Head coaches confer at Al Lawson


Florida A&M head coaches were optimistic when they conferred Tuesday. The conference was designed for coaches to express their thoughts about their seasons, prospective seasons, players and the future of FAMU athletics.

Eight of the 16 sports available at FAMU had representatives speak about their teams. 

The bowling and swimming and diving teams were absent.  Former students are coaching the bowling team because former head coach Sheila Martin took a position at Florida International University, and the swimming and diving team is inactive. 

Head cross-country coach Wayne Angel was the first to speak at the conference. Angel spoke highly of his team, which is competing in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championship this weekend. 

“We’re not just an average team,” Angel said in a previous interview. “We’re now a team of destiny.” 

Willie Brown, head coach of the baseball team, was optimistic about his team’s prospects this year. Brown said the team wants to play “small-ball,” an offensive strategy in which the batting team emphasizes placing runners on base and advancing them into scoring position. With 18 freshmen on the roster, he said the team has a lot of youth. 

The women’s cross-country team is competing at the MEAC Championship this weekend as well. Head coach Darlene Moore, Ph.D., said the team has three runners ranked in the top 20 in the MEAC. 

“We hope that someone makes it to the national stage,” Moore said. 

The men’s basketball team is looking to improve from its 10-22 season last year. Despite the record, head coach Clemon Johnson pointed out that there were bright spots. The team brought in nine new players and will run a motion set offense this year, an offense that utilizes player movement, floor spacing, passing and cutting and ball screens. The basketball team also wants to get more fast break points this season. Johnson said he has the personnel to run his offense now and carry out his coaching philosophy. He spoke highly of his freshman guard.

“Jamie Adams may be the best point guard in the conference,” Johnson said. 

The women’s volleyball team is undefeated in the MEAC and is poised for another deep run in the conference tournament. Head coach Tanio Trifinov is happy with the team’s progress. The MEAC Tournament is a month away. 

The women’s basketball team will be a little different this year, head coach LeDawn Gibson said. The team lost the former MEAC Player of the Year Antonia Bennett and former MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Quiana McDonald. The team plans to pick up its tempo and play a more aggressive style of defense. 

The men’s tennis team recently won its sixth consecutive HBCU National Championship. Head coach Carl Goodman, Ph.D, said the team expects to win the MEAC Tournament this year, although the team is dealing with a couple of injuries. 

Head football coach Joe Taylor closed the conference with comments about his team. Taylor talked about the lack of focus from the football team. He also spoke about some of the injuries, including the injured shoulder of quarterback Damien Fleming.

“It all comes back to focus,” Taylor said.