Former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams was named running backs coach at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio Thursday, according to an Associated Press report:
[Ricky] Williams was introduced as the running backs coach at the University of the Incarnate Word on Thursday, bringing years of knowledge of the game to the small Catholic school looking to build its program.
The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner and NFL All-Pro who led the league in rushing in 2002 is looking forward to getting back on the football field a year after his retirement from the NFL. Williams will work with the team part time because he had already accepted a position working for the Longhorn Network during the football season.
Williams' new boss, head coach Larry Kennan, received two high-profile endorsement letters on behalf of Williams: Texas head coach Mack Brown, and former Miami Dolphins (and current Alabama) head coach Nick Saban. Williams ran for 6,592 yards in four years while playing for Brown at Texas, setting a then-NCAA career record for rushing touchdowns in the process.
After being selected fifth in the 1999 NFL Draft by New Orleans and spending three seasons with the Saints, Williams moved to the Miami Dolphins. He played seven seasons with the Dolphins, including one with Saban, though his tenure was sporadically interrupted by suspensions related to failed drug tests. Williams retired for the second time in 2012, after one season with the Baltimore Ravens.
Williams has no coaching experience, a fact that did not dissuade Kennan:
"He's a fabulous man and was a great, great football player," Kennan said. "He'll be a wonderful mentor for our guys both as a running backs coach and a guy who's lived a lot of life and has got some wisdom. That's what we do as coaches; we impart our wisdom to them."
The University of the Incarnate Word, a small Catholic school, moved up to Division I FCS subdivision football for the 2013 season, having competed in the Division II Lone Star Conference in the past. The UIW Cardinals will join the Southland Conference for the 2014 season.