TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Auburn interim head coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams took the blame for his team’s 49-27 loss to Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Saturday. There were too many mistakes, which he said he was responsible for.
But Williams couldn’t help but look back on the last month since Bryan Harsin’s firing and feel pride for the way players, coaches and staff responded. Since then, with Williams as interim coach, Auburn went 2-2 with wins over Texas A&M and Western Kentucky.
Williams has participated in the Iron Bowl as a player with the Tigers and reflected on adding another chapter in his history with the rivalry. Despite the outcome of the game, he couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed by the personal achievement of being the first Black man to serve as a head coach in the Iron Bowl’s more than 100-year history.
Williams said he told players about making history the night before the game and “it almost broke me down.”
“We don’t dream about being a head coach, to be honest with you,” Williams said. “For people after me striving to do these things — a lot of things in life, if you can see then you can strive for it and you can start believing it.
“Pretty cool. Pretty cool. I’m very thankful and honored for that. Can’t nobody take that away from me, no matter what goes on. Nobody.”
Despite Williams’ success as the interim coach, Auburn appears to be looking elsewhere for its next head coach. ESPN reported Saturday that the school is in in talks with Liberty’s Hugh Freeze.
Williams, who is also the first Black coach in Auburn history, didn’t address Freeze or his own future during an emotional 24-minute news conference.
He said he was “humbled and honored” by the way players responded to him from the time he took over for Harsin. Being embraced by fans and the administration “meant everything.”
Williams saw a broken team in the aftermath of Harsin’s firing. He said they needed help. Players weren’t doing what they should academically, he said, and that changed almost immediately.
“These last four weeks have been very special,” he said. “The future is bright.”
Cadillac Williams ‘thankful’ for stint as interim Auburn coach