McCullum is MEAC Coach of the Year, a first for FAMU men’s basketball

Randolph and Speer earn conference honors

The MEAC named Robert McCullum (center) its Coach of the Year, while Jalen Speer (left) earned a spot on the All-Rookie team, and MJ Randolph was named to the All-MEAC First-Team and All-Defensive team.
Photo courtesy FAMU

NORFOLK, Va. — FAMU men’s basketball head coach Robert McCullum has been named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, the conference announced last Friday. McCullum is the first FAMU head basketball coach to earn the award in the 50-year history of the honor.

The Rattlers also had two players earn All-MEAC recognition. Junior forward MJ Randolph landed on the All-MEAC First-Team and All-Defensive team, while Jalen Speer earned a spot on the All-Rookie team. 

McCullum, who took over the FAMU program in 2017, led to Rattlers to its third consecutive winning conference record going 7-5, earning the No. 2 seed in the this year’s MEAC Basketball Tournament. In his career at FAMU, McCullum has accumulated 33-27 MEAC record. He previously led FAMU to an overall record of 8-11. 

Under McCullum’s guidance this season, the Rattlers have become one of the best defensive teams in the MEAC. As a team, FAMU leads the conference in scoring defense, as the only team to give up less than 70 points per game (67.5), and defensive rebounds per game (35.5). 

Randolph, a Pensacola native, finished the regular season ranked fifth in the MEAC in scoring average (15.3) and fourth in rebounding (6.6), assists (4.2) and steals (1.9). He also eclipsed the 20-point plateau six times this season, scoring a career-high 27 points in victories against Austin Peay on Dec. 15 and South Carolina State on Feb. 25. He also set a career-high in assists with seven against Oregon on Dec. 9. 

Randolph earned MEAC Player of the Week Honors on Jan. 12 following a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double performance in 72-70 triumph over SCSU. 

Speer made an immediate impact for the Rattlers in his first season wearing the orange and green, ranking 12th in the conference in scoring average (11.2). He was one of only 16 players to average double-figures in scoring, and led all freshmen, who played six or more games, in the category. 

Speer, who saw action in 17 games and started in 15, scored a career-high 21 points against South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Jan. 2. In addition he led the Rattlers in three-pointers made, draining 27. He also averaged 2.3 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game and 1.0 steals per game and led the team in free-throw percentage (82.1 percent). 

Speer was named MEAC Rookie of the Week on Feb 23. 

The Rattlers will next play in the MEAC Tournament and will face the No.3 seed from the Northern Division at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The tournament is being played at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.