Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Deion Is Gone. Ed Reed is SWAC Now

The legendary former Ravens safety is the latest retired NFL player to take over an HBCU program.

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In this Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed displays his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during a halftime ceremony at an NFL football game between the Ravens and the New England Patriots in Baltimore. Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed has agreed to become the football coach at Bethune-Cookman and is leaving his job with the Miami Hurricanes, the schools announced Tuesday night, Dec. 27, 2022.
In this Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed displays his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during a halftime ceremony at an NFL football game between the Ravens and the New England Patriots in Baltimore. Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed has agreed to become the football coach at Bethune-Cookman and is leaving his job with the Miami Hurricanes, the schools announced Tuesday night, Dec. 27, 2022.
Photo: Nick Wass (AP)

Neon Deion is no longer SWAC but it didn’t take long for another Pro Football Hall of Famer to take his place in the ranks of HBCU head coaches.

Ed Reed, who spent the majority of his career with the Baltimore Ravens before retiring in 2015, was announced yesterday as the next head coach at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. The move has boosters of the school, which plays in the same Southwestern Athletic Conference the Deion Sanders just departed, hoping for a similar turnaround from its most recent 2-9 record in 2022.

If having similarities in their playing careers is any pretext for judging how Reed’s tenure at Bethune-Cookman might go, then its fans and alumni have good reason for high hopes. Like Sanders, Reed was a defensive back (although at safety, not corner), who was considered among the best players of his generation. Both were feared for their ball-hawking abilities, though Sanders was arguably faster and Reed was inarguably a more vicious tackler. Both ended up with gold jackets and busts in Canton, Ohio.

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But Reed has an edge in coaching experience at the college and pro level. Following his 2015 Hall of Fame induction, Reed was hired as a defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills and, since 2020, has been an advisor and “chief of staff” at the University of Miami, his alma mater. Sanders hadn’t coached at the college or pro level before he was made head coach at Jackson State University in 2019, but he still led the program to unprecedented success on the field and in recruiting top-level high school talent.