AROUND THE IVIES: Yale's Williams Resigns, Murphy Wins NE Coach of the Year

Published by Robert S Samuels and E. Benjamin Samuels on December 21, 2011 at 3:12AM

Harvard coach Tim Murphy was named the New England Coach of the Year Wednesday morning after leading the Crimson to a 9-1 record in 2011

In light of a Yale University investigation over the accuracy of football coach Tom Williams’ resume, the three-year Bulldog coach resigned Wednesday, finishing his career at the school with a 16-14 record.

In the weeks leading up the The Game—which for the fifth-straight year, Harvard won, 45-7—Yale quarterback Patrick Witt garnered national attention for having to decide between a final interview for the Rhodes Scholarship and playing in the annual Harvard-Yale contest. As the storyline unfolded, Williams remarked that he faced a similar dilemma in having to choose between his own final interview for the Rhodes and NFL tryouts on the same day.

After the Rhodes committee noted that it had no record of Williams’ application for the prestigious scholarship, Yale University launched an investigation into the claims of its head coach.

“On the Rhodes Scholarship issue, I was encouraged to apply by the Stanford Fellowship office, which identified me 'as the kind of student who demonstrates the intellect, energy and commitment that the Rhodes selection committees seek in their applicants,'” Williams said in a statement. “I considered the opportunity, sought advice and was encouraged to apply by faculty members and my coach Bill Walsh, but I did not apply.”

In his Yale University bio, Williams was listed as a member of the 1993 San Francisco 49ers practice squad, a claim which he also said was untrue in a Wednesday statement.

In his final season at the helm, Williams led the Bulldogs to a 5-5 record. He never won a game against Harvard.

With Williams’ resignation effective Dec. 31, Yale promised to promptly begin its search for a new head coach.

Williams is the second Ivy coach to leave his post this offseason after Columbia fired its head coach, Norries Wilson. In Wilson’s six-year tenure, the historically lackluster Lions went 17-43, and their 1-9 mark in 2011 prompted Wilson’s dismissal. On Dec. 11, Columbia introduced Pete Mangurian, a former offensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as Wilson’s replacement.

Williams—the first African-American coach in the program’s history—and Wilson had been the only two African-American football coaches in the conference.

NEW ENGLAND COACH OF THE YEAR

The day wasn’t all bad for Ivy League football coaches. Early this morning, Harvard coach Tim Murphy was named the New England Coach of the Year after leading the Crimson to a 9-1 record and its first Ivy League title since 2008.

It was a historic football season for Harvard and for Murphy. As a team, the Crimson set a modern-era record for points scored in a season and, for the first time in program history, clinched the Ancient Eight title outright with a week to go in the year.

And after a victory against Columbia, Murphy passed the late Joe Restic, Murphy’s predocessor, as the all-time wins leader in Harvard football history.

Since the end of the season, Murphy’s name has a emerged as a possible candidate to replace former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, though Murphy denies any contact with the university. The Nittany Lions have yet to announce who will replace the legendary former head coach, though a decision is expected soon.