“There’s no question that he’s absolutely the perfect person for this job.” WILLIAM BROUSSARD, Southern athletic director on coach Dawson Odums
Southern Athletic Director William Broussard said Thursday he plans to talk with football coach Dawson Odums next week about a contract extension.
Broussard has given North Carolina Central, Odums’ alma mater, permission to interview the coach, who led the Jaguars to their first Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship in 10 years with a 34-27 double-overtime victory against Jackson State last week in Houston.
Odums, who has one year remaining on his contract, and his staff are in the midst of an important recruiting week, which concludes with several recruits visiting campus this weekend.
After that is out of the way, Broussard can do what he planned to do all along — try to lock up Odums and his staff long-term.
“There’s no question that he’s absolutely the perfect person for this job,” Broussard said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to have this group back.”
Broussard said he sensed a year ago the SU System Board of Supervisors would not have approved a long-term contract for Odums, who led the Jaguars to a 4-5 record after being named interim coach when Stump Mitchell was reassigned after an 0-2 start.
“Now, hopefully, we have a greater opportunity to lock him down for as long as possible with whatever gives him the most comfort for his family and the staff,” Broussard said.
Odums’ contract pays him $140,000 annually — significantly less than the $200,000 that his immediate predecessors, Mitchell and Pete Richardson — earned, though Odums earned an extra $52,500 this year by accomplishing incentives such as winning the Bayou Classic and the SWAC West and overall titles.
Broussard said that after visiting with Odums, he’ll “work through” Southern Chancellor James Llorens on a proposal to present to the board.
Odums and Broussard met for about an hour in Odums’ office Wednesday morning, Broussard said. He said the meeting was “really productive” and “we talked about our plans moving forward and we feel good moving forward.”
Broussard said he has told Odums that NCCU intended to contact him, but they haven’t discussed that situation specifically.
“There’s no need to have a knee-jerk reaction and scramble to try and keep him,” Broussard. “I come to work every day, trying to create an environment in which he can be successful and run his own team. We have put him in position to win championships, and he has said publicly that he appreciates that.
“This is not an arms race with North Carolina Central. We’re going to make the best offer we can moving forward. North Carolina Central is not the measuring stick of how well we treat our staff. We do the things necessary to be successful, and this season is the measuring stick of that. We’re happy with our staff, and we want to keep them happy.”
Odums is a native of Shelby, N.C., which is about a three-hour drive from the NCCU campus in Durham, N.C. He was a three-year starter and a team captain and All-CIAA selection as a senior with the Eagles. Odums earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from the school in 1997.
There are reportedly three other candidates for the NCCU opening, though the university has been tight-lipped throughout the process.
Broussard said he gave permission to NCCU Athletic Director Ingrid Wicker-McCree last week to interview Odums, though as of Thursday it was unclear if Odums had met with or scheduled a meeting with the school. Neither Odums nor Wicker-McGee returned phone messages seeking comment.
According to media reports in North Carolina, one candidate who interviewed on campus Tuesday is Winston-Salem State coach Connell Maynor.
Nevada offensive coordinator James Spady, a former Grambling offensive coordinator who was a finalist for the Southern head coaching position when Odums was promoted a year ago, said he interviewed on the NCCU on campus Wednesday, but referred all other questions to the university.
NCCU acting head coach Dwayne Foster, who took over in August when Henry Frazier III was fired, has expressed an interest in the position, but school officials wouldn’t confirm he’s a candidate.
Sports information director Kyle Serba said the school wouldn’t identify any candidates, but hoped to have a new coach before Christmas to minimize any adverse effects on recruiting.
The Eagles finished 5-7 under Foster after a 28-0 loss to rival North Carolina A&T on Nov. 23.
NCCU is a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Maynor, who has a 45-6 record at Winston-Salem, has interviewed for another job after each of his four seasons there.
Frazier was making $225,000 and Maynor is making $160,000 a year at Winston-Salem, which is a member of the NCAA Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.