“I was absolutely shocked at the behavior and really appalled,” Theus said. “It’s sad because it’s so much bigger than Ed Reed.”
Theus said that Reed — because of his actions — had “no shot” of returning to the program as a coach despite demands from B-CU players and Reed himself.
“We gave him a chance at his first head coaching job at Bethune-Cookman, and he actually let us down,” Theus said.
The school agreed in principle on Dec. 27 to name Reed coach after Terry Sims was fired midway through the 2022 season. Theus said the school wanted a coach who would build a program. Reed, the athletic director said, was thought to fit those criteria.
“Going back to when we made the change at football coach, I talked to the administration. I said, ‘Listen, there is no reason for us to make a change if we’re not going to put a renewed emphasis on building our football program.’ Ed, to me, was a part of that overall building of the football program.”
Theus said within days after the two sides agreed on a deal, Reed almost immediately became involved in the inner workings of the program, including recruiting and offering scholarships to high school players.
All seemed well until Reed appeared in a series of videos where he expressed frustration over the B-CU administration and HBCU leadership. He also complained that his office was not clean when he got there.
The commentary, which contained profanity, sounded like a coach who had not been aware of what he was getting into.
But Theus, who also doubles as the men’s basketball coach, said that was not the case.
“Ed was completely aware of our situation here at Bethune-Cookman,” he said. “I showed him every single thing that was good about the program and every single thing that was not good.
“His office was clean. It just wasn’t clean to his specifications. When he said something about the office, he didn’t work here. He hadn’t signed his contract. I hadn’t done a major cleanup job because the previous coaches had just left the building not long ago.”
Bethune-Cookman President Lawrence Drake on Roland Martin Unfiltered said the office was not completely ready yet as the building where it was housed had been undergoing renovation.
“When he started talking about our administration, our board of trustees and our president, he’s out of line because I’ve watched from my place, being new here, the work we’ve put in over even the last two years since I’ve been here as the athletic director and basketball coach,” Theus said. “Through their guidance and vision to even hire me as the athletic director shows that they’re stepping outside the box and trying to do something more.”
After the videos, Theus explained that the relationship between Reed had soured. Drake even explained that the school’s alumni and corporate partners had inquired what a response would be.
“I tried to get Ed to understand that this was not going in the direction he wanted,” Theus said. “I tried to give him an opportunity in the conversation to try to make him understand that, what he did in that rant and the videos afterward, this was not going to work.”
Theus, however, did not address the current player and student protests over Reed’s dismissal and campus conditions.
A national search for a new coach is ongoing, he said.