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Tom Williams resigns as Yale football coach amid Rhodes scandal

December 21, 2011 | 10:05 am


Tom Williams was never a Rhodes Scholarship candidate. He never played for the San Francisco 49ers. And now he is no longer the head football coach at Yale.

Williams resigned as the Bulldogs' coach Wednesday while the university continued to investigate whether he lied on his resume about being a Rhodes candidate while attending Stanford. The resignation will take effect on Dec. 31.

Before taking over at Yale in 2009, Williams listed himself as a Rhodes candidate on his resume. But in a statement Wednesday, Williams said was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Stanford's fellowship office but never did.

“I considered the opportunity, sought advice and was encouraged to apply by faculty members and my coach Bill Walsh, but I did not apply,” Williams said.

Also in the statement, Williams acknowledged he never signed a contract with the 49ers. His biography on the Yale football website said that he played for the San Francisco 49ers practice squad in 1993 (that information has since been removed).

“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," he said. "I did not sign a free-agent contract with the 49ers or participate in their summer training camp for signed players."

The university's investigation began in November after officials of the Rhodes Trust told the New York Times they had no records of Williams applying for the University of Oxford postgraduate award.

“I am extremely proud of my academic, athletic and coaching career,” said Williams, who compiled a 16-14 record at Yale, including a 5-5 effort this year. “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.”

Yale Athletic Director Tom Beckett said: “Coach Williams has been a dedicated teacher and coach at Yale, and his students have benefited greatly from his leadership and passion for the game of football."


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Tom Williams. Credit: Douglas Healey / Associated Press