Williams to Receive UCM's Distinguished Service Award
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 29, 2011) – A coach who is considered one of the best defensive architects in the National Football League will be honored by his alma mater not only for his professional success but for what he’s done to help students and his hometown. Former Excelsior Springs resident Gregg Williams will receive the University of Central Missouri’s Distinguished Service Award during the undergraduate commencement ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7 in the Multipurpose Building.
The Distinguished Service Award was established by the UCM Board of Governors to recognize individuals who have rendered exemplary and extended service to their communities, the state, and sometimes, throughout the world. The recipients of this award must be people of such integrity, stature, and ability that the UCM faculty, staff, students and alumni take pride and are inspired by their recognition.
A 21-year coaching veteran in the NFL, Williams currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints. He will be honored during the commencement ceremony for new graduates of the College of Business Administration, College of Education, and College of Science and Technology. The ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday is for graduates of the College of Health and Human Services and College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
Williams grew up in Excelsior Springs, MO, and attended Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1979. After graduation, he went on to earn a master’s degree in education at the University of Central Missouri while serving as a teacher and coach at Belton High School in the early 1980s.
Today he is entering his third season as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, where he continues to oversee one of the best defenses in pro football. He helped the Saints capture a division title, National Football Conference Championship, and Super Bowl victory in 2009, followed by an 11-5 record and NFC wild card berth in 2010.
Williams’ career includes serving as defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, who played in Super Bowl XXXIV; head coach of the Buffalo Bills; assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars; and assistant head coach-defense for the Washington Redskins. While serving these teams over the past decade, Williams presided over five separate top five total defenses: Tennessee Titans (number one in total defense in 2000), Buffalo Bills (number three in 2001 and number two in 2003), Washington Redskins (number three in 2005), and the New Orleans Saints (number four in 2010). In 14 seasons as a defensive coordinator or head coach, Williams has racked up seven top-10 overall defenses.
In addition to his success in the NFL, Williams has become a hometown hero for continuing to give back to the Excelsior Springs community. In December 2004, he established the Gregg Williams Foundation to provide support and funding to local school programs, to benefit programs for children in the Excelsior Springs area and to improve the community. Under his leadership, the foundation annually sponsors the Gregg Williams Tiger Classic in his hometown. This fundraising event offers four days of activities ranging from a charity auction and coach/youth clinics to a golf tournament that often attracts athletes and other celebrities.