Alan Williams
Defensive Backs/Safeties


With 16 years of defensive coaching experience, Alan Williams joined the Lions staff in 2014 as the team’s defensive backs/safeties coach after serving as the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator for two seasons (2012-13). He finished his 15th season coaching in the NFL in 2015, with previous stops with the Indianapolis Colts (2002-11) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2001). In 2006, he mentored the Colts’ defensive backs en route to the team’s 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.


2015: Williams’ impact on Detroit’s secondary was evident in his first season and his leadership of the position group carried over into the 2015 season.

  • With a start at Chicago in the 2015 season finale, S Glover Quin recorded his 100th consecutive career start, which is currently the longest active streak among safeties and second among all defensive backs.
  • Quin sealed the Lions’ 24-20 victory over Chicago in the fourth quarter when he picked off a Bears pass to stop a potential go-ahead drive with 2:00 left to play. With four interceptions in 2015, Quin became the first Lions defensive player to tally 4+ interceptions in back-to-back seasons since CB Dré Bly accomplished this three-straight years from 2003-05 (6 in 2003, 4 in 2004, 6 in 2005).
  • Williams’ safeties led the team in tackles seven times in 2015, with defensive backs (including cornerbacks) leading the team in 10 games.
  • S Isaiah Johnson earned a roster spot after joining the Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Georgia Tech in 2015. He finished the season playing in six games and made one special teams tackle.

2014: Quin finished the 2014 season with the League lead in interceptions with seven under Williams’ guidance, becoming the first Lions player to lead the NFL in interceptions since Hall of Fame CB Lem Barney in 1967 when he registered 10 during his exceptional rookie campaign. He is also the first Lions player to grab seven picks in a season since S Kurt Schulz (7) in 2000.

  • Quin was named to his first-career Pro Bowl and also received Second Team Associated Press All-Pro honors for his efforts. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 15, the third Lions player to receive the honor in 2014 (LB DeAndre Levy, Week 1; DE Ezekiel Ansah, Week 6).
  • As a unit, the Lions safeties led the NFL in interceptions with 11 and ranked fourth in pass defenses with 20.
  • S James Ihedigbo followed closely behind with four interceptions in 2014, as he was tied for fifth among all NFL safeties. In his first season in Detroit, he finished with 71 total tackles (59 solo), two sacks (10 yards), eight pass defenses, a career-high three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery after missing the first three games of the season due to injury.
  • A security valve for both the Lions secondary and special teams units, S Don Carey recorded his first-career fumble return touchdown in Week 3 vs. Green Bay (9/21) on a 40-yard scoop and score in the first quarter. In his 13 games in 2014 he registered seven tackles (six solo) and five special teams tackles (four solo).

During Williams’ tenure as defensive coordinator in Minnesota (2012-13), the Vikings were tied for seventh in sacks with 85 and ninth in tackles for loss with 91. In 2013, the Vikings defense overcame a variety of injuries as three players in the defensive backfield, S Andrew Sendejo, CB Marcus Sherels and CB Shaun Prater, logged their first career interceptions under Williams’ watch. Veteran DE Jared Allen led the team in sacks with 11.5, his seventh straight season with 10+ sacks, as fellow DE Brian Robison recorded a career-best nine. 

Williams spent a decade coaching the Indianapolis Colts secondary where he worked with some of the League’s most elite defensive backfield talent, including S Antoine Bethea and S Bob Sanders. From 2002-11, the Colts ranked in the Top-6 in the NFL in passing defense five times and finished out of the Top-15 only once. Williams guided Bethea (2007, 2009) and Sanders (2005, 2007) to two Pro Bowl seasons each. Sanders was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, the first Colts player to ever receive the honor.

From 2002-10, the Colts earned nine-consecutive playoff berths, during which the defense recorded 18 interceptions in the playoffs, including seven during the team’s playoff-run to their Super Bowl XLI win over Chicago in 2006. Williams’ secondary also helped the Colts defense in 2008 set an NFL record for fewest passing touchdowns allowed with six, the lowest number ever surrendered in a 16-game season.

Williams began his NFL coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001 as a defensive assistant under former head coach Tony Dungy, where he worked with All-Pro players in the likes of John Lynch and Ronde Barber. That season, Williams coached alongside current Jaguars Defensive Assistant Monte Kiffin and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin as the Bucs finished 9-7 and earned an NFC Wild Card berth.

A former standout running back at William & Mary from 1988-91, Williams later returned to his alma mater where he coached the running backs and defensive backs for five seasons (1996-2000). His first coaching stint was as an assistant head coach at Norview (Va.) High School where he kindled his craft for working with running backs and defensive backs from 1992-95.

Williams was born November 4, 1969. He is a native of Norfolk, Va. and he and his wife, Lisa, have three children – Christian, Solomon and Nathan.

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