LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska cornerbacks coach Donte Williams stepped off the bus outside of Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. He was wearing a black pair of pants, a black and grey Blackshirts pullover sweatshirt and a pair of wireless headphones over his ears. Williams looked like everyone else stepping off the bus that day, until you looked down.
To complete his game-day look, Williams sported a pair of Christian Louboutin‘s ‘Rollerboy Spikes’ flat loafers. They’re showstoppers in a bright red color with an equally unique red sole, making them perfect for a Nebraska game day.
This isn’t unusual for Williams. He’s known for the shoes he wears — at least among those who know him best. Walking off the bus against Northern Illinois, he donned a slick-looking pair of heather grey Oxfords on his feet.
“That’s definitely one of my things. I’m a shoe guy,” Williams said. “Everyone has their hobbies or have those things they’re in love with, and I’m in love with shoes.”
Williams’ shoe collection pales in comparison to that of former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos — her collection topped out around 3,000 pairs — but Williams holds his own. He currently estimates his collection at 400 pairs.
And to keep that many shoes, you need to have a place to store them. For Williams, it’s a closet designated specifically for shoes — à la Macklemore, if you will. He declined to a share a photo of the coveted shoe closet just yet, but only because it remains a work in progress.
His closet holds several pairs of Louboutins, approximately 65 pairs of adidas and a newly acquired pair of Kanye West’s Yeezys. Nebraska director of player development James Rodgers can be thanked for the latter.
But when Williams arrived in Lincoln, he didn’t own a single pair of adidas shoes. The two most recent programs he coached at prior to Nebraska were Nike schools (Arizona and San Jose State). Once a Husker, though? His collection had to adjust.
Williams holds on to his shoes, though. He doesn’t get rid of too many. He also can’t explain how or when the obsession began, but he’s specific with how he keeps and cares for his shoes.
“Everything I keep, I keep it looking brand new,” Williams said. “If I had a shoe from two years ago, I still wipe it off every time I wear it and put it in a box so it still looks brand new.”
So, does Williams have a favorite pair? He says no, only because he’s never worn one pair enough to rise above the others.
And you’d think it would be hard for Williams to choose what to wear daily, but it’s easier than one might assume.
“I pick out a pair I usually haven’t worn,” Williams said. “I still feel like a player. If you look good and you feel good, you usually play good. I try to keep that motto as much as possible.”
He tries to switch up what he’s wearing weekly, ensuring a new pair is on his feet when he steps off the team bus on game day. That means this Saturday will bring a brand new pair of shoes for Williams against Rutgers.
It’s a personal tradition in some ways, and one Williams wouldn’t have any other way.
“That’s what I do every week,” Williams said. “That’s just my thing.”