Cadillac rolls into Clanton for Auburn Unsung Hero Banquet

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The Chilton Auburn Club hosted its 55th annual Unsung Hero Banquet on May 22 in Clanton to recognize arguably the most important piece of the Auburn University football program the last few years. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams was awarded the Unsung Hero Award for 2023 after he was named the interim head coach on Oct. 31 during the 2022 college football season. Williams went 2-2 during his four games at the helm, and helped stabilize a rather tumultuous program at the time. Auburn fans from Chilton County piled into the 6th Street Warehouse to celebrate the success of Williams and his new role as associate head coach. Williams will also return to his previous post as running backs coach as well.

“I want to thank all of you for this award,” Williams said during his acceptance speech. “Auburn football is in good hands (with coach Hugh Freeze), and it will not be long until Auburn is dominating college football again.”

Williams grew up in Gadsden and attended Etowah High School before enrolling at Auburn from 2001-2004 where he was named the SEC player of the week nine times and compiled 5,033 all-purpose yards. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and was named NFL and AP Rookie of the Year in 2006.

However, Williams won over the hearts of Auburn fans with his stellar play in college, and his bravery last season taking over for the relieved Bryan Harsin. Williams went from the running backs coach, which he had been since 2019, having five to six players he is responsible for to the head coach position where he was responsible for the entire program. Williams spoke about the process of how the opportunity came about, the struggles he had to face during his tenure and the future of the program as a whole.

“I thought it went really well, our numbers (from last year) were up and we had a lot of good comments about how it went,” Tammy Price, president of the Chilton Auburn Club, said. “Everyone was impressed and enjoyed listening to Cadillac talk about how he came to be in the position he was last year.”

The club handed out $15,000 worth of scholarships to present and future Auburn University students as well at the program. Thao “Mindy” Tran and Andrew Hinson of Chilton County High School were both awarded $5,000 through the Jim Wadsworth Endowment Scholarship. Tran will be pursuing a degree in civil engineering, and Hinson is pursuing a degree in crop and soil science. Hinson was awarded the scholarship last year as well and maintained his GPA and reapplied for a second year.

The Chilton Auburn Club awarded Thorsby High School’s Emily Parker a $5,000 scholarship on behalf of the club. Parker will be studying wildlife sciences at Auburn.

The John McAfee Award was presented to Jim Wadsworth “for his dedication to the program.”

“His support for the program is immensely appreciated,” Price said.

The Chilton Auburn Club enjoyed a meal together before the program began and items were auctioned off following the program. Some of the items included signed footballs, basketballs, tickets to games and handmade quilts with proceeds going towards the club’s scholarship funds.