Doug Williams, who interviewed for the open head football coaching position at Southern, is staying with the Buccaneers, where he has worked as a front-office executive since 2004. Tampa quickly responded with a contract extension, and Williams pulled out of the search to replace Pete Richardson at Southern, Grambling’s principal in-state rival.
Southern also intended to make an announcement this week, and Williams has said he wanted to wait until the NFL season concluded on Sunday for Tampa, the pro club that drafted the former Grambling quarterback and coach in 1978.
School administrators are apparently narrowing their search now to former Jackson State coach Darrell Asberry, who coaches at lower-division Shaw, and Washington Redskins assistant coach Stump Mitchell.
You wonder why Heishma Northern, a safety on Southern’s first championship team under Richardson in 1993, and — as defensive coordinator on a team that rarely put up big offensive numbers — one of the main architects of 2009 SWAC champion Prairie View’s stirring return to glory, isn’t the top candidate.
That said, the offer to keep Williams on board seems to indicate that Tampa Bay, after handing the top-seeded New Orleans Saints their second consecutive loss last Sunday, intends to stick with first-year coach Raheem Morris.
It’s hard to imagine that the timing of Williams’ interview, just before a game the then-two win Bucs were expected to lose at the Superdome, didn’t have something to do with the uncertainty facing the current staff. Williams also arrived in Baton Rouge to discuss a return to college coaching a day after NFL.com reported that Tampa had contacted former Super Bowl-winning Steelers coach Bill Cowher.
Then there was Williams’ contract itself, set to expire in February.
“Any team having a season like the one we’re having, you have to look at everything,” Williams told me. “But beating New Orleans says a lot about the young roster we have right now.”
Williams praised a Saints team that later claimed that No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff bracket on Monday, with Minnesota’s loss to Chicago: “They are still a very formidable foe. They are going to go deep into the playoffs.”
Williams reportedly said later today that, had he been hired at Southern, the goal was to reassemble several members of his former Grambling staff — a group that claimed a trio of Southwestern Athletic Conference titles in 2000-03, and included Melvin Spears and Northern — as well as Capitol High coach Chadwick Germany.