GRAMBLING, La. (AP) Grambling State fired head football coach Doug Williams on Wednesday after the Tigers lost the first two games of the season.
The university announced it bought out the remainder of the former NFL quarterback's contract.
Running backs coach George Ragsdale is taking over as interim head coach.
Grambling had a 1-10 record in 2012 - including going 0-9 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference - under the 58-year-old Williams. Grambling lost its opener to Alabama State 23-9 and was dominated by Louisiana-Monroe 48-10 last weekend
Williams, who led the Washington Redskins to a win over the John Elway-quarterbacked Denver Broncos in 1988, became Grambling's head coach in 1998. Then in 2004 he moved to a front-office job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He returned to Grambling as head coach in 2011, when he led the Tigers to a SWAC championship.
The university said in a statement that it decided to "move in another direction" in ending Williams' contract, which ran through next season.
"We recognize Doug Williams' many contributions to our football legacy, and we express our deep appreciation for his service to Grambling State University and we wish him well in the future," Grambling President Frank Pogue said in the statement.
Williams told The (Monroe, La.) News-Star that Pogue informed him of his firing during a meeting in the president's office on Wednesday morning.
"There wasn't a lot of conversation. I told him, `OK,' and I was gone," Williams said.
Williams' son, D.J., is a quarterback on the team.
"I know D.J. is emotional, but I told him he has to be strong and he told me he will," Doug Williams told the newspaper. "That's all I need for him to be strong. If he's strong, his daddy is going to be all right."
Williams quarterbacked Grambling State. He was a first-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 1978 and played for Tampa until 1982, when he went to the startup USFL.
He joined the Redskins in 1986.
Ragsdale also played in the NFL, for the Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.