Football player Doug Williams was born on August 9, 1955 in Zachary, Louisiana to Laura Williams and Robert Williams, Sr. He attended Chaneyville High School, where he began to show an interest in sports. Under the mentorship of his older brother, Robert Williams, Jr., Williams excelled in baseball. As a football player, Williams initially trained as a linebacker, but disliked the rough nature of the position until he was switched to playing quarterback. As a senior at Chaneyville High School, Williams threw for 1,180 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was recruited by Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana upon graduating in 1973, where he was mentored by legendary college football coach Eddie Robinson.
In 1978, Williams was drafted 17th overall in the NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the first African American quarterback to be picked in the first round. During his five years with the Buccaneers, he led the team to the playoffs three times. Williams chose to leave the Buccaneers in 1983 to join the United States Football League. After the league ended in 1985, he was recruited by the Washington Redskins in the following year as a backup quarterback to Jay Schroeder. In the subsequent 1987 season, Williams replaced an injured Schroeder as the starting quarterback, leading the team to Super Bowl XXII. The Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10, and Williams was named MVP with 340 yards passing, and 18 of 29 completed passes. That same year, he founded the Doug Williams Foundation, which awarded more than a $100,000 in college scholarships in 1988. In 1989, Williams retired from the NFL, and went on to coach at several schools at the high school and college level, including Zachary’s Northeast High School, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Morehouse College. In 1998, Williams succeeded his former coach as the head coach at Grambling State University. He also served as personnel executive with his former NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins. In 2017, Williams was named the senior vice president of player personnel with the Washington Redskins.
In recognition of his accomplishments as a quarterback, Williams was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001, and into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor and the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame in 2015.
Williams and his wife, Raunda Ashner Williams, have eight children.
Doug Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 22, 2018.