Special Teams Coordinator
Bobby Williams joined Mario Cristobal’s staff in January 2018 as Oregon’s special teams coordinator, giving the Ducks a veteran coach with more than three decades of collegiate and professional coaching experience.
Williams came to Oregon after 10 seasons at Alabama (2008-17), where he worked on staff with Cristobal from 2013 to 2016. Williams served as special assistant to head coach Nick Saban in 2016 and 2017 after working for eight years (2008-15) as the Crimson Tide’s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.
As special assistant to the head coach, Williams helped guide the Crimson Tide to the 2017 national championship as well as a runner-up finish in 2016. Alabama finished with a combined record of 27-2 during Williams’ tenure in that position.
The 2015 season saw tight end O.J. Howard rack up 602 receiving yards on 38 catches with Williams as his position coach. Howard shined in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game that season, racking up 208 yards and two touchdowns on five catches to earn Offensive MVP honors and lead the Crimson Tide to the national title win over Clemson.
Williams’ special teams unit also proved to be a huge factor in Alabama’s national championship victory, as kicker Adam Griffith successfully executed an onside kick in a tie game with just 10:34 left in the game to give the Crimson Tide the ball and set up a go-ahead touchdown. With less than eight minutes to play, Kenyan Drake returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to extend Alabama’s lead to 38-27 and help seal the national title win.
Griffith earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2015 after making 23-of-32 field goals and averaging 63.2 yards on kickoffs with a career-best 55 touchbacks, and punter JK Scott averaged 44.2 yards per punt while pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line 25 times.
In 2014, Scott was named a finalist for the Ray Guy Award and earned All-America honors after averaging 48.0 yards per punt to lead the nation as a true freshman. He also led the nation in percentage of punts inside the 20-yard line (54.2) and net punting yardage (44.67).
Williams developed Howard into a freshman All-American and a dangerous threat at tight end as a true freshman in 2013, as Howard averaged a team-best 19.2 yards per catch while scoring two touchdowns. Senior punter Cody Mandell also flourished under Williams' tutelage with a school-record 47.1 yard punting average on 39 attempts, leading the nation in net punting at 42.4 yards per punt. Christion Jones ranked second in the SEC in both kickoff and punt returns, while Cade Foster handled field goal duties and connected on 12-of-17 attempts.
In 2012, Williams was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, presented to the national assistant coach of the year, as he helped lead the Tide to their second straight national title. Alabama's tight ends combination of Michael Williams and walk-on senior Kelly Johnson performed well with 29 receptions for 222 yards and four scores. Jeremy Shelley was the only kicker in the nation to not miss a kick, going 69-for-69 on extra points and hitting all 11 of his field goals. Mandell turned in a career season with a 44.3 yards-per-kick average, 19 punts inside the 20-yard line and 14 punts of more than 50 yards.
On special teams in Alabama’s 2011 national championship season, Marquis Maze ranked ninth in the nation and third in the SEC with 13.2 yards per punt return and one touchdown, earning him a spot on the All-SEC Second Team as a specialist. Alabama ranked 19th in the nation in kickoff returns (24.1 ypg), and the Tide allowed only 11 punts to be returned for a total of 51 yards.
In 2010, Trent Richardson ranked 29th nationally in kickoff returns and Maze was 16th in punt returns.
During the Tide’s 2009 national championship season, Williams had to replace a pair of senior tight ends from the 2008 roster. The Alabama offense did not miss a beat, as Colin Peek emerged as one of the team's top targets, earning second-team Associated Press All-SEC honors after hauling in 26 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns. Williams also oversaw 2009 Lou Groza finalist Leigh Tiffin at place-kicker, and Tiffin also earned first-team AP All-America status. Additionally, Javier Arenas set the SEC career records for both punt return yards and touchdowns. Fitzgerald had a career season for the Tide in 2009, averaging 41.5 yards per kick and landing 19 inside the 20-yard line.
The special teams in 2008 were a big weapon for the Tide under Williams in his first season in Tuscaloosa. Arenas broke two punt returns for touchdowns, Tiffin was a Groza Award semifinalist and connected on 20-of-29 on field goals, while Fitzgerald had a then-career-best average of 41.1 yards per punt with 15 inside the 20.
Williams spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons as the running backs coach with the Miami Dolphins. In his first season, Miami averaged 118.6 yards rushing per game, the second-best figure by the team from 1985-2005.
In 2004, Williams served as the associate head coach and wide receivers coach at LSU, where he coached a pair of future NFL first-round picks in Craig Davis and Dwayne Bowe. Davis and Bowe ranked in the top 10 in the SEC for both receptions per game and receiving yards per game in 2004.
Prior to LSU, Williams had a one-year stint with the Detroit Lions as wide receivers coach in 2003.
Williams earned experience as a collegiate head coach from 2000 to 2002, as he followed Saban as the head coach at Michigan State. He led the Spartans to a victory over Florida in the 2000 Citrus Bowl after the 1999 season in his first game as the school's head coach. He also guided Michigan State to a 7-5 mark in 2001, his second full season as head coach. That season culminated with a victory over Fresno State in the Silicon Valley Football Classic, making Williams the first coach in Michigan State history to lead his team to victories in his first two bowl appearances.
An assistant on the Spartans staff for 10 years (1990-99) before taking over as head coach, Williams tutored the running backs under Saban from 1990 to 1998 before adding associate head coach to his duties in 1999. Williams helped produce nine individual 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his time coaching the running backs, including T.J. Duckett, Atlanta's first-round draft choice in 2002.
Williams earned first full-time coaching role at Ball State (1983-84) as running backs and defensive backs coach, and he followed that with a five-year stint (1985-89) at Eastern Michigan. Williams coached running backs at Eastern Michigan from 1985 to 1988, and then earned the title of assistant head coach for the 1989 season.
Williams is a 1982 graduate of Purdue, where he earned his degree in general management and was a four-year letterman for the Boilermakers. He started his career at running back before moving to the secondary and starting in his final three seasons. A tri-captain as a senior in 1981, Williams was a part of three bowl teams as a player. He was then a graduate assistant at his alma mater for five months before accepting the full-time coaching job at Ball State.
A native of St. Louis, Williams and his wife, Sheila, have a daughter, Nataly, and a son, Nicholas.