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Huskers Complete Football Staff With Hiring of Toledo Assistant Jimmy Williams

By NU Athletic Communications
New Nebraska linebackers' coach Jimmy Williams is introduced to the media Wednesday.
New Nebraska linebackers' coach Jimmy Williams is introduced to the media Wednesday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Husker football coaching staff is complete with the addition of Jimmy Williams as linebacker coach. Williams comes to the Huskers from the University of Toledo where he served as the defensive line coach in 2002. Williams will coach the linebackers for the Huskers, a position he played in the NFL for 12 years.

Nebraska Coach Frank Solich said Williams will be a great addition to the staff. "Jimmy has done an excellent job as both a player and a coach. He walked on here at Nebraska with his brother Toby from Washington, D.C. With his great work ethic and talent, he developed into one of the top rush ends here at Nebraska and was a 12-year veteran in the NFL as a linebacker. He is a good communicator with both players and coaches and that will play into recruiting as well."

At Toledo, Williams helped lead the Rockets to a 9-5 record and a berth in the MAC Conference Championship game and an invite to the Motor City Bowl last season. His recruiting responsibilities at Toledo included Michigan.

Williams also has coaching experience as a defensive line coach at Grand Valley State University in 2001, when he helped lead GVSU to a GLIAC Championship and to the Division II playoffs for the first time. Grand Valley State posted a 13-1 record, losing only in the Division II championship game to North Dakota, 17-14. Three of his defensive linemen earned all-conference honors.

"I?d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the opportunity," said Williams. "Very few people get the chance to return home, and in this case I am. When I think how much the University has impacted my life as a person, father, husband and as an athlete, it?s humbling to think that I now have an opportunity to have an influence on young people?s lives in the same manner. I am honored to join the staff here at Nebraska and look forward to working with Coach Solich, Coach Pelini and the rest of the staff."

One of 30 first-round NFL draft picks out of Nebraska, Williams was the 15th pick of the 1982 draft and played nine seasons with the Lions (1982-90), one with Minnesota and finished his stellar NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1992 and 1993. During his career with the Lions, Williams recorded 653 tackles (sixth all-time), 25.5 sacks and 11 interceptions. Williams recorded a career-high 143 tackles in 1984 and was the Lions? defensive MVP. In 1987, Williams earned defensive MVP honors for the second time in his career, and was honored by the Lions? Quarterback Club as the team?s overall MVP. In 1989, Williams led all NFL linebackers with five interceptions and ranked third on the team in tackles with 95. Williams was a team captain for each of his three NFL teams, and served as the Athletes in Action Chaplain leader.

At Nebraska, Williams was a 6-3, 220-pound defensive end for the Huskers when NU played out of a 5-2 formation, lettering in 1979, 1980 and 1981. He recorded 198 career tackles in three years, including 97 solo stops. As a senior, Williams earned first-team All-America (Walter Camp, Associated Press) and All-Big Eight honors and was named the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year by UPI, after recording 61 tackles, including 18 for loss, and played in the Japan and Hula Bowls. As a player, he still has the fastest 40-yard dash time ever recorded at NU by a defensive end (4.6 electronic). He played in three bowl games with the Huskers and was named the defensive MVP of the 1980 Sun Bowl after Nebraska defeated Mississippi State, 31-17. He became the Huskers? 15th first-round NFL draft pick when the Detroit Lions made him their first choice and the 15th player selected overall in the 1982 draft. He was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 2001.

He earned his bachelor?s degree in business administration from William Tyndale College in Michigan in 1999 while coaching in the high school ranks. He was the defensive coordinator and coached the linebackers at Pontiac Northern High from 1994 through the 1998 season and was the head coach at Pontiac Central in 1999 to 2000.

Williams has assisted with college football camps at Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State and served a two-week internship with the Detroit Lions in 2001.

A native of Washington, D.C., Williams played high school football at Woodrow Wilson High School. He and his wife, Crystal, have six children, Brittney (15), Nia (12), Faith (6), Joy (5), and twins Janell and James III (4). His brother Toby also walked-on at Nebraska and played defensive tackle at NU, lettering in 1980, 1981 and 1982. Williams is also a minister and is actively involved in youth ministry and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. An outstanding public speaker, Williams has been involved in developing the motivational and leadership skills of young athletes for the past two decades.

Date of Birth: Nov. 15, 1960

Family: Wife, Crystal McGant; Children, Brittney (15), Nia (12), Faith (6), Joy (5), Janell (4) and James III (4)

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Alma Mater: William Tyndale College

Playing Experience: College, Nebraska 1979-81; NFL, Detroit Lions 1982-90; Minnesota Vikings 1991; Tampa Bay 1992-93.

Coaching Experience: 1994-98, Pontiac Northern High School (Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers); 1999-2000, Pontiac Central High School (Head Coach); 2001, Grand Valley State University (Defensive Line Coach); 2002, University of Toledo (Defensive Line).

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