Strong Turns to NFL For WR Coach Hire

Texas' Charlie Strong has completed his offensive staff with the hire of Indianapolis Colts' assistant Charlie Williams as WR coach.

Williams has more than 30 years of coaching experience - in the NFL and college football - and spent the last several seasons with the Indianapolis Colts as both receivers coach and running backs coach.

 With addition of Williams as WR coach on Monday, the offensive coaching staff at Texas is complete with only one holdover from last season: TE/special teams coach Jeff Traylor. The rest of the staff was hired after the 2015 season, beginning with new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and OL coach Matt Mattox in December.

Anthony Johnson, a former Longhorn RB and former Texas quality control assistant who spent the past two seasons as RB coach at Toledo under Matt Campbell, was hired by Strong as RB coach over the weekend.

Williams is a native of Long Beach, Calif., where he began his coaching career at Long Beach City College in 1984.  From 1986-87, he worked at New Mexico State University, four seasons with TCU from 1988-91 and one year at Minnesota in 1992 before joining the Miami Hurricanes program.  Williams was with Miami from 1993-1995, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2001, South Carolina in 2003, Arizona from 2004-2006 and worked at North Carolina from 2007-2011 before joining the Colts in 2012 through the 2015 NFL season.


Williams played two years as a defensive back at Colorado State in 1978-79.


Coaching Career:


1984                     Long Beach City College          Defensive Backs


1986-1987            New Mexico State                     Running Backs


1988-1991            TCU                                          WR/Running Backs


1992                      Minnesota                               Wide Receivers


1993-1995             University of Miami (Fla.)        Wide Receivers


1996-2001            Tampa Bay Buccaneers           Wide Receivers


2003                     South Carolina                         Wide Receivers


2004-2006           Arizona                                       Wide Receivers


2007-2011            North Carolina                            Wide Receivers


2012-2014           Indianapolis Colts                      Wide Receivers


2015                    Indianapolis Colts                       Running Backs



HIGDON'S TAKE: I love the Charlie Williams hire.  He gives players, recruits and their families the best of both worlds combining over 30 years of experience in the NFL and collegiate game. 



Williams named wide receivers coach at Texas

Charlie Williams, a 30-year coaching veteran with both collegiate and NFL experience, has been named wide receivers coach at Texas.


Austin -- A 30-year coaching veteran at both the college and NFL levels, Charlie Williams has been named wide receivers coach at Texas, head coach Charlie Strong announced Monday. Williams has coached several Pro Bowl receivers on the NFL level and numerous future NFL Draft picks during his time on college campuses.

“Coaching at Texas, one of the premier football programs in the country, is an unbelievable opportunity,” Williams said. “After coaching in the NFL for the past four years, I’m excited to get back on a college campus to help these young student-athletes grow and develop both as players on the field and students in the classroom. It gives me a chance to coach and teach young student-athletes again, and I’m excited for the challenges ahead.”


“Charlie (Williams) is a well-respected veteran coach who has been developing a lot of great receivers at the collegiate and NFL levels for a long time,” Strong said. “He’s a high-energy coach who we are really excited to be adding to our staff. Charlie will do a tremendous job working with all of our young, talented receivers and rounds out a terrific offensive coaching staff. You could see he connected with all of them during his interview and that they were all on the same page. I know he'll bring a lot of expertise and passion to our team and is a coach our guys will really respond to."


Williams comes to Texas after spending the last four years (2012-15) with the Indianapolis Colts, including last season as running backs coach, and the previous three as wide receivers coach. 

"I had a chance to talk at length with Sterlin (Gilbert) and Matt (Mattox) on my visit to Austin and they’re two young coaches who have been a part of some great offenses over the years,” Williams said. “The fast break, no-huddle offense, as I like to call it, is going to need our wide receiver group to play a big role in it. I’m looking forward to working with the offensive staff, teaching our players and getting things going at Texas.

