Following the Jaguar April 17 victory over Grambling in the Bayou Classic, the general atmosphere throughout the Bluff was one of levity, as well as festivity due to the Spring Fest events that were being held. It was on Tuesday of Spring Fest week that the resignation of long-time Southern University head football coach Dawson Odums began circulating media socials.
“We’re going to miss him. He’s the coach we grew up watching on TV, so it’s crazy to be here and he’s not,” said Brandon Sikes, a freshman biology major from Atlanta, Georgia.
Having been over Southern’s football program since the 2012-13 season following the troubled final stretch of troubled seasons by his predecessor, former Southern Coach Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell. Since then, Odums have compiled a record of 58-31, won four Bayou Classics, and won a SWAC championship in 2013.
According to footballscoop.com, Odums is expected to receive a six-year deal at his new position as head football coach of Norfolk State University that will pay him $225,000 per year, compared to the 210k he would have made at Southern next season on the final year of his current deal.
In the statement made by the university, Athletics Director Roman Banks notes the many ways that Odums will be missed, the most prominent one mentioned being his impact on his student athletes and their performance in the classroom.
“We appreciate him for developing young people and bringing us back to the top of the SWAC with our championship runs. While we are certainly disappointed to see Dawson and his family leave our program, we are excited for their new endeavors,” said Banks. According to Director Banks, the search for a new head coach is underway and is considered to be ‘nationwide’.
In regards to his somewhat sudden departure, Odums noted in his introductory press conference at Norfolk that he believes the players understand the situation and are capable of coming out a good football team next year due to the talent present on this year’s Jaguar roster.
“These guys understand it. No matter who comes in here, (the players) can adapt and adjust. It’s a mindset. They have to get those guys to believe in them. I don’t know what direction (they will go in), but it’s a good football team left behind and some good young men,” said Odums.
While there is no clear evidence to the university leaning in any particular direction, it’s been made clear by the university that they will take their time throughout the interview process and find the best candidate to serve as the successor to Coach Odums. The Jags will go into the offseason nationally ranked in the top 25 for the first time ever.