The Redskins have promoted former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams to Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, part of an overall restructuring of the front office.
“I’m just fortunate to be standing here and I certainly appreciate that,” said Williams, who previously was a senior personnel executive. “About four years ago I got a chance to come back. And it’s like coming back home for me.”
Williams interviewed with team president Bruce Allen last month and laid out a plan to make the front office more efficient. It wasn’t until Monday, after returning from a weekend event in the Bahamas, that Williams learned the Redskins chose his vision over at least a dozen candidates inside and outside of the organization. The announcement was made at Redskins Park on Tuesday morning.
Williams proposed his new role to Allen. He didn’t want any part of being a true general manager, where duties tend to sprawl and focusing on football operations can be a difficult juggling act.
“It was important to me,” Williams said. “And this is the honest God’s truth: We had a general manager. It didn’t work out that well. A general manager has his hand in everything…My job is to control [the front office]. And I think if we do a good job, no matter what happens, we all get credit for what this football team does.”
Williams also reshuffled his college scouting staff. Kyle Smith, the son for former NFL executive A.J. Smith and Bruce Allen confidant, is the new director of college scouting. Kyle Smith is in his eighth season with Washington and was promoted from area scout. He replaces Scott Campbell, the director of college scouting since 2015 and a member of the organization for 17 years.
“We wanted someone with unquestionable character, great leadership skills, a presence and a great teammate for everyone around him,” Allen said. “And that pointed to Doug.”
Douglas Lee “Doug” Williams (born August 9, 1955) is a former American football quarterback and former head coach of the Grambling State Tigers football team. Williams is known for his remarkable performance in Super Bowl XXII. Williams, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, passed for a Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. He was the first African-American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Williams also became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half.
Williams attended Grambling State University, where he played for legendary head coach Eddie Robinson. Williams guided the Tigers to a 36-7 (.837 winning percentage) record as a four-year starter, and led the Tigers to three Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships. Williams was named Black College Player of the Year twice.
In 1977, Williams led the NCAA in several categories, including total yards from scrimmage (3,249), passing yards (3,286), touchdown passes (38), and yards per play (8.6). Williams finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, behind Earl Campbell, Terry Miller, and Ken MacAfee. Williams graduated from Grambling with a degree in education, and began work on a graduate degree before the 1978 NFL Draft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs was the only NFL coach that visited Grambling to work Williams out and scout him. Gibbs spent two days with the 6-foot-4, 220-pound quarterback, reviewing play books, film, and going through passing drills. Impressed by his poise, work ethic, and studious nature, Gibbs wrote in his scouting report that Williams had “a big-time arm with perfect passing mechanics” and was “a natural leader… very academic and extremely prepared… football smart,” and recommended that the Buccaneers select Williams with their first-round draft choice.Despite the success that he enjoyed on the field,
Following the recommendation of Gibbs, Tampa Bay drafted Williams in the first round (17th overall) of the1978 NFL Draft. The Bucs, who had never been to the playoffs before Williams arrived and won just two games in the first two years of the franchise, went to the playoffs three times in four years and played in the 1979 NFC Championship Game. Williams improved his completion percentage each year with the Bucs and was regarded as the heart and soul of the team.
Williams was the only starting African-American quarterback in the NFL at that time. During his tenure with the Buccaneers, Williams was only paid $120,000 a year. Not only was this far and away the lowest salary for a starting quarterback in the league, but it was less than the salary of 12 backups. After the 1982 season, Williams asked for a $600,000 contract. Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse refused to budge from his initial offer of $400,000 despite protests from coach John McKay. While Culverhouse’s offer was still more than triple Williams’ previous salary, he would have still been among the lowest-paid starters in the league. Feeling that Culverhouse was not paying him what a starter should earn, Williams bolted to the upstart United States Football League‘s Oklahoma Outlaws. The next year the Bucs went 2-14, and they would not make the playoffs again for 14 years, until after the 1997 season, and lost ten games in every season but one in that stretch.
On the day before Super Bowl XXII, Williams had a six-hour root canal surgery performed (under full anesthetic) to repair an abscess under a dental bridge. The pain of this condition caused him to lose sleep for several days, as reported in the book Hit and Tell: War Stories of the NFL (/K.Lynch, Foghorn Press).
Facing legendary Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, Williams engineered a 42-10 rout, in which the Redskins set an NFL record by scoring five touchdowns in the second quarter. Williams completed 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards, with four touchdown passes, and was named Super Bowl MVP.
Williams became the head football coach at Grambling State University in 1998, succeeding the legendary Eddie Robinson. He led the Tigers to three consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference titles from 2000–2002, before leaving to rejoin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a personnel executive.
Williams was promoted to the position of director of professional scouting in February 2009.
In 2009, Williams along with fellow Grambling State alumnus James Harris, founded the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Each year, several notable football players from historically black colleges and universities are entered in its hall of fame at an induction ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia
On May 11, 2010, it was announced that Williams would no longer be the director professional scouting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was subsequently hired as the general manager of the Norfolk expansion franchise in the United Football League, now known as the Virginia Destroyers.
On February 21, 2011, Williams resigned from the Destroyers to begin his second stint as the head football coach at Grambling State University. He was fired from this position on September 11, 2013.
On February 10, 2014, the Washington Redskins hired Williams as a front office personnel executive. The hiring marks Williams’ return to the Redskins.
On June 13, 2017, the Redskins named Williams as the Senior Vice President of Player Personnel.
Williams was born in Zachary, Louisiana. Williams and his wife, Raunda, have eight children: Ashley; Adrian; Doug, Jr.; Jasmine; Laura; Lee; Temessia; Carmaleta. His sons Adrian and Doug Jr. (D.J.) are both accomplished collegiate athletes. Adrian played basketball for Brown University until graduating after the 2010-11 season while D.J. signed to play for his father at Grambling State University. Doug’s nephew Johnny Huggins also played in the NFL.
The Shack Harris & Doug Williams Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth.
Founded in 2005 by Grambling State University Tigers and NFL quarterback pioneers Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, the Foundation provides grants for after-school initiatives, leadership development, mentoring programs and minority higher education assistance.