“First and foremost, our receiver group is going to be about ‘we.’ We’ll work hard each and every day to get better, and it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. I know we have a lot of young talent, and we’ll work together to find our identity as a group and develop in all of the areas it entails to be a great receiver. I’ve always felt that if you master all of the little things, the big things take care of themselves. And that will be our goal as a unit.”

Last year, despite the offense being limited by having QB Andrew Luck sidelined for a large part of the season, Williams helped RB Frank Gore post 967 rushing yards and six touchdowns and total over 1,200 yards from scrimmage for the 10th straight season.

“I’ve known Charlie since his years at South Carolina, and I’ve followed his career ever since,” Williams said. “He’s done a great job at every place he’s been and is a guy that everyone in our business has great respect for. I'm looking forward to working with Charlie and the rest of the staff as we dive into the challenge of getting the Longhorn program back on top.”


In his most recent year as wide receivers coach, Williams guided Colts receivers to combine for 219 receptions for 3,004 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014. T.Y. Hilton became the third player in franchise history to post back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons and recorded the most receptions (214), receiving yards (3,289) and 100-yard receiving games (16) in the first three seasons of a player’s career in Colts history. He also earned his first career Pro Bowl nod.

Reggie Wayne finished second on the team with 64 receptions for 779 yards and moved to seventh place in NFL history in career receptions (1,070) and eighth in receiving yards (14,345). First-year receiver Donte Moncrief became the seventh rookie in team history to record multiple 100-yard receiving games in a single season. The wide receivers helped Indianapolis lead the NFL in receiving yards and finish fourth in receptions during the regular season and then advance to the AFC Championship Game, finishing with a 13-6 record.


In 2013, Williams coached a group of receivers led by Hilton and Wayne. Hilton topped the Colts with 82 receptions for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns, claiming his first career 1,000-yard season. In the AFC Wild Card game against Kansas City, he set a franchise record and tied for the second-most catches in a single game in NFL postseason history with 13, while his 224 receiving yards also set a team record and ranked as the third-most in NFL history. Wayne recorded 38 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns for the year before suffering a season-ending injury in week seven against Denver. The Colts finished 12-6, earned a Wild Card playoff berth and advanced to the Divisional round.


Williams guided the 2012 wide receivers unit to 231 receptions for 3,211 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wayne totaled 106 receptions for 1,355 yards, which were both the second-highest single-season totals in his NFL career. He also added five touchdowns en route to his sixth career Pro Bowl selection. Wayne posted his sixth season with at least 1,200 receiving yards, which tied him for the third-most all-time.


Williams also directed Donnie Avery in 2012, who set single-season career highs in receptions (60), receiving yards (781) and 100-yard games (two). Hilton ranked first among NFL rookies in receiving touchdowns (seven) and 100-yard games (five). He was also second in receiving yards (861) and tied for fourth in receptions (50). Hilton’s five 100-yard receiving outings were the most by a Colts rookie in franchise history as he finished with the second-most receiving yards and tied for the third-most receiving touchdowns by a rookie in team history. Indianapolis posted an 11-6 record and earned an appearance in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.


Prior to Indianapolis, Williams was wide receivers coach at the University of North Carolina for five seasons (2007-11) where he developed some of the most prolific receivers in school history.


Dwight Jones was a two-time All-ACC honoree and finished ranked fifth at UNC on the career receptions (152) and receiving yards (2,163) lists and fourth in receiving touchdowns (16). In 2011, he set the school single-season mark for receptions (85/No. 5 on the ACC list), tied it for touchdown receptions (12) and finished second for receiving yards (1,196) en route to second-team all-conference honors. His averages of 6.5 catches and 92.0 receiving yards per game both ranked 22nd in the nation. Along with Jones, Erik Highsmith caught 51 passes for 726 yards and five touchdowns and helped the Tar Heels rank 36th in the country in passing offense (254.4 ypg), finish with a 7-6 record and an Independence Bowl berth. Jones and Highsmith both went on to sign NFL free agent contracts.


