During his introductory press conference after officially being named head coach at Norfolk State, Dawson Odums expressed a lot of gratitude.
The former Southern coach on Wednesday thanked everyone from his family to former players and even school administrators at the place he called home for the last nine seasons.
Odums then acknowledged Norfolk State athletic director Melody Webb for not going with the so-called “fad” of exploring hiring high-profile head coaches in the vein of schools such as Jackson State hiring Deion Sanders and Tennessee State securing a deal with Eddie George.
Neither coach had previous collegiate experience. In the case of George, he hasn’t coached at any level prior to being sought after.
“I really don’t know if you really know what this means with what’s going on at HBCUs in the hiring process,” Odums said.
Odums, who complied a 63-35 overall record and went 53-17 in the SWAC, including winning a conference championship in 2013, explained that NSU’s commitment to considering a coach whose name doesn’t necessarily resonate publicly encourages others to pursue aspirations of leading a program.
“I really believe that me coming to Norfolk State University gives hope to those guys that pay their dues that do it the right way,” he said. “You (Webb) didn’t go with the fad. You didn’t go with what was going on in society. I’m grateful that you gave a guy a chance with a proven track record.”
Odums, who toiled as an assistant for 12 years before assuming the roles as head at Southern in 2013, had a message for coaches who have embarked on a similar journey.
“Don’t give up hope,” he said. “There are plenty of ADs out there with the same vision as Miss. Wade. Keep working hard. Keep building young men and you will get your chance.”