Cadillac Williams will be Auburn football associate head coach on Hugh Freeze's staff

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AUBURN — Cadillac Williams is being retained on Hugh Freeze's staff and is also receiving a promotion to associate head coach.

Williams, a Gadsden native who was the interim head coach for Auburn football after the university fired Bryan Harsin on Oct. 31, made the announcement Tuesday morning via Twitter, just about an hour before Freeze was formally introduced at a news conference.

Freeze and Williams met Monday night shortly after it was made official Freeze was going to be the next coach. In that meeting, he asked Williams to stay at Auburn and join his staff.

"I don't know if I had to plead and beg (for Williams to stay) ... but I was planning to, and went after it," Freeze said. "I think the words (I said to him) were just, 'You're invaluable. I need your wisdom. I need you to tell me about the players. I need you to tell me about the building. Who is really vital to us getting this program back to SEC championships?'

"I think the word I would use (for Williams) is invaluable. I don't that I can describe it any more than that."

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Williams, who played running back at Auburn after a standout career at Etowah High School and went on to the NFL, went 2-2 as interim coach during his month on the Plains, beating Texas A&M and Western Kentucky at home but losing to Mississippi State and Alabama on the road. The game in Starkville went to overtime, but the Bulldogs held on to avoid an upset.

Also of note, Williams said Tuesday he interviewed with Auburn athletics director John Cohen for the coaching vacancy.

"That was about a week ago," Williams said. "I did have the opportunity to state my case, but look, that's old news. Like I told them whenever they brought me the news, honestly, they looked more disappointed than me. They were like, 'I'm sorry.' But I'm like, I'm disappointed, (but) I'm not upset."

The former Auburn running back was a lightning rod for the program after Harsin was fired and he was elevated. He united the fanbase, and players unanimously vouched for him when asked. He also became the first Black head coach in the program's history.

Despite this, he decided to stay on the Plains when he could've likely left for a larger role elsewhere.

"These past four weeks with these kids has been incredible," Williams said. "And right now, I prayed about it, right now this is where I want to be. I'm forever indebted to the institution. It gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to do some cool things.

"Like I say: I met my wife here, we have two beautiful boys. ... My family is happy, I'm happy and I'm looking forward to the future."

To open Tuesday's press conference, Cohen pointed Williams out in the crowd, praised him for what he did as the interim coach and the room gave him a standing ovation.

"I want to recognize Carnell Williams, who did an incredible job as our interim coach," Cohen said. "Just a tremendous job as a leader − not only for our football program, but for our university as well. ... I know coach Williams had a great meeting with coach Freeze last night, and I'm just thrilled to say that we're going to have two great leaders leading this football program. (I'm) so excited about that."

Richard Silva is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter @rich_silva18.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Hugh Freeze retains Carnell Williams as Auburn football associate HC