Interim AD Eason needs time to prove he’s the one
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer
The week ahead could be the beginning of a long-awaited chapter in FAMU athletics. John Eason will officially be on the job as interim athletic director.
Dec. 1 is his official start date, but he’s already been working for almost two weeks now. His arrival happened quickly.
In fact, his hiring was announced the same time that FAMU disclosed outgoing AD Milton Overton was leaving for Kennesaw State.
Even Eason, a veteran college football coach and athletic administrator, wants to get things done quickly.
We will see soon enough if he is indeed the right one to follow Overton. It’s just a matter of whether the FAMU fan base has the patience to see what he produces.
He obviously knows that.
“During my time here,” he said, “I want to make a difference.”
Eason calls it divine intervention that he is back in Tallahassee, where he played three seasons in the 1960s for coach Jake Gaither. He was in retirement when he got the call from FAMU’s interim president Larry Robinson.
The time he spent away from the game helped him to find an inner peace, he said.
That in itself is enough motivation for him to succeed. Plus, the guy has enough resources that he said he plans to call on.
“I come here with peace,” he said. “When I leave here I want to leave with my inner peace. I want my integrity intact.”
Right now no one seems to be questioning when they see Eason first proof, but if supporters of the athletic program seem impatient that’s understandable.
They’ve been waiting for a lot for a long time.
Some might say far too long.
Most urgently is a football coach who could win. But that might be putting the cart before the horse because good athletes make even an average coach look good.
Enough of those athletes aren’t coming to FAMU, though.
Truth of the matter is FAMU has to have better football facilities to woo maybe a handful of 4-and-5-star players. That’s a well documented fact.
Right Mr. Eason?
“What you have to realize is that young men want nice things,” he said. “It’s not about us. If you want good players you better find out what they want.”
Eason has seen how effective that could be when he was at FSU as assistant coach and later as an associate athletic director. He was there when the plans were made public for turning Doak Campbell Stadium into the attractive structure that it is today.
He was also there when former FSU athletic director Bob Going told the athletic staff that the stadium has to be a cash cow.
Eason wants the same for FAMU. Figures why he is going head-first into Overton’s plans for the first phase of upgrading Bragg Stadium.
It will take $9 million. Finding the money is a bit of a head-scratcher, but Eason vowed to do it.
So he said to the 220 Quarterback Club anyway.
“People want to figure out how can I make money or how can I make more money,” he said. “In athletics, it’s build facilities, win football games and you get students coming in and everybody is making money. That’s what’s happening. It’s no secret.”