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Ed Reed Won't Become Bethune-Cookman HC, Says School Won't Ratify His Contract

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 21, 2023

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Former NLF player Ed Reed attends Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed announced Saturday that he will no longer become the head football coach at Bethune-Cookman University.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Reed wrote that Bethune-Cookman "won't be ratifying" the contract he agreed to with the university:

Ed Reed @TwentyER

With great sadness… <a href="https://t.co/bhcusZIsW9">pic.twitter.com/bhcusZIsW9</a>

Reed noted that his contract included "provisions and resources best needed to support the student athletes," but Bethune-Cookman and his legal team were unable to finalize the deal.

The university had announced on Dec. 27 that the 44-year-old Reed would be its next head football coach, replacing Terry Sims.

Reed posted a video of himself addressing the Bethune-Cookman football team Saturday on Instagram. Reed included the following caption with the video: "I am NOT withdrawing my name as the Head Coach at Bethune Cookman. The administration and the AD are forcing me out. Thank you to all that supported me and my staff through this process. Good day and God bless."

Emmanuel Acho @EmmanuelAcho

Ed Reed was notified by Bethune-Cookman that he will no longer be the Head Coach.<br><br>His response was one of the most impassioned speeches I've ever heard &amp; he states <a href="https://twitter.com/DeionSanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeionSanders</a> was right. Reed clearly loves these kids.<br><br>*Warning* β€” Language <a href="https://t.co/M4scgM8ZR9">pic.twitter.com/M4scgM8ZR9</a>

Earlier this week, Reed went on Instagram Live and angrily criticized the facilities at Bethune-Cookman.

At one point, while upset that his office wasn't cleaned out prior to his arrival, Reed proclaimed, "I should leave. I'm not even under contract."

Reed would later apologize for his actions, noting that he was "encouraged" by the communication he had with athletic director Reggie Theus and the commitment to make improvements:

Ed Reed @TwentyER

To my <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcu?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcu</a> family and supporters <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hailwildcats?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#hailwildcats</a> <a href="https://t.co/4mFMvucuiX">pic.twitter.com/4mFMvucuiX</a>

Bethune-Cookman is a historically black college/university (HBCU) located in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the hope was that Reed could follow in the footsteps of what Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders did at Jackson State.

Before Sanders arrived as head coach at Jackson State in 2020, the Tigers hadn't had a winning record since 2013, but he led Jackson State to a 4-3 mark in 2020, followed by 11-2 and 12-1 seasons in 2021 and 2022, respectively, both of which yielded Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.

Sanders was able to land big-time recruits at Jackson State despite interest from elite FBS programs, and he parlayed that success into landing the head coaching job at the University of Colorado.

Bethune-Cookman is in a situation similar to that of Jackson State before Sanders' arrival. The Wildcats have struggled since joining the SWAC in 2021, finishing 2-9 in each of the past two seasons.

Reed was a nine-time Pro Bowler, five-time first-team All-Pro, one-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one-time Super Bowl champion in 12 NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Houston Texans, and he would have brought instant credibility to a downtrodden program.

Instead, Bethune-Cookman will turn its attention elsewhere in its attempt to go from cellar-dweller to contender in the SWAC.