TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., today named Nelson Townsend as the interim athletic director.
Townsend has almost 40 years of experience in athletics and administration, including serving two stints as FAMU's AD from 1986-87 and 2005-07. He was responsible for elevating the athletic program at the University of Buffalo from Division III to Division I in three-and-a-half years. Townsend also served twice as AD at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore (UMES) from 1976-79 and 2003-05.
“Mr. Townsend has been a pioneer in education and athletics throughout his career,” said Mangum. “His integrity, strength of character, and ability to lead and inspire are precisely what the University needs at this moment in its history.”
Commenting on his appointment as interim AD, Townsend said, “I am pleased that President Mangum has the confidence in me to select me to serve as the interim athletic director as this most crucial point. I look forward to working with her, the Board of Trustees, students, coaching staff, faculty, alumni, and supporters to help our student-athletes reach their maximum potential on the field and in the classroom.”
Townsend replaces Kellen Winslow who submitted his resignation Sunday, citing his desire to pursue other career opportunities. Winslow, who served eight months as athletic director, took over a program with declining attendance, a need for improved facilities, and budget shortfalls being experienced across the board by most intercollegiate athletic programs.
“Today, I accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Kellen Winslow,” said Mangum at a news conference. “Mr. Winslow informed me that after careful and deliberate consideration he has decided to pursue other career opportunities. I concur with this decision.”
In his continuing efforts to support Dr. Mangum’s vision for FAMU, Winslow’s resignation letter included a cash donation of $1,500 to help fund tutoring services for student-athletes and a pledge for another $1,500 for the Athletic Department’s soon to be launched “Adopt-A-Number” program.
Mangum added, “I’d like to thank Kellen Winslow for his commitment to FAMU and his tireless efforts to obtain funds to modernize our athletic facilities, improve the program’s financial condition, and enhance academic progress and graduation rates.”