One of Auburn football’s all-time legends is coming back to the Plains.
Cadillac is ready for another ride — in the place he calls home.
Former on-field Tigers great and now-new Auburn running backs coach Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams said he is ‘ecstatic’ and ‘grateful’ to be joining the Tigers staff, per the school’s announcement made Wednesday afternoon trumpeting that he’d been brought aboard by Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.
Williams set program records and became beloved by Auburn fans during his playing days at Auburn in the early 2000’s. He was an All-American the year he helped lead Auburn to a perfect 13-0 season and an SEC Championship in 2004.
“I’m ecstatic, super excited and humbled to have the opportunity to return home to Auburn and coach at a place that helped me become the man I am today,” Williams was quoted as saying in the program’s release Wednesday.
He’s set to coach running backs under Malzahn in the place of former Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton, who moved away from that role and into an off-field role with the team earlier this month.
Williams is a rising, young coach, but one Malzahn called “a great fit” for the Tigers’ program.
“Carnell Williams is one of Auburn’s all-time greats and we’re excited to welcome him home,” the head coach said.
“He understands and cares deeply for this university and the Auburn football program, while bringing a great knowledge of the game,” he added. “He knows first-hand what it takes to be a successful running back at the highest level and has a tremendous work ethic. We’re glad to have him at Auburn and know he will be a great coach and mentor to our running backs.”
Williams’ joining of Auburn’s staff will mark his first experience coaching with a power program.
After a legendary playing career at Auburn and a seven-year run in the NFL, Williams’ coaching career back at Henderson State in 2015, where he served as the program’s running backs coach. He was then the running backs coach at famed IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for two seasons in 2017-18.
He was recently working as running backs coach for the Birmingham Iron of the upstart Alliance of American Football, set to play its first games this spring.
Birmingham Iron head coach Tim Lewis called Williams a ‘fine, young coach’ in a statement released moments after Auburn’s announcement of the hire.
As for Williams, he said he’s grateful and appreciative of Malzahn, the Tigers’ coaches and the Auburn administration for the opportunity coming his way.
“Words can’t explain the emotions I had when I received the offer from Coach Malzahn,” Williams said.
Williams set records in his playing days at Auburn, and is still among the most prolific players to have ever suited up on the Plains.
He was selected fifth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, and won the league’s Rookie of the Year award that fall. Knee injuries eventually limited his every-down production in the NFL, before he settled in as a third-down blocking and pass-catching specialists for several teams down the stretch of his run in the league.
He came back to Auburn to graduate from the university in December of 2014.
“One of the main reasons I got into coaching was to give back and serve others,” Williams said. “I want to help players reach their ultimate goal and steer them the right way on and off the field.
“I’m not sure there’s a better place I can do that than at Auburn, where I’m forever indebted. I’m excited to get to work. I can’t wait to meet the players and staff, get involved in the community and help get Auburn to the championship level year in and year out that we know we are capable of.”