MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Former Memphis Tiger running back DeAngelo Williams announced a $250,000 gift for the University of Memphis football program, Wednesday. This is the second gift Williams has made to his former football team. He also donated the money for the renovations of the current locker room in 2011.
“In 2002, I was so grateful to have walked across my high school stage to the announcement that I would be attending the University of Memphis! I sit here today fully understanding what that meant, knowing that I now have the capability to impact a kid’s life to hear those very same words just by a donation!” Williams stated. “This is the least I can do, because Memphis gave me my wife, my career, and taught me how to grind! For that, I’m thankful. I only hope my donations throughout the years help the players and the program!”
This gift will be used for updates in the Billy J. Murphy Football Complex and in the Tigers’ nutritional development program. The entire Memphis football staff moved into the new addition of the Murphy Complex earlier this fall, gaining a new team dining area, new coaches offices, a new recruiting room and a new athletic training facility in the process.
“We are so very grateful for the generosity of DeAngelo Williams,” Head Coach Mike Norvell said. “He has been a tremendous ambassador of our program throughout his career on and off the field. This gift goes directly to enhancing the experience of our current football players and our nutritional development program, as well as celebrating the traditions of Tiger Football and great players in our past with the Hall of Honor.
I would like to thank Marcus Bell for the time and thoughts in helping develop this vision and for his involvement with all our Tiger players.”
A first-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2006, Williams was a key factor in the Tigers participating in three straight bowl games (2003-05) for the first time in school history. A candidate for the Heisman Trophy in 2005, Williams finished his career as the all-time leading rusher in school history with 6,026 yards and 55 touchdowns on 969 carries. In his 44 career games, he logged 34 contests (an NCAA record) with 100-plus yards rushing, including a career-best 263 yards against USF in 2004.
“We want all of our former Tigers to feel a part of this athletics program,” Interim Athletic Director Allie Prescott said. “We have gotten to where we are in large part thanks to their hard work and to have their support as we strive to move forward is crucial to our success. My congratulations to Marcus Bell for his work in this area and to Coach Norvell for his vision for this team and the work that is unfolding as we try to make that happen. And thank you to DeAngelo for his continued support of the Tigers.”
Named to several All-America teams during his career, Williams was selected as the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year three straight seasons. In 2005, he was named to the prestigious Walter Camp All-America Team and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Named the MVP of the 2005 Motor City Bowl and the 2006 Senior Bowl, Williams had his jersey retired in a ceremony at the Liberty Bowl during the 2006 season. He was inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame in 2014.
He continues to work with his foundation, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, in the fight against breast cancer.