Donte Williams has just done something that no other head coach in the history of college football has done. As the interim head coach of the USC Trojans, Williams has become the first Black man to lead the program in its storied history.
“I feel like this is the opportunity I was born for,” Williams said in a video posted on the program's Instagram page.
“To be the first African American head coach at USC means a lot to me. I mean it’s a lot of people who came before me that have paved the way for me to have this opportunity.”
While Williams holds a unique distinction within the program's history, it is important to note that he has not earned the job outright. Williams was only elevated to the position of interim head coach after Clay Helton was relieved of his duties earlier this year. Moreover, USC has failed to hire a Black coach in the previous 132 years it has fielded a football team. Unfortunately, USC is not the only prominent program with this issue.
As reported by the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, three of the 11 Black "Power 5" head coaches were fired last season. Adding on, The Undefeated reports that no Black head coaches were hired in the "Power 5" conferences last season.
Given the lack of Black head coaches at major college football programs, a number of prominent USC football stars have rallied around Williams. Most notably, Rodney Pete, one of the few Black quarterbacks to ever start at USC, believes that Williams has the right energy to revitalize the program and take it to new heights.
“When over 50 percent of your team is Black, you have to have that diversity in your coaching staff, and leadership is so important that way,” Pete told the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.
“If there is a dramatic turnaround with his team, I do hope they give him that shot [as head coach].”