It’s been a week since Dawson Odums decided to leave Southern for Norfolk State.
The move leaves Southern without a head coach with less than five months remaining until the start of the 2021 fall football season.
While the program might be behind in terms of bridging the gap between regrouping from what was a grueling but successful six-game spring run to preparing for an 11-game jaunt, Southern does have the advantage of being a high-profile job that should attract quality suitors.
Southern athletic director Roman Banks appeared on “The Carlos Brown Show” to talk about Odums’ departure and provided an update on the much-anticipated coaching search.
On what Southern is looking for in its next head coach:
“I just think that criteria changes due to the situation that we’re in. Obviously, in my opinion, this is probably the worst time ever to be looking for a head coach. And when you say that you’re talking about giving a head coach autonomy to bring people in and bring staff in and put his game plan and all those things in. Obviously, we just went through that from the spring. We just brought in seven new coaches going into this year. And I think also the chemistry with the young men and also trying to make sure that our student-athletes remain in a good place, and remain to recruit them that they don’t start going into this transfer portal and things like that. I think that just depends on the situation and this situation is much different. So, I do have a checklist of things that we are looking at that will fit the box with what we do.”
On how soon before a head coach will be hired:
“I don’t think that we have a month. I met with the football team. Everyone has a timeline. Obviously, I asked them to give me seven to 10 days to work through this process. We have to make sure that all our athletes remain in place. And you can not ask your student-athletes to remain in place when you do not have leadership as relates to who’s going to be a football coach. That’s basically unfair to them, and we know the climate in which people are transferred out of these Division 1 programs right now. That’s a huge concern of mine. And also the concern of mine is that I feel like that we do have a good football team. I feel like we got good leadership. I feel that we do have some good systems in place. I feel like we do have some good coaches that possibly can remain here.”
On what former head coach Dawson Odums meant to Southern:
“Coach Odums has given Southern some good years and he and I have become personally good colleagues and good friends. He’s been a guy that’s been able to carry this program with great character. I think he was able to keep our program at the top. We haven’t won the (SWAC) championship since 2013, but we won our side (SWAC West) in 2013, 2014 and 2018, and 2019. He’s been able to keep us at the top. We lost a part of our family. I felt like that he was a person that cared totally about the athletic department and not only his football program. I respect the man greatly.”
On when finalists for the head coaching job might be cemented:
“Well, to be honest, I’m hoping next week that we just start narrowing our candidate pool down, and we bring the final three to five — if that many or whatever is submitted we will bring them forward for a second interview. I just think that it’s paramount by the end of the week that we have to get someone hired.”
Listen to the entire episode below