Gregg Williams life and biography

Gregg Williams picture, image, poster

Gregg Williams biography

Date of birth : 1958-07-15
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-10-18
Credited as : Football coach NFL, defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl/NFL Draft player

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Gregg Williams is the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints and the former head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Considered one of the most respected defensive minds in the game, Williams is known for running aggressive, attacking 4-3 schemes that put heavy pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

When Coach Sean Payton began the search for a defensive coordinator following the 2008 season, he focused on finding a coach with experience, intensity, character and a track record of success built on teaching skills. Payton found those traits in Williams, who has been the leader of some of the NFL’s finest defenses of the last decade.

Williams, a 20-year coaching veteran in the NFL – including three seasons as a head coach and ten as a defensive coordinator – has a well-earned reputation around the league for producing sound, aggressive units.

Williams’ impact on the Saints’ defense was impressive as they improved significantly in several categories. After allowing opponents to score touchdowns in the red zone on 48.2 of their possessions in 2008, the Saints lowered that figure to 39.3 in 2009, second-lowest in the NFL. The Saints recorded only 15 interceptions in 2008 and then finished second in the NFC and third in the NFL with 26 picks in 2009. He was in charge of a unit that recorded 35 defensive takeaways, after recording only 21 in 2008. Seven of those takeaways were returned for touchdowns. New Orleans had three defensive players (S Roman Harper, S Darren Sharper and LB Jonathan Vilma) named to the Pro Bowl.

The defense continued to show a nose for the ball in the playoffs as they led the league with eight takeaways, while holding opponents to an average of 19.6 points per game. Twice the defense came up with a pair of key fourth quarter interceptions. Near the end of regulation in the NFC Championship Game, CB Tracy Porter intercepted Minnesota QB Brett Favre at the New Orleans 22-yard line, stopping a potential Vikings game-winning score and ensuring overtime. Late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIV, the Saints took a 14-point lead when Porter returned a Peyton Manning pick 74 yards for a touchdown.

He arrived in New Orleans following a one-year stint in Jacksonville as defensive coordinator/assistant head coach, defense, where in 2008 the Jaguars held 10 opponents to 20 points or less. Williams spent the previous four seasons (2004-07) as assistant head coach/defense of the Washington Redskins.

Washington had one of the NFL’s top defenses over that span, allowing just 19.4 points per game and ranking sixth overall in defense during the four-season stretch. In 2007, the Redskins ranked eighth in the NFL in total defense, including allowing only 91.3 yards per game rushing.

In 2005, the Redskins defense was a key factor in the club making its first postseason appearance since 1999. Washington allowed less than 19 points per contest that season – including a scant 11.7 over the final six games. In 2004, Williams made an immediate impact on a unit that had finished 24th the year before, with the Redskins’ defense improving to third in the NFL and forcing 26 turnovers.

Prior to joining the Redskins, Williams spent three seasons as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, where the defense improved each season. In 2003, the Bills ranked second in the league, jumping from 15th in 2002 and 21st in 2001. Overall in 2003, Buffalo’s defensive and special teams units finished among the NFL’s top five in nine categories.

His reputation as a defensive coach was forged in his years with Tennessee, where he served for 11 seasons (1990-2000), including as coordinator over his last four years with the club. Initially hired as a defensive quality control coach when the team was still located in Houston, he was promoted to special teams coach in 1993, and took over as linebackers coach from 1994-96 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1997.

The club made a steady climb to the top of the NFL’s defensive charts under Williams’ direction. In his first year as coordinator, the unit forced 32 turnovers. In 1998, Tennessee ranked in the top 10 against the run and held seven opponents to 14 points or less. The following year the Titans would march to Super Bowl XXXIV, force 39 turnovers and place DE Jevon Kearse and DT John Thornton on All-Rookie teams.

In 2000, the Titans led the NFL in total defense for the first time since joining the NFL and allowed 191 points – the third-fewest in league record books since the adoption of a 16-game schedule in 1978. Tennessee also set club records with 55 sacks, fewest passing yards allowed (2,424) and fewest touchdowns allowed (17). It completed a two-year stretch where the Titans posted an NFL-high 109 sacks.

Prior to arriving in the NFL, Williams was a graduate assistant at the University of Houston from 1988-89 under former NFL head coach Jack Pardee. From 1984-87, Williams was the head coach at Belton, Mo., High School after opening his coaching career at Excelsior Springs (Mo.) High School.

Williams graduated from Northeast Missouri State, where he played quarterback and also played baseball. He later earned a master’s degree from Central Missouri. He and his wife, Leigh Ann, have a daughter, Amy, and two sons, Blake, a coaching assistant on the Saints staff, and Chase, a freshman on the Virginia Tech football squad. Gregg and Blake were the first father and son combination who served on the same coaching staff to win a Super Bowl.

PLAYING CAREER: Northeast Missouri State 1977-79.

COACHING CAREER: University of Houston 1988-89; Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans 1990-2000; Buffalo Bills (head coach) 2001-03; Washington Redskins 2004-07; Jacksonville Jaguars 2008; New Orleans Saints 2009-.

Gregg Williams Foundation

Williams has made community service a priority throughout his career. He created the Gregg Williams Foundation, Inc. in 2004 to benefit the children in his hometown of Excelsior Springs and provide funding for the community. For the past six years, he has held the Gregg Williams Tiger Classic, and he has also organized coaching clinics, seven-on-seven tournaments and lineman challenges. His first fundraiser in New Orleans took place last August. Williams has made the doctrine of the foundation that every cent raised stay in the Excelsior Springs community.

The proceeds from his events have funded a multitude of projects. New scoreboards for the football stadium, basketball gym and baseball field have been installed, as well as a new irrigation system for the football practice field and new uniforms for the team. Williams’ foundation also funded the construction of a new weight room and fitness center, special flooring for the volleyball courts and the purchase of heart monitor watches for the middle school. For wheelchair athletes, a YMCA fitness center was built as part of the Challenger Program.

But athletics haven’t been the only beneficiary of the foundation. A robotics team has been created for the school’s science department, college scholarships and competitive educational programs have been established and recreation parks have been built. A Career Center with business classes was funded, local art and theater programs have been supported and the museum has also received generous donations. A latchkey program for children with working parents was also established with foundation contributions, as well as SAFE programs and After-Prom sponsorships. 20 Drama Club members were sent to Scotland to participate in theater arts training & competition.

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