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Longtime NFL coach Williamson dies

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Richard Williamson, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and veteran NFL assistant, died this week after a brief illness. He was 74.

Williamson coached the Buccaneers in 1990 and 1991 and had a 4-15 record. He joined the original Carolina Panthers in 1995 and remained with the team through three head coaches until he retired after the 2009 season.

Williamson coached wide receivers for all but one of his 15 seasons with the Panthers, and one of his star pupils was Steve Smith.

“When I didn’t want to listen or even work everyday he did!!! I was very lucky to have had him in my life,” Smith posted Wednesday on Instagram.

Current Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl played under Williamson for three years.

“When I think of Richard, I think of your old school coach,” Proehl said. “He knew how to get the best out of you. He coached with tough love and got results and I had a great respect for him.”

Williamson began his coaching career at Alabama after playing for Bear Bryant and with Joe Namath. He went on to work in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Panthers.

“We are very saddened by the loss of Richard Williamson,” the Buccaneers said in a statement. “Richard dedicated the majority of his life to the sport of football, spending over forty years as a coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. During his career, including his five seasons as a member of our organization, Richard distinguished himself as a very good coach and even better person. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family.”


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