Tom Williams resigned as Yale's football coach amid a university investigation into whether he lied about being a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship while a student at Stanford. He is a former Washington Huskies linebackers coach.
For a couple of weeks in November, the story captivated even the casual follower of college football.
Yale’s senior quarterback, Patrick Witt, was wrestling with a decision that generated national attention and debate.
Should he play in the Harvard-Yale game one final time, or should he attend an interview in Atlanta as a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship? Because of the schedule of the events, he could not do both.
Witt’s dilemma had an unlikely twist. Yale coach Tom Williams said he had faced almost identical circumstances in 1992 when he was a linebacker at Stanford.
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Williams said he had chosen to pursue a career in pro football at the expense of a possible Rhodes scholarship — and never regretted the decision. Witt eventually decided to play in the game and Yale was crushed by Harvard 45-7.
But Williams, 42, had never been a Rhodes scholar candidate or applicant, let alone a finalist, as he had let the world believe.
Williams, a Washington Huskies linebackers coach from 1999 to 2001, had told Yale he was a candidate with an entry on his résumé.
Williams’ biography on Yale’s website said the same thing.
On Wednesday, Williams paid with his job. Yale, which had undertaken an internal review to investigate Williams’ Rhodes scholarship assertion after a New York Times article raised doubts about its legitimacy, announced the third-year coach had resigned.
In a news release from Yale, Williams said he had been encouraged to apply for a Rhodes scholarship while at Stanford, but never did so: “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 was described as a Rhodes scholar candidate in his bio that appeared in the 2000 and 2001 Washington football media guides, but not in the 1999 guide.
Williams’ story began to unravel shortly after Witt announced he would forgo the Rhodes interview to play in the game.
A Rhodes Scholarship Trust official, Elliot Gerson, its American secretary, told The New York Times he had never heard of a candidate bypassing the final interview to play in an athletic event.
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Texas Christian has won eight in a row.
Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, had its seven-game winning streak snapped hours after coach Sonny Dykes agreed to a contract extension through 2017.
The Horned Frogs tied the score at 24 on Luke Shivers’ 1-yard run with 7:49 left.
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