FAMU drops interim title for Eason
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
When John Eason came out of retirement to run FAMU’s athletic department with interim before his name, he did so to maintain stability.
But three months later and three key hires, Eason will have to put his plans to return to retirement on hold for awhile. He was recently named permanent athletic director by President Larry Robinson.
The announcement was made on the steps outside Hall, with most of FAMU’s coaches looking on. He promised them change will come, especially for those whose programs have not had winning seasons in recent years.
“I’ve been a football coach,” said Eason, who coached at the University of Georgia. “I know what it feels like to have confetti fall on you. I know what it feels like to sit in the locker and hold your head down.
“But always remember there is a new day coming. As we move forward, in knowing that one thing will happen and must happen is that we must work together. I know that I can’t do it by myself.”
Eason replaced Milton Overton, who surprisingly announced his resignation late last year. Since he took over in December, Eason made three important hires.
Keith Miles was brought on as deputy AD, Kendra Greene as associate athletic director for compliance and senior woman administrator, and Willie Simmons as head football coach.
Eason’s promotion puts to rest speculation that Miles was being groomed to become the next fulltime AD.
Robinson, who served as interim president three different times, said having the interim title removed puts Eason in a position to make decisions that he might have been tentative on.
“Full throttle,” Robinson said. “That’s where we need to be in our athletic department. Full throttle.”
By that Robinson said he is convinced that Eason will intensify his efforts to work on graduating athletes, improving ticket sales, sure up fundraising and doing the essential to make the department function efficiently.
“They need to be full throttle,” he said. “Having the interim gone, there will be no more guessing about who is coming next, who is behind curtain No. 2 or curtain No. 3.”
“He’s been part of successful programs, not just as a player but as an administrator and a coach. I think it’s extreme to have that perspective.”
Although he admits there are no quick fixes to some of the issues in the athletic department, he said his mission is clear.
“The idea of all of this is to move FAMU forward,” he said. “That is my goal.”