AUBURN, Ala. – Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams will join Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin’s staff as running backs coach, Harsin announced Friday. A former all-American at Auburn, Williams served as the Tigers’ running backs coach the last two seasons.
“I’m fired up to have Cadillac on our staff,” Harsin said. “After several conversations it was easy to see how much passion he has and his desire to learn, grow and develop in the coaching profession. Just spending time with him you see why he is the ultimate ambassador for Auburn football, and that goes beyond just being an elite player but an elite person.”
Under Williams’ tutelage in 2020, freshman running back Tank Bigsby was named the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year and Associated Press SEC Newcomer of the Year after leading all freshmen in the conference with 834 rushing yards. Bigsby was the first Auburn freshman in school history to rush for three consecutive 100-yard games and his 834 yards were the second most all-time at Auburn by a rookie.
During his first season in 2019, the Tigers posted five 100-yard rushing games and D.J. Williams earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for his performance against LSU. In two seasons, Williams’ backs have tallied nine 100-yard games and three SEC weekly honors.
“Auburn is a special place to me and I’m appreciative for this opportunity to be a part of Coach Harsin’s staff and coach at the school that made me the person I am today,” Williams said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to talk football with Coach Harsin and can’t wait to be part of something special.”
As a player at Auburn, Williams helped lead Auburn to an undefeated season in 2004 while earning All-America honors that year. The 2005 NFL Rookie of the Year, Williams had a seven-year NFL career before entering the coaching ranks.
A native of Gadsden, Alabama, and product of Etowah High School, Williams finished his Auburn career (2001-04) with 3,831 yards on 741 attempts with 45 touchdowns. He broke the Auburn career record of most running attempts, passing Joe Cribbs, and most touchdowns scored, passing Bo Jackson, while finishing second in total rushing yards and all-purpose yards.
As a senior in 2004, Williams helped lead the Tigers to one of the best seasons in program history, winning an SEC Championship en route to a perfect 13-0 season and a Sugar Bowl victory. He led Auburn in rushing with 1,165 yards and 12 touchdowns while tallying 1,718 all-purpose yards. He earned All-America honors, was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year, and named to the All-SEC team.
In his four seasons at Auburn, Williams earned nine SEC Player of the Week honors, the most in league history. During his time on the Plains, the Tigers were 37-14 and won three SEC Western Division titles (2001, ‘02, ‘04).
He remains as Auburn’s No. 2 all-time rushing and is the Tigers’ career leader in rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns.
The fifth pick overall pick of the 2005 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Williams was named the NFL Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies in rushing yards with 1,178, while posting six 100-yard rushing games in 14 starts. Williams spent six seasons with Tampa Bay before spending his final season in 2011 with the St. Louis Rams.
After being slowed by injuries for several years, Williams was narrowly edged for the AP 2009 Comeback Player of the Year Award by Tom Brady, finishing second after rushing for 821 yards on 210 carries with a 3.9 average and four touchdowns during the 2009 season.
Williams finished his NFL career with 4,038 yards with 21 touchdowns and 148 receptions for 1,002 yards and four scores.
Williams’ coaching career started at Henderson State in 2015 where he served as the running backs coach. After a stint at the University of West Georgia in 2016, Williams was the running backs coach for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for two seasons (2017-18). Williams also served as the running backs coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Williams graduated from Auburn in December 2014. He and his wife Evan Williams have two boys: Cole and Cuinn.