The future of the University’s head football coach Billy Joe depends on whom you ask.
At a University press conference held around noon Tuesday, at which Joe was not present, Athletic Director Joseph Ramsey II said the athletic department was behind the embattled head coach.
“We’re going to give him all the support he needs,” Ramsey said.
However, at an impromptu press conference following the University’s press conference, Joe said Ramsey informed him Monday that the University would not provide funding for recruiting and Ramsey did not wish to have him continue as coach.
“I asked him why I wasn’t able to get the two- or three-year extension on the contract and he said that (it is) because ‘I don’t support you; you’re not the coach I want here’.”
The two parties even disagreed on whether Joe was informed about the University’s press conference, which was held at 12:15 p.m, in Lee Hall.
Ramsey said he tried several times to contact the head coach, but was unable to reach him. But Joe said he had not heard about the meeting.
“I was out recruiting today, and my secretary called me several times. Never once did she say there is a press conference that you need to attend,” Joe said.
At the heart of the issue is a Monday morning meeting between Ramsey and Joe, at which Joe asked for a contract extension he said would show recruits and any potential replacement to the vacant defensive coordinator position he would be the head coach of the football team long term.
“I wanted to show the community at large that the administration was supportive of what I was doing,” Joe said.
Joe said he thought an extension would remove any advantage that an opposing program would have against Florida A&M University. He said money was not a reason for the extension request.
“I told Dr. Ramsey…I didn’t even want a raise. I’m financially sound.”
University President Fred Gainous attempted to quell growing concerns that his administration was making decisions that were hurting the athletic program.
“There is no intent …to destroy the athletic program at Florida A&M University,” he said.
Gainous insisted any decisions made in respect to Joe and the football program were a part of bigger overall changes being made to the athletic program.
“The athletic program has undergone some changes recently, and it will continue to undergo changes,” Gainous said.
Ramsey said any comments made that there would be no funding for the program for recruiting, or otherwise, were completely inaccurate.
“That’s an incorrect statement,” Ramsey said. “Coach Joe and I had a meeting yesterday morning and I relayed to him that funding is critical, but we do have funding for recruiting.”
At the University press conference, Ramsey said he didn’t see the program having to undergo any permanent funding cuts.
Immediately after the one-on-one meeting between Ramsey and Joe, the coach said he was ready for the administration to buy him out.
“I did not want to be an obstacle to the success and potential achievement of the team and the program,” Joe said.
But Joe said after giving it some thought, he changed his mind.
“I’m a Famuan. I bleed orange and green, and I am the head football coach. We may win the national championship next year-what happens then?”
According to Ramsey, the University will make no attempt to end Joe’s contract prematurely.
“I’ll be happy to hear that from my athletic director,” Joe said. “Evidently he has had time to assess what has transpired …and I’ll be anxious to speak with him so that we can have a meeting of the minds, get this concern resolved.”
Contact Garrison L. Vereen II at email@example.com.