After just three seasons at the helm of being the head coach at Florida A&M University, Byron Samuels will not return as the head coach at the beginning of the 2017-2018 season. Ultimately, ending his stint at FAMU, after the athletic administration did not extend his contract due to feeling that the program needed to move in a different direction.
After stepping in as head coach, after former coach Clemon Johnson was fired before the start of the 2014-2015 season, Samuels essentially had to build a team from scratch due to all of the players leaving the program.
But administration felt a change still was needed. The firing comes days after the Rattlers were tossed out of the opening round of the MEAC tournament by South Carolina State University. Samuels was 17-71 as FAMU’s head coach and finished the season on a six game losing streak going (7-23) overall, and (5-11) in the conference.
FAMU has had a total of fourteen head coaches in school history to lead its men’s basketball program and now this makes it the fourth time in the past ten years that FAMU has been in search of a new head coach.
In an interview done by the Tallahassee Democrat athletic director Milton Overton Jr. stated, “Reconstructuring our program with a continued emphasis on academic achievement and competitive success will be key components in moving FAMU basketball forward.
“We would like to think Coach Byron Samuels for his contributions to our men’s basketball program and student athletes over the past three seasons. Assistant coach Lamont Franklin will lead our program as the interim head coach while a national search is being conducted for a replacement,” Overton continued.
Former head coaches in the past decade includes Mike Gillespie, Eugene Harris, Clemon Johnson, and Byron Samuels who have all been hired under different administration.
With Mike Gillespie being the winningest coach of them all in the past decade holding the best record going (21-14) overall and (12-6) in MEAC play in the 2006-2007 season, also reaching the NCAA tournament twice within his four years of coaching.
FAMUs basketball program hasn’t seen the glory days since then.
Former player Dalvin Roberts, a Biology/Pre Med major who is in his junior year, played under coach Samuels during the 2014-2015 season voiced his opinions in an interview about the firing of Samuels.
“During my time playing for Coach Sam he helped me in many ways on and off the court,” Roberts said.
“There’s many ways you can help a program succeed, but unfortunately for him the program focused more on winning. I hate it had to happen to him because I sincerely have the up-most respect for that guy and I wish him the best moving forward, but at the end of the day its part of the business,” concluded Roberts.
Byron Samuels recently released a statement on his twitter account to the public.
“I see God everyday on this earth. From the hundreds of phone calls, emails, text messages. Especially from former players, here and other places that offer their support. Most importantly from my wife and family. I am at peace with how we operated our program,” Samuels tweeted.
Samuel continued, “I am also at peace with what we attempted to accomplish and the success’s we did have. So I offer thanks to those who assisted our efforts in any small way. You are appreciated. Thank you so much.”
According to a Tallahassee Democrat source Pat Kennedy, Rob Strickland, Lamont Franklin, along with others are among the list of possibly filling the head coach vacancy.