Williams honored with statue, appreciates career at Texas


The Associated Press

Former Texas running back Ricky Williams stands in front of a statue dedicated to him before the Texas Orange and White spring NCAA college football game, Sunday, April 1, 2012, in Austin, Texas.

Lauren Giudice

On Sunday, Ricky Williams’ statue was unveiled. Dreadlocks and all.

“Close enough,” Williams said laughing about the likeness.

Williams saw the statue last summer when it was still clay. But the 8-foot, 1,000 pound statue was finally revealed to Williams and Texas fans on Sunday at Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium.

“For me, it’s a statue of me. But I guess I look at it more as a celebration of the University and the time I spent here and the success I had was a reflection of the University; and I think had I gone to any other school I don’t think I would have had the kind of success that I had,” Williams said.

The university commissioned David Deming to build the sculpture in November 2010.  Deming taught at Texas for 26 years and was the Dean of the College of Fine Arts.  He was formerly the president of the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Williams was part of a team that helped turn around the Texas football program. One of his goals coming to Texas was to be a part of the transformation of a struggling football program.

In his Texas career, Williams rushed for a then-NCAA record of 6,279 yards, including 2,124 his senior year.

“Just being in this environment for four years was just amazing,” Williams said. “I can honestly say that pretty much every day was a great moment here. I had a lot of great friends and I had so much support from the football office and everyone in it. I had great coaches, great teammates.”

Williams does not believe he would have had nearly as much success in his career if he had gone to a different university. He said the Longhorns coaching staff and the environment gives athletes all the tools they need to be successful. The expectations are so high that athletes have a great opportunity to succeed.

“If you want to be the best then go ahead and take it,” Williams said. “I think Earl [Campbell] proved it, I proved it, Vince [Young] proved it, Colt [McCoy] proved it. I look at the statue as kind of a symbol for everyone that comes to the University here to say, I want them to look at that and say, ‘I want mine to be right next to Ricky’s.’”

Williams has been enjoying Austin for the past couple of days and it looks like he will be around for a while. Although he has been traveling a lot since he retired, he has decided to go back to school at UT in the fall.

“It’s going to be funny being a student and walking by my statue,” Williams said.

Approximately 30,000 fans came out for the Orange-White game, and it is probable that most of these fans were here to support the legend. Fellow Heisman winner Earl Campbell was also in attendance.

Williams said he has no regrets in his career.

“Regrets are when you have a goal and your goal is not reached. When I got to the NFL I didn’t really have any goals,” Williams said. “After 11 seasons, I’ve realized even more so that I’m a special person, a unique person.”

But the 35 year-old is enjoying his retirement and his statue will remain outside of Darrell K Royal Memorial stadium to honor his legacy as one of the greatest Longhorns in history.

“Something I say a lot is if you want to be an actress or an actor, you go to Hollywood,” Williams said. “If you want to shop, you go to Paris or New York. If you want to play college football then you come to Austin, Texas. I came here for the college football experience and I got that and a million times more.”