Jan. 7, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Jacksonville Jaguars defensive assistant Tom Williams was introduced Wednesday as the head football coach at Yale, making him the first African-American to hold the job and only the second black coach in the Ivy League.

Williams replaces Jack Siedlecki, who retired in November after 12 seasons to become an assistant athletic director at the school.

"I am dedicated to bringing an exciting brand of football that the Yale players and fan base will both embrace and enjoy," Williams said in a written statement released just prior to the news conference.

The 39-year-old Williams has been an assistant coach for the Jaguars the past two seasons and has been an assistant at Hawaii, Washington, Stanford and San Jose State. This will be his first head coaching job.

Columbia coach Norries Wilson is the only other black football coach in the Ivy League.

Carm Cozza, the legendary Yale coach and a member of the search committee, said Williams brings an impressive ability to relate to the unique pressures of being a student-athlete at a school where the student part comes first.

Williams is a former Rhodes Scholar candidate who played linebacker at Stanford.

Yale went 6-4 this season, including 4-3 in the Ivy League, and lost 10-0 to Harvard in the 125th edition of "The Game."

Yale has lost seven of the past eight games against the Crimson.

Hall-of-Famer Calvin Hill, a former Yale running back, said the choice of Williams goes a long way toward disproving the myth that there is a lack of qualified minority candidates for head coaching jobs.

"Anybody who has ever worn the Yale blue and played in the (Yale) Bowl ought to be excited, especially if they are black," Hill said. "They picked a guy who can carry on the great tradition that started with Walter Camp, and included Carm Cozza, and they've gotten somebody who perhaps can start to beat Harvard, like things should be."


Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford contributed to this report.