Deion Sanders may have been the first prominent former pro-football player to coach at an HBCU, but he won’t be the last. Bethune-Cookman University announced NFL Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Raven Ed Reed will be their next head football coach.
“Bethune-Cookman University Athletics has entered an agreement in principle with Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed to be its 16th head football coach. More information will be forthcoming,” the school’s athletic department tweeted on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Founded by legendary educator Mary McLeod Bethune in 1904, the private HBCU is in Daytona Beach, Florida. According to a report by ESPN, the nine-time pro-bowler and Super Bowl champion will take the reins of a struggling football program that went 2-9 last season.
The announcement was a welcome one to HBCU football fans. Claude ‘Tony’ Flot is one of them. The general manager of New Orleans’ Crescent City Kings, who also attended Southern University, Flot praised the hire.
“Ed Reed is one of the smartest and most dominant safeties of my generation. He has a personality the young men at Bethune Cookman will relate to,” Flot told Moguldom Nation. “The time is now for HBCU football programs to make hires like this to build on recent successes like those seen at Jackson State.”
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A Louisiana native, Reed retired from playing in 2013. He began coaching in 2016 as a defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills. Yahoo Sports reported he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2019, his first year on the ballot.
Reed, 44, had a storied collegiate and professional career. He was a first-round draft pick for the Ravens in 2002 and became one of the most dominant NFL players on the field.
He will head to Bethune from his alma mater, the University of Miami, where he spent the last three years as a senior football adviser.
This development makes Reed the third retired NFL player to become a head coach at an HBCU since 2020, when Sanders took the top job at Jackson State.
In 2021, former Tennessee Titan Eddie George took the head coaching job at Tennessee State University. Though the school is not in the SWAC conference, it is a very popular HBCU.
Bethune is in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and news of Reed’s hiring caused SWAC to trend on Twitter Wednesday. Many expressed excitement over Reed leading Bethune’s program.
“I’d like to take this time to officially welcome HC Ed Reed @TwentyER to the SWAC, the best conference in the world! Looking forward to battling on the gridiron and growing our program brands together brother,” Florida A&M University Coach Willie Simmons tweeted.
“All I can say is YES YESSS YESSSSS !!!!!! It’s Y’all turn now & I can’t wait to see them 4 & 5 stars coming into the SWAC Cause it’s Time Bethune about to Turn Up in the SWAC,” @KeepitupFam tweeted.
“Them kids already posting their film in the Ed Reed comments to play for Bethune Cookman,” @yardtalkhbcu tweeted accentuated by a laughing emoji. “I love it #SWAC #HBCUs.”
“Loving that hire for Bethune-Cookman! Congratulations Ed Reed,” former NFL player Damien Woody tweeted.
Front Office Sports highlighted Reed’s leadership style by sharing an old clip in which he spoke about holding his teammates accountable for the little things.
“Ed Reed has officially landed his first head coaching job at Bethune-Cookman. His approach to leadership is all about the little things,” the outlet tweeted.
Another user humorously highlighted the decades-long, friendly rivalry between Bethune and FAMU.