Texas Southern announced on Friday that Johnnie Cole was “no longer the head coach” of the school’s football program, which is nothing more than another way to say that Cole was fired.
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Ramsey will now serve as interim head coach. According to TSU Athletics Director Charles MeClelland, a new permanent head coach will not be named until after the 2011 football season.
One could also call this opportunity for Ramsey an audition to eventually have the interim tag removed from his head coach title. “I had aspirations to be a head coach,” said Ramsey after learning he had been given the interim job. “It’s something I have prepared for my entire career. I believe I am right for the position and this is a good group of guys to head up.”
Reactions to Cole’s firing have been interesting to say the least, but not surprising. Despite the success Cole and his team experienced on the gridiron last season, sources I’ve talked to indicate that the relationship between Cole and some of his team members weren’t exactly quintessential.
“When it was announced that Ramsey would be head coach, several players jumped for joy” said one TSU source. “One even pulled up Cole’s personal parking sign in front of the track”
As we await the details of the NCAA’s report on its investigation of the TSU athletic program, it has to be noted that there is more to Cole’s firing than the allegations of committing major violations. Several TSU supporters I’ve talked to viewed Cole as “an embarrassment to the image of the program.”
Others have informed me of several embarrassing off the field occurrences that involved Cole. The occurrences range from verbal and physical altercations between Cole and other staff members of the athletic department to other situations that even I am too embarrassed to detail.
“We want to win, but we don’t want to win at all costs”, said one TSU supporter to me a few months ago. “It is just a matter of time before Cole is out of here…and I will not be sorry to see his ass leave.”
Well, that time has finally come.
Kevin Ramsey on the firing of Coach Cole;
“Coach Cole brought me to Texas Southern and gave me the opportunity to build and run a great defensive squad and I appreciate that. I wish him well.”
Ramsey on moving the team and program forward;
“These guys really want to win and they want to be a part of the reason we repeat as champions. The change will allow them to put all the speculations behind and focus on the future. We are here to win…in the class room, on the field and in life. And that starts now.”
“We will max out in our spring practice, working hard over the next couple weeks. We will continue over the summer and into fall practices. Above all, we will do it together.”
Comment from Randall Newsome, TSU Running Back;
“It’s a bitter sweet day for us. The guys are excited about coach Ramsey. We know he’s more than capable of running our team. We look forward to experiencing the excitement they had on defense, on the offensive side of the ball. Coach Ramsey gives us new life for our second championship run. And there is no doubt that he can lead us to another championship title.”
Comment from Zack Gallow, TSU Free Safety
“It will be an adjustment for us, but we still have to play and still have to prepare for our repeat run [for the SWAC Championship title]. Everyone will just have to buy-in to what coach Ramsey wants us to do. We did it on defense and became the best in the country. We now have to buy-in as a team, play hard and work together to get it done.”
Comment from Marquis Jackson, TSU Defensive End
“It was unfortunate the way it happened with coach Cole but I’m happy with who they chose to replace him. I’m excited about the new start and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us. Coach Ramsey brings new life to the team. I’m glad that all the questions and speculations are over.”