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 Legendary football coaches turned ADs know what they‘re doing when it comes to hiring successful football coaches

by Lut Williams

What‘s the deal with legendary black college football head coaches becoming athletic directors? One thing they all have in common as ADs is the ability to pick quality head football coaches.

Long ago, it was Mario Casem, who spent 20 years as athletic director at Alcorn State (1966-1986), most while also serving 22 years (1964 to 1985) as the Braves‘ football coach. Casem won a school-record 139 games during his time at Alcorn. He then became AD at Southern for 13 years (1986 to 1999) including a three-year run (1987-88, 1992) as the Jaguars‘ head coach.

Casem hired Pete Richardson at Southern in 1993 after three straight losing seasons. Richardson finished second in career wins to legendary Southern coach Arnett “Ace“ Mumford, posting 106 wins in 17 successful seasons (1993-2009) leading the Jags. Richardson won five SWAC championships and four black college national titles during his tenure.Pete Richardson

More recently, at the end of a 30-year coaching career which spanned successful stints as head coach at Winston-Salem State (1976 to 1987) and North Carolina A&T State (1988 to 2003), Bill Hayes tried his hand as an AD, first at his alma mater, North Carolina Central (2003 to 2006) then on to Florida A&M (2007-08). He retired last year in the AD position back at WSSU (2009 to 2014). Hayes is the career leader in wins at A&T (106) and is second at WSSU (89).

As an AD, Hayes brought current North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway to the black college ranks when he hired him to lead N. C. Central football in 2003. The Eagles had posted one winning season in the past six years. Broadway won back-to-back CIAA championships and one black college national title in his four years leading the Eagles.Rod Broadway | Connell Maynor

When he moved on to Florida A&M, Hayes lured successful veteran Joe Taylor from Hampton to become the head Rattler. And when he returned to WSSU, after it struggled trying to join the MEAC, he brought in current Hampton head coach Connell Maynor to lead the Rams. Maynor proceeded to post a 45-6 record over the past four seasons, win back-to-back CIAA titles, earn three straight trips to the Div. II playoffs, one appearance in the Div. II national championship game and one black college national championship.

The most recent entry into the coaching legend-to-AD track is the aforementioned Taylor, who had stints as a head coach at Howard (1983), Virginia Union (1984 to 1991), Hampton (1992 to 2007) and Florida A&M (2008 to 2012)

Taylor left FAMU with a 35-18 record two years ago and wrote a book, “The Making of a Champion, Success is an Inconvenience,“ before returning to VUU as AD in December. He is the all-time winningest coach at Hampton (136), has the highest winning percentage (60-20, .740) of anyone who coached at VUU for more than two years and only trails FAMU legends Jake Gaither (.844) and Billy Joe (.651) with his .648 winning percentage in Tallahassee.

When he was named VUU AD in December, one of his first orders of business was to hire a new head football coach. The Panthers had not posted a winning season in the four years prior.vuufb coaches

After an exhaustive search, Taylor and his committee chose VUU alumnus Mark James as the head man. Five games into the 2014 season, and headed into Saturday‘s homecoming game vs. Lincoln, James has the Panthers at 4-1 ovarall, and at 2-0 in conference play on top of the CIAA North Division.

They were picked in the preseason by league coaches to finish fifth in the six-team North Division, and were pegged as the CIAA‘s tenth best team with just two teams rated below them. Saturday‘s battle with Lincoln begins the Panthers‘ five-game set vs. North Division foes.

The last time VUU won more than five games was in 2007.

James, a former lineman at VUU who played under CIAA and Panther legend Williard Bailey, was on track to earn his Ph.D. in higher education administration this past June. The former high school coach in South Florida with a remarkable record of getting his players college scholarships, says he uses his academic accomplishments to inspire his players.

Keep your eye on James and the Panthers.


Also keep your eye on the situation at Florida A&M where second-year head coach Earl “The Hitman“ Holmes is reportedly on the hotseat.famu holmes

The once-mighty Rattlers are winless at 0-5 headed into Saturday‘s home date against also-winless Savannah State (0-5). It‘s the first time a Rattler team and head coach have begun the season 0-5 in school history. And, under Holmes, the Rattlers have lost seven straight home games.

Ratter fans started chirping on social media about the need for a coaching change after a 48-3 drubbing at the hands of Coastal Carolina on Sept. 20. And that chatter grew louder with a 27-7 loss to Tennessee State a week later and even louder after last week‘s 24-9 loss to Morgan State, its first in conference play.

Losing to Savannah State, the conference doormat at 1-23 since becoming a regular MEAC member in 2011, would likely make the noise unbearable.


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