Miles and FAMU AD Eason aren’t strangers

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

FAMU athletic director John Eason and Keith Miles have known each other for several years. They were so tight that their families sometimes took walks together.

Eason, who was named interim AD in November, recently recollected those days. He also recalled some skills that Miles has that could be put to use in the athletic department.

He gave Miles a call, asking him if he’ll accept a job to be deputy athletic director. Miles accepted.

Now the two men are hoping they could bring some needed change to the athletic department. Miles, who for 30 years was the voice of the Rattlers football broadcast, has management skills that he brings from running FAMU’s alumni affairs office and being manager of the school’s radio station (90.5 FM) that make him a good fit, Eason said.

“When you look at the deputy position, you want someone with proven leadership skills,” Eason said. “You don’t want to be in a position where you bring in someone who has not been in a leadership position. You want someone with a proven track record.”

In addition to the day-to-day operation of the office, Miles will be responsible for helping to expand the department’s use of social media. He will join forces with associate AD Vaughn Wilson and sports information director Alvin Hollins to bring more awareness to the department, Eason said.

“I just felt that if we could embrace someone who has some experience in that area to help us reach the younger generation it would be a big plus,” he said.

Since the hire was made public last week, opposition has been rampant on social media, questioning Miles’ qualifications. However, he comes with an understanding of athletic administration, having taken a course at FSU. He’s also studied executive leadership through a National Association of Broadcasters course at Georgetown University.

Miles, who played football at FAMU High and grew up in the FAMU football program, also brings institutional knowledge.
“John is a great person,” Miles said. “There are issues in athletics that I’m sure he will address. But I understand what my role is. My role is to help John.”

Miles, who applied for the AD vacancy three years ago before Milton Overton was hired, hedged on calling his hire a dream jobs. He had to drop out of contention in 2015 because his scheduled interview conflicted with his son’s graduation in New York, Miles said.

“I’m going to give it my best shot and roll with it,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are supporters and they see what I bring to the table. I’m going to help John the best I can.

“In the course of my career, I’ve made friends and contacts in a number of different industries and I think I can use those relationships to help John get athletics where it needs to do.”

Miles also brings resources in the form of relationships that he’s built over the years in each of his previous positions, Eason said.