams told the Register on Nov. 17. "These guys (Yale spokesmen) are here to make sure it gets represented correctly, that is all it was. There is no intention to deceive. I never said I was a finalist for the Rhodes candidacy. The Rhodes shouldn't have any record of me because I didn't do it. I didn't go through the process; I pulled out long before it got to that point.”

While Yale never released the findings of the internal investigation, a source who was closely involved with the decision to hire Williams said his Rhodes Scholarship background played a role in him becoming such a intriguing candidate.

Yale's director of athletics Tom Beckett said the university would immediately begin a search for Williams’ successor.

Williams went 16-14 in his three seasons at Yale including a 7-3 mark in 2010. However, despite returning the majority of the 2010 squad the Bulldogs were just 5-5 and lost to Harvard 45-7.

Williams and his staff continued to go among their business as usual after the season ended, hosting recruits and making preparations for next season.

I have reached out to Williams for comment and obviously I will be providing updates on the resignation and the search for Williams' successor.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares about the Rhodes scholar comment. This is football!!

10:36 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yale should hire the great, young coach who got away -- Harvard's assistant coach Tony Reno.

Reno was a popular and dynamic recruiter for Yale, an excellent position coach and also adored by his players. He was a huge loss when Harvard hired him away when Seidlecki retired.

Not only can he head this team for the next ten years, he will best know how to approach Harvard in The Game. Let's get him.

11:03 AM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I'd be in favor of Tony Reno. I had a lot of respect for him when he was at Yale. However, I did a story on his decision to leave and it was partly for family reasons they lived in Massachusetts. Maybe the lure of a head coaching job would change the circumstances but I don't expect any names to emerge until after the 1st of the year.

12:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A head coaching opportunity in the vaunted Ivy League should be more than enough to sway him, given his tender age (early 30's?). The only way he might stay in light of a Yale head coaching offer would be if Harvard told him he's the heir apparent to Murphy and that Murphy is considering a resignation. I don't see that at all. Let's get Reno.

1:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a source who was closely involved with the decision to hire Williams said his Rhodes Scholarship background played a role in him becoming such a intriguing candidate."

This statement sums up all that was wrong with the way Yale picked the last coach. Last time there were tons of "committees" filled with academics making football decisions based on his academic qualifications. Really?? We need football people making football decisions. Sorry to break it to Dick Levin and his cronies, but a Rhodes Scholarship demonstrates absolutely nothing in terms of being able to coach football. Let Beckett and the alumni have a say in hiring someone who knows FOOTBALL.

2:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reno has never been an offensive or defensive coordinator and thus has never managed a staff. Never mind he was only the recruiting coordinator for the last year of Sid's reign after Mac had set up the recruiting system and all the organization.

It will never happen, but I say bring back Coach Sid or promote Rick Flanders.

4:33 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the only time you'll read "bring back Coach Sid" and his 6 points per game.

Reno's the guy. He's dynamic and will hire the right people to assist him.

5:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about brining back Joel Lamb, Harvard's offensive coordinator? He did a heckuva job when he was on Coach Sid's staff.

6:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, would love Tony Reno to be the guy.

3:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony Reno would be a fine choice. I am telling you give this kid a chance. He works hard and has the energy to turn around a once storied and well respected program. It is my hope Yale is intelligent and provides Tony with an opportunity to restore the pride. The pride that not too long ago, echoed throughout the entire University of Yale campus. Tony will bring it back. As he was before, Tony will be a tremendous asset to the Yale University environment. For those who question, you have every right to and in time you will see the work ethic of this kid. A once highly respected university will be on the national as they stood before.

8:02 PM 

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