By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
Homecoming at Florida A&M has an odd air around it this year as the beloved Rattler football squad is suffering through another subpar season.
This year they are also without a permanent football coach.
With FAMU president Elmira Mangum and athletic director Kellen Winslow Jr. deciding to part ways with FAMU/MEAC legend in former head coach Earl Holmes this week, just days before their alumni come to town to celebrate homecoming and watch FAMU take on Norfolk State, there a lot of questions in Tallahassee, mainly why now.
"There's no one - not even in high school - who would interrupt homecoming," said former Florida state Senator, prominent alum and donor Al Lawson to FAMU's 220 Quarterback Club, reported The Tallahassee Democrat.
The paper reported that when a club member asked if Winslow should be fired, Lawson said "he should be."
The Rattlers are 2-6 after opening the season with five wins, a dismal offense and a defense that was giving up more than 30 points a game.
After the first four games, Quinn Gray's offensive coordinator duties were taken away, though he remained quarterbacks coach. Ernie Mills began calling plays as passing game coordinator and Shawn Bryson headed the running game.
The FAMU offense perked up and the team won two of the next four games. But after last week's 41-20 loss to North Carolina A&T - the ADDS HBCU SPORTS REPORT No. 1 team in FCS HBCU football - Winslow and Mangum had apparently had enough of Holmes' leadership.
And the fact that Winslow and Mangum made the move during Homecoming week without consulting many people has raised the ire of many influential people in Rattlerland.
"There is major heartburn in the Rattler community because I think any
major personnel decision that's made during homecoming does not increase
the morale of students and alumni and other stakeholders," FAMU trustee Torey Alston told The Tallahassee Democrat. "It does the
opposite. It does not encourage many of us to recruit to the
university. Enough is enough. I'm hopeful we can turn
this around very soon. If not, someone is going to have to pay the price
and someone is going to have to go."
Links to The Tallahassee Democrat stories on Earl Holmes/FAMU firing: