Men’s basketball coach McCullum not renewed

Photo Courtesy: FAMU Athletics. Coach Robert McCullum

Florida A&M University has made the decision not to renew the contract of men’s basketball coach Robert McCullum, marking the end of his tenure with the Rattlers, according to the university. 

The announcement comes after McCullum led the team through a challenging season, finishing with a record of 6-23. Athletic director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes expressed gratitude for McCullum’s dedication to the university and his positive impact on the players and coaching staff.

“I want to thank Coach McCullum for his dedication to FAMU and our basketball student-athletes,” Sykes stated. “He has led this program with integrity and has positively influenced countless young men, both players and coaches. We wish Coach McCullum and his family the very best in the future.”

McCullum, a Birmingham, Alabama native, took the helm as head coach of the Rattlers in May 2017. His tenure has been marked by both highs and lows, with the team experiencing varying degrees of success under his leadership. 

Despite his efforts, McCullum’s overall record stands at 67-133 during his time with the program.

One notable achievement during McCullum’s tenure was his recognition as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2021. This accolade underscores his ability to lead the team to standout performances despite facing significant challenges. 

Under his guidance, the Rattlers achieved a winning conference record for four consecutive seasons from 2018 to 2022, a feat not seen since the 2006-2007 season.

However, the decision not to renew McCullum’s contract comes down to the team’s recent performance. With a disappointing 6-23 record in the most recent season, FAMU administration has opted to make a change in leadership in pursuit of revitalizing the men’s basketball program.

Saiyd Burnside, a former FAMU men’s basketball player, reflected on the challenges within the team dynamics. 

“There were dissatisfactions with the players leading up to his termination. We felt the Coach/player connection wasn’t there,” Burnside said. “He wasn’t always honest with some of the things he promised to players, which I’m turn caused some tension.”

Burnside shared his perspective of McCullum’s coaching strengths, highlighting, “His strengths when it came to coaching were his experience of being in the college basketball world for so long. It wasn’t too many things he hadn’t seen as a coach which made him prepared for situations thrown at him. But once again his failure to connect with his players ultimately was his biggest weakness.” 

While McCullum’s departure marks the end of an era for FAMU basketball, it also signals an opportunity for the university to chart a new course forward. 

The search for a new head coach will undoubtedly be a critical task for the athletic department as they seek to find a leader who can steer the Rattlers toward sustained success on the court.

Coach Robert McCullum has not made a statement regarding the discontinuation of his contract. 

For more information and updates, please connect with the Rattlers on social media. You can follow them on Twitter at @FAMUAthletics, on Facebook at FAMUAth, and on Instagram at @famuathletics.