NFL Alumni

Larry Williams makes his mark as lineman, lawyer and athletic director

Former Cleveland Browns draft pick returns home after being named AD at the University of San Francisco

Editor's note: This is the next in a series presented by the NFL Alumni that profiles former NFL players who have transitioned into the business world. 

Larry Williams is not someone who backs away from challenges.

Williams, an NFL alum, was recently named the director of athletics at the University of San Francisco. It will be his fourth athletic director’s job at a Division I school in the last 18 years.

Larry Williams
Larry Williams

After playing at Notre Dame, Williams was a 10th round draft choice of the Browns in 1985. He was an offensive lineman for nine seasons in the league. In addition to Cleveland, he played with the Chargers (1989-91), Saints (1991), and Patriots (1992-93). While protecting his quarterbacks on the field against Hall of Famers such as Howie Long and Reggie White, Williams spent his "spare time" away from the locker room hitting the books. He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law before he stopped playing in 1994.

Williams began his career as an educator and athletics director at the University of Portland in 2004. He joined Marquette University in 2012 and accepted a similar administrative post at the University of Akron in 2015. His contract at Akron ended in 2021 and Williams chose to take some time off during the pandemic after a successful term at that school.

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However, the California native decided this summer to return to his home state and the allure of the USF program. He was matched against 40 other candidates and is pleased that he was hired.

"I am extremely excited to help build upon the university’s storied achievements,” Williams said. "It’s a great honor to be selected as USF’s athletic director. The vibrance and diversity of this university community and the city of San Francisco provides an unmatched setting to achieve extraordinary success here.”

Williams and his wife Laura Lee have five adult children, who at this point must have a varied selection of college jerseys in their wardrobe.

Williams rejoins the ranks of other NFL alumni who currently are athletic directors at prestigious schools, including Alan Haller (Michigan State), Trev Alberts (Nebraska), and Josh Whitman (Illinois).

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The NFLA consists of 42 alumni chapters with a membership of over 3,500 former players, coaches, team executives, cheerleaders and avid fans. The organization raises money for the Player Care Foundation and local youth charities. Golf plays an important role in helping fund NFLA charities. Each year, more than 150 members participate in the NFLA's annual Super Bowl of Golf.

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