Early last month Yale quarterback Patrick Witt faced one of the most difficult decisions of his life. With a Rhodes scholarship interview scheduled on the same day as the Yale-Harvard game, the senior was forced to choose between one of the world’s most prestigious scholarships and one of the biggest rivalries in all of collegiate sports.
Fortunately, Witt was able to seek counsel from another former finalist — Yale head coach Tom Williams.
Witt stunned many by playing in “The Game” and skipping the interview.
The Bulldogs lost the game 45-7, and now, in a strange twist, they’ve lost their coach.
Williams resigned Wednesday amid a university investigation into whether he lied about being a candidate for the Rhodes scholarship on his resume. The coach’s finalist candidacy was referred to during recent coverage of Witt’s predicament.
In November, the New York Times reported officials of the Rhodes Trust had no records of Williams applying for the fellowship when he graduated from Stanford in 1992. The story prompted an internal investigation into Williams’ resume.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Williams said he never applied for the scholarship.
“I considered the opportunity, sought advice and was encouraged to apply by faculty members and my coach Bill Walsh, but I did not apply.”
Williams also acknowledged that a line in his biography on the Yale football Web site stating he played for the San Francisco 49ers practice squad in 1993 is not entirely accurate. Williams said in his statement that he attended a tryout with the team but never signed a contract.
The resignation will take effect on Dec. 31, but athletic director Tom Beckett said the school has already begun searching for a replacement.
“I am extremely proud of my academic, athletic and coaching career,” he said. “If there was confusion created, I take full responsibility. The timing of this inquiry has been difficult for everyone. At this point I believe it is in the best interest of my student-athletes and Yale University that I step down.”
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