Why Cadillac Williams decided to stay at Auburn after yet another coaching change
By becoming Hugh Freeze's first staff move, Williams is one of just five assistants in Auburn history who have worked under three permanent head coaches.
(Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
It’s been a long time since Hugh Freeze has coached basketball, but he still knows how to take a wide-open layup.
Shortly after arriving in Auburn on Monday as the Tigers’ new head football coach, Freeze made a point to quickly talk to the man who he was replacing — Cadillac Williams.
Over the last month, Williams rejuvenated Auburn’s program after the end to Bryan Harsin’s brief and unsuccessful tenure. The Tigers ended a long losing streak with back-to-back victories and nearly got another after a chaotic initial week following the coaching change. Then they managed to put together arguably the best fight any Auburn team has had in an Iron Bowl on the road since 2014.
Freeze said he didn’t know if he was going to have to “plead and beg” for Williams to stay in Auburn and be a part of his first staff, but he was prepared to do so.
“I think the words I used last night to him (were)… ‘I need your wisdom. I need you to tell me about the players. I need you to tell me about the building. I need you to tell me who is really vital to us really getting this program back to SEC championships,’” Freeze said Tuesday. “I think the word I would use is ‘invaluable.’ I don't know that I can describe it any more than that.”
As he hinted at Monday night and confirmed Tuesday morning before Freeze’s introductory press conference, Williams will remain at Auburn as an associate head coach and running backs coach.
“I felt really good, to be honest with you,” Williams said of his meeting with Freeze. “It went a lot better than I thought it was going to go. I wanted to see him, meet in person, not talk over the phone — where I can just truly feel his energy. And, wow, was I very impressed.
“I'm excited for this opportunity to be able to work under his leadership and help him cultivate this fanbase, these players and just help Auburn football get back to the top of college football.”
Williams said Tuesday that he interviewed for the permanent head coaching job last week.