“Sometimes In Life You Have To Walk Away” | Ed Reed Won’t Be The Next HBCU Savior With Bethune-Cookman

Ed Reed fired from Bethune-Cookman
The Ed Reed era as head football coach at HBCU Bethune-Cookman lasted 25 days. His good friend Deion Sanders told Reed, “Sometimes in life you have to walk away.” (Photo:Screenshot/YouTube @livingwitnessTV)

Pro Football Hall Of Famer Ed Reed has announced the Bethune-Cookman football program will not proceed with him as their new head coach.

The shocking news broke on Saturday and came on the heels of Reed agreeing in principle to become the new leader of the HBCU program a few weeks ago, following the firing of Terry Sims who went 2-9 in consecutive seasons.

Ed Reed Says Bethune-Cookman Doesn’t Want The Truth

An emotional Reed spoke to players and parents for about 15 minutes, saying this.

“We’ve been around here trying to change things,” Reed said. “My vision for change, probably moving too fast for a lot of people, I’m not withdrawing my name, as they said. They don’t want me here. They do not want me here because I tell the truth.”

Reed then took to social media to give a detailed version of the events that took place in Daytona Beach on Saturday.

“After weeks of negotiations I’ve been informed that the University won’t be ratifying my contract and making good on the agreement we had in principle, which had provisions and resources best needed to support the program.

“I was committed to coaching and cultivating a relationship with the University, Players, Community and the Fans. It’s extremely disappointing that this won’t be happening,” Reed said.

Did Reed’s Social Media Outburst Play A Role?

Last week Reed expressed his frustration with his new job via video and social media. That move was quickly followed by an apology from Reed, who in the viral video let it be known that he’d been on the job over a week and still hadn’t signed his contract. He also blasted the campus for being “dirty.”

Reed finished by saying Coach Prime was right about HBCUs and how things are done. The broken mentalities of the decision-makers, among other things.

Reed again apologized for the moment on Saturday saying, “I’m a good man, not perfect. We all make mistakes, and I apologized for mine.”

That, unfortunately, wasn’t good enough in the eyes of the Bethune-Cookman decision-makers, and now Reed is out less than a month after agreeing in principle to take the job.

Bethune-Cookman issued a statement on the situation. 

“While we appreciate the initial interest in our football program displayed by Mr. Reed during the course of recent weeks, we are also mindful of the qualities and attributes that must be exhibited by our institutional personnel during what we have been uniquely challenging times for our campus as we recover from the impact of two hurricanes during this past fall semester,” the statement said in part.

Coach Prime Shows Support To Good Friend

Reed’s good friend and former teammate Deion Sanders reached out to him on a very tough day telling him this via conference call.

“I know you do not want to leave those kids,” said Sanders. “Sometimes in life you have to walk away.”

Sanders, the former Jackson State Tigers head coach, who left in December to become the head coach at Colorado in early December, offered Reed help and guidance concerning the situation.

While Sanders offered help after the fact, another NFL great, Eddie George, who’s the Tennessee State Tigers head coach, did the same on MLK Day during his appearance on the “Rise & Grind” show.

“It’s frustrating. He didn’t understand exactly what he was getting himself into,” George said of Reed. “When you get under the hood and you really see what’s going on, and you do see mold in the apartments and you see mold in the dorm rooms, and you see the facilities. The locker room is not the best. It’s not clean. It’s all of those things. But guess what? That’s why you’re there.”

“I choose to do it through action. I choose to do it through, hey, let me roll up my sleeves and get in front of these people. Corporations, the president, the politicians,” George said. “It’s not a place where you can take great pride in, because there’s no plan to move it forward.”

George is correct, Reed couldn’t have known what he was asking for when he agreed in principle to take over the dormant Bethune-Cookman football program. Coaching at an HBCU isn’t all bells and whistles, and that was known before these current crop of NFL legends-turned-college coaches ever made the decision to set foot on those respective campuses. While it’s definitely unfortunate, the challenges faced by HBCUs as compared to PWIs should come as no surprise. It’s like night and day, and that will only change if everyone is working together for the collective good. If not, the same results will continue to transpire.

How Are Recruits Affected By Ed Reed’s Departure?

Now with Reed no longer a part of the Wildcats’ plans, how will that affect recruits who wanted to play for him because of his NFL cachet?

There were reportedly 26 recruits on campus Saturday for their official visits as the news broke of Reed’s situation with the program.

Not exactly a good look for a football culture hoping to begin a resurgence, after winning six MEAC championships since 2000. In the SWAC they haven’t experienced much success at all since joining the conference in 2021, going 4-18.

Maybe Reed could’ve helped turn things around, but we’ll never know.