[mpoverlay]Doug Williams is suing Grambling State University for what he calls a “renege on contractual promises” and an attempt from the school and the University of Louisiana Board to force a “take it or leave it” situation. Williams alleges that a contract he negotiated with Grambling State President Frank Pogue contained language on salary, performance bonuses and guarantees that, when brought before the system board for vote, were all reduced or removed from amended versions of his deal.
It won’t be the first time Williams and Grambling have not been on even terms with money, but it should be the last. While family ties and a slim number of inquiring NFL front offices seeking his services may hold him back, Coach Doug’s next move out the door would be his best move.
Doug Williams has been Grambling’s greatest alumnus, advocate and asset for more than 30 years. He’s won titles as a student athlete and coach. He’s raised money for the university as a booster and public disciple of the black and gold. In his disagreements with the university, he’s never distanced himself from publicly championing the school’s mission and value.
There is no more readily associated, willingly affiliated HBCU celebrity in the country than Williams. Doug can do no more to prove his loyalty to Grambling. He can win multiple SWAC football championships, he can raise millions of dollars, and he can bring fans and positive media to the institution.
But he can’t convince Grambling and the U of L System to pay him the money everyone outside of the state seems to know he’s worth.
Dr. Pogue, one of the smartest men in HBCU culture today, knows Doug can’t be persuaded to take a hometown discount, particularly when DW is partly responsible for the town’s very viability. He knows that Williams is a revenue stream unto himself, with corporate sponsorships and alumni giving in support of athletics delicately hitched to his ability to bring football championships home to the Tigers.
If the U of L board will obstruct Dr. Pogue’s best laid plans for retaining the most popular alumnus the school has ever known and its best coaching talent and benefactor, than he should move to secure all alumni, local business owners and other stakeholders in a room on campus and say “all of us are screwed if this man leaves. How can we dig a little deeper to make this happen?”
But if there are personal issues that makes that meeting slow to occur or just a fleeting thought in the minds of all involved, then Doug Williams should cut his losses, phantom contract and work his way back to an NFL front office. While there appears to be no hard feelings on the outside, some insiders say there is plenty of hurt on Williams’ part tracing back to transgressions of presidents past, and a lack of communication from Dr. Pogue and others in present negotiations.
Dollars and discontent will never mix, particularly when the state says a departing Doug Williams makes more fiscal sense than a justly compensated one. But Doug isn’t departing this time. He’s suing. And that could cost the school, the system, and Doug Williams’ legacy more than either side can easily afford.
So Doug should leave. He should settle with the school, say his goodbyes for the last time as a coach, and support the one thing both sides value more than football victories.
Loyalty to each other.[/mpoverlay]