In 2010, North Carolina ranked 26th in the nation in passing offense (264.0 ypg). Jones emerged as the top receiving threat with 62 catches and 946 yards, which both ranked fifth all-time on the UNC single-season lists at the time. His average of 72.8 receiving yards per game was fourth-best in the ACC. Highsmith added 25 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns. The Tar Heels posted an 8-5 record, including a win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.


The year prior, Greg Little had 62 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns, and was a second-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2011. Highsmith was named to the Sporting News All-ACC Freshman team after 37 catches for 425 yards and two touchdowns. UNC registered an 8-5 record and appeared in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.


Williams was also responsible for the development of 2008 first-team All-ACC wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who finished his three-year North Carolina career with 14 school records including career receptions (181), receiving yards (2,580) and touchdowns (21). He totaled 68 catches (third-most in UNC history) for school records of 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2008. His average of 94.0 receiving yards per game led the ACC and ranked 12th nationally. After a 217-yard performance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, Nicks declared for the NFL Draft where he was selected in the first round (29th overall) by the New York Giants. Despite a one-point loss in the bowl, North Carolina finished 8-5 for the season.


All three starting wide receivers from 2008 were selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, including Nicks, Brandon Tate (third round – New England Patriots) and Brooks Foster (fifth round – St. Louis Rams). Foster pulled in 30 passes for 334 yards and two touchdowns, while Tate caught 16 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns in just six games.


In 2007, Nicks set the single-season school record with 74 catches for 958 yards (third-most in UNC history) and five touchdowns. Tate and Foster each had 25-plus catches and 400-plus receiving yards. Tate recorded five receiving touchdowns and rushed for 131 yards and another touchdown, while Foster had two receiving touchdowns.


Williams went to North Carolina after serving as wide receivers coach at the University of Arizona from 2004-06. There, he developed Syndric Steptoe into a two-time honorable mention All-Pac 10 performer who was the Wildcats’ leading receiver in 2006 with 55 receptions for 568 yards. He was also one of the nation’s top kick returners, ranking in the top 25 in both punt returns and kickoff returns. Steptoe went on to become a seventh-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2007. Mike Thomas was Arizona’s second-leading receiver that year with 50 catches, and led the team in receiving yards with 597. He later became a fourth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2009 draft.


The year before, Thomas set the freshman school record with 52 receptions to go along 771 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Steptoe caught 37 passes for 493 yards, while Anthony Johnson made 32 catches for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Steptoe led the team in both receptions (30) and receiving yards (446) in 2004.


Williams also coached one season for Lou Holtz at South Carolina in 2003, where he helped develop Troy Williamson, who would become a 2005 first-round NFL draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings. Williamson led the team with 31 receptions that year.


Prior to South Carolina, Williams spent six seasons (1996-2001) as receivers coach with Tony Dungy and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tutoring standout performers such as Keyshawn Johnson, Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green. Johnson was chosen to play in three Pro Bowls while Williams was his position coach. The 2000 and 2001 Tampa Bay offenses set several franchise offensive records, and the team advanced to the playoffs four times during his tenure.


Prior to his first NFL stint, Williams was wide receivers coach for three seasons (1993-95) at Miami, two under Dennis Erickson and one under Butch Davis. In 1993 and 1994, Williams coached Chris T. Jones, who led the Hurricanes in receiving and was first-team All-Big East both years. The 1993 Hurricanes (9-3) played Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl, and Jones led Miami with six catches for 98 yards. Jones went on to be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft, along with A.C. Tellison, who was drafted in the seventh round that year by the Cleveland Browns. Williams was part of the 1994 Miami staff that led the Canes to a 10-2 finish and played Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. He also coached Yatil Green, who was eventually a first-round pick in the 1997 draft by the Miami Dolphins.


A native of Long Beach, Calif., Williams began his coaching career at Long Beach City College in 1984. He worked as wide receivers coach for two years at New Mexico State (1986-87), four seasons at TCU (1988-91) and one year at Minnesota (1992) before joining the Miami program.


A 1982 graduate of Colorado State, Williams played two years as a defensive back for the Rams (1978-79). He and his wife Lisa, have two daughters, Sydney and Jada, and a son, Gregory.


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