Bethune-Cookman University Names Raymond Woodie, Jr. Head Football Coach

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman University Director of Athletics Reggie Theus announced today (February 6, 2023) the appointment of Raymond Woodie as Head Football Coach. Woodie, 49, becomes the 16th head coach of Bethune-Cookman Football.

Raymond Woodie Jr. -Credits The Atlantic

“A new era at Bethune-Cookman University begins today,” said Interim President Lawrence M. Drake II, Ph.D. “Word of our pending new leadership has been hard to contain, so we are thrilled to officially welcome Raymond back home to Bethune-