High school football coach punted for resume padding
Pity James Allen, the high school sports reporter for the Times Union in Albany, N.Y. He, unlike the Albany school board, fact-checked the resume of Robbin Williams, hired as fourth head coach in four years for the moribund football program at Albany High (3-33 in the last four seasons, 19 straight losses dating back to Oct. 19, 2007). Turns out Williams, a prison guard and former high school assistant, not only padded his resume, but is also a horrible, horrible liar.
A copy of Williams’ resume, obtained by the Times Union, states he has an extensive pro football background, including participation in six NFL training camps, and says he was a member of the [Arena Football League’s] Albany Firebirds in 1993 and 1994.
To attend an NFL training camp, a player must sign a contract with the team. Officials from three of the NFL teams listed on Williams’ resume — the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and New England Patriots — confirmed … no one named Robbin Williams ever participated in any games or had been invited to a training or free-agent camp.
When questioned … Williams stated he had tryouts with six NFL teams lasting one to two days. He said he never signed with a team or attended a training camp. He said he couldn’t specifically remember what he wrote on his resume.
Williams also told the Times Union he was a member of the 1988 Washington Redskins as a replacement player. Replacement players were used in the NFL for three weeks during the 1987 season while the regular players were on strike. Williams never appeared in any game and could not give a specific amount of time he was with the team.
Williams also said … that he “played with the Albany Firebirds during their first season in 1992.” The Albany Firebirds were a member of the Arena Football League and played at the Knickerbocker Arena, now the Times Union Center, from 1990 through 2000.
A story that appeared in the May 21, 1991, edition of the Times Union regarding area players trying to make it with the Firebirds included Williams, who signed a few days earlier, but who was cut before Albany’s June 1 opener. …
When asked … about his time with the Firebirds, Williams said he never appeared in a game for the franchise.
He was then asked if he was a practice player with the team, he said, “You could say I was a practice player.” Williams said he was with the Firebirds for “about one month.”
On his resume, however, Williams states being a Firebirds’ team member in 1993 and 1994.
Robbin Williams also hedged on whether he made numerous, hammy talk show appearances.
And does Allen get thanked for bringing Williams’ resume fudges to public attention? Of course not.
Allen, lamenting in the April 26 Times Union, a few days after the school board withdrew its offer to Williams:
People who didn’t know me weren’t very flattering in their assessment of my work on this story. I was told I had ulterior motives — that I was out to get Albany High. I even was called a racist more than once because I’m white and Robbin Williams is black.
In other words, a number of the people who read his saga wondered why I pursued this story, or assumed the answer.
The real answer is the story chased me, not the other way around, once Williams started talking and facts started getting fractured. I simply wouldn’t be doing my job unless I looked into something I knew was wrong.
Albany High has made the Washington Post’s list of top high schools in the nation. But the school board must stay out of the way of that business. Because if the way it handled this easily-checked-out football hire is any indication, it’s no wonder the team is in such lousy shape. Then again, if the grief Allen got is indicative of the people who voted in that school board, no wonder it had its collective head up its ass.