Richard Williamson

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Richard Williamson (born April 13, 1941 in Fort Deposit, Lowndes County; died September 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina) was a former Alabama Crimson Tide football player and assistant coach who went on to coach in the National Football League.

Williamson played wide receiver for two years, in 1961 and 1962, under coach Bear Bryant. He caught Joe Namath's first touchdown pass and was named to the All-Southeastern Conference team. He testified in a libel case against the Saturday Evening Post, which had alleged that Bryant and Georgia coach Wally Butts had conspired to throw a game.

Williamson was selected by the Boston Patriots as the 55th overall pick in the 1963 NFL draft, but he declined a professional contract in order to remain at Alabama as an assistant coach. Alabama won back-to-back national championships in 1964 and 1965. Williamson left to join Frank Broyles' staff at the University of Arkansas, then returned for Tuscaloosa for the 1970 season, and then back to Fayetteville in 1972.

In 1974 Williamson was hired to succeed Fred Pancoast as head coach of the Memphis State Tigers. He spent five seasons there and was twice named the Southern Independent Conference's Coach of the Year. He posted losing records in last three seasons, however, and was fired after the 1980 season. For the next several years he served as executive director of the Bluebonnet Bowl in the Houston Astrodome.

In 1983 Williamson returned to coaching as an assistant to John Mackovic with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. In 1986 Mackovic was fired and Williamson took a job with former Crimson Tide coach Ray Perkins as offensive coordinator on his Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff.

In 1990 Williamson was a candidate to succeed Bill Curry as head coach of the Crimson Tide, but was passed over in favor of Gene Stallings. Instead he filled in for Perkins as interim head coach of the Buccaneers before being given the permanent job for the 1991-1992 season. His team went 3-13 that year and he was replaced by Sam Wyche.

From 1992 to 1994 Williamson served as receivers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. He left to take the same job with the Carolina Panthers in 1995 and remained there until his retirement in January 2010, briefly serving as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator under George Seifert.

During his time with the Panthers, Williamson twice more interviewed for the head coaching job at Alabama, losing out to Mike DuBose in 1996 and to Mike Shula in 2003.

Williamson died in 2015 from a heart attack. He was survived by his wife, Norma, and two children: Rich and Caroline.