After turning down FL State, James Willis explains why he stayed at ULL
- by Doug Samuels 6 months ago
There aren't very many coaches out there that get an offer to join a coaching staff that is still reeling from a national title. Even fewer turn that opportunity down after much thought and prayer.
Louisiana-Lafayette defensive coordinator James Willis is one of those select few.
After originally deciding to leave his defensive coordinator position on Mark Hudspeth's staff Wednesday night for an assistant coaching position on Jimbo Fisher's staff, Willis changed his mind and had a conversation with Hud on Thursday morning where he made it clear that he wasn't going anywhere.
Later, Willis (who spent his first season with the team this past fall) issued a statement explaining his decision.
“My decision to leave the Ragin’ Cajuns program has weighed heavily on me since I announced my decision to the players last night. After some soul-searching over night, I spoke with coach Hudspeth earlier today about this, and he invited me to remain with the Cajuns." Willis said in his statement (via College Football Talk)
“It was hard to tell that group of young men, who just 12 months earlier had welcomed me into the program, that I was leaving. I could see the disappointment in their eyes when we talked. We asked them to buy into the system that we were teaching and the result was a Sun Belt Conference title."
“After thinking about things further, I feel I owe the players more than just one season after they responded so well to our philosophy. Professionally, I believe it is in my best interest of my coaching career to remain a coordinator instead of stepping back to become a position coach.”
I can only imagine the relief that coach Hud felt when his defensive coordinator walked into his office on Thursday morning with change of heart. With ULL coming off a conference championship year, and Hudspeth and his coaching staff firmly in place, there could be some big things happening for the Ragin Cajuns come fall.