BCU Football must purge itself in order to rise again
And it all falls. It wasn't long ago when we were the undisputed kings of Black College Football. At one point, we compiled the best record over an entire decade, 9 straight wins against the big annoying state school up north, 2 FCS playoff appearances, 2 Black College Football National Championships and several MEAC championships.
Do you understand how good we were? Before every home game the announcer would ask the most important question of the day: "Who will ascend to the top of the mountain?" There was a time when we knew the answer to that question was always BCU regardless of the opponent. If you ask that same question before a game today, the answer would be the exact same, the only difference this time, is no one believes it anymore.
What happened? How could a team that was so good be so bad, so fast? Some people say the pandemic. Others blame administrative decisions. Some say budget cuts. Me? I think the answer has been in our face the whole time. Let me explain:
Aight, so boom…
In Coach Wyatt’s final season (2009), he went 5-6 and lost to FAMU 42-6 in his final game. It should be noted that the prior year, 2008, we went 8-3 but we lost to FAMU that year as well.
The very next season following Wyatt’s departure, we hired Brian Jenkins, a practical no-name assistant coach from Rutgers University. In his first season at the helm, Jenkins led the team to a 10-1 record with a lot of the same key players that Wyatt went 5-6 with. Jenkins did bring in key transfers Eddie Poole and few others that helped us greatly, but the team was mostly the same from the year prior.
What we didn’t appreciate at the time is that Jenkins would not lose more than 3 games during any of his 5 seasons at Bethune-Cookman (this includes playoff losses). In fact, he amassed, Two 10-win seasons, two 9-win seasons, one 8-win season and for good measure, only one loss to the big annoying state school up north during his time. For all his baggage, perceived or otherwise, Jenkins set a new standard of excellence for Bethune Cookman football and left with a 36-13 overall record. His time was short-lived but will go down as maybe the most consequential era of Bethune Cookman football in our history.
For contrast (and with all due respect), Coach Sims has a much more varied time here at Bethune Cookman. He succeeded Jenkins and led us to an impressive 9-2 upstart season. Unfortunately, that was a high-water mark that we would never see again. The very next season we fell to 4-6 and that was the first red flag. Over the rest of his time, he would amass three 7-win seasons and after yesterday’s loss to the big annoying state school up north, we’ve now completed back-to-back 9-loss seasons. He should receive some praise for beating FAMU 5 straight times however, Coach Sims overall record now sits at 38-40.
38 wins. 40 losses. Ouch.
I say all this to say, we don’t need to run it back with Brian Jenkins or Alvin Wyatt or any other retread. They’ve all had their time here and we thank them for it. More importantly, I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that it’s time for us to thank Coach Sims for a great effort and move on with a new leader of our football program. I won’t ever question his effort or his will to win or lead our young men through tough times, but if we are to rise back to football glory, we must purge our football program and recalibrate. I take no pleasure in publicly calling for a person to lose their job, but this is the nature of high stakes collegiate coaching. The bottom line is simple, it’s time to clean up the house. It’s time to win again. If I learned anything from the Jenkins hire, it’s that there are plenty of good, no-name potential head coaches just waiting for an opportunity to be at an HBCU and lead a team. Just like when Jenkins arrived on campus, none of us knew who he was. Before we could even blink, we were on top of the football world. That can happen again.
The good news is we don’t have to suck, y’all. A.D. Reggie Theus can do something about it today. We can right the ship. I can’t think of one good reason why we should stay on this current course after all we’ve seen. And yes, I am fully aware of the other critical issues surrounding our institution, but the Football program is still one of the biggest revenue generating entities on campus and thus a necessary financial lifeline for our university. Football matters.
Lastly, this all comes from a place of love. I wish nothing but the best for the coach’s staff and players, but if we are to ascend to the top of the mountain again, then we must ask the hard questions and be honest about any and everything concerning Bethune Cookman University.