New Haven, CT – Yale University announced head football coach Tom Williams' resignation on Wednesday following questions over his resume and candidacy as a Rhodes Scholar in 1992.
Williams' resignation is effective Dec. 31, Yale director of athletics Tom Beckett said in the Ivy League university's announcement. Williams, who turns 42 on Thursday, was 16-14 in three seasons, including 5-5 this year.
The controversy began last month when Yale quarterback Patrick Witt was deciding between playing in the annual Harvard game on Nov. 19 or taking a final interview for a Rhodes Scholarship that day. He chose to play in the game.
At that time, Williams reportedly claimed that while he was a senior at Stanford University in 1992 he declined his final Rhodes Scholar interview to earn a spot on an NFL roster. But The New York Times reported Williams did not apply to the program.
Yale followed with an investigation of Williams' resume.
In the university's announcement of Williams' resignation, he clarified that he was encouraged to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship, but did not apply.
"I wish to clear the record," Williams said. "On the Rhodes Scholarship issue, I was encouraged to apply by the Stanford Fellowship office, which identified me 'as the kind of student who demonstrates the intellect, energy and commitment that the Rhodes selection committees seek in their applicants.' I considered the opportunity, sought advice and was encouraged to apply by faculty members and my coach Bill Walsh, but I did not apply.
"During the spring of my senior year, I was given an opportunity to attend a try-out camp with the San Francisco 49ers, and I participated in that three- day event. I did not sign a free agent contract with the 49ers or participate in their summer training camp for signed players.
"I am extremely proud of my academic, athletic and coaching career. 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."
Beckett said Yale would begin a search for Williams' successor.
"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," Beckett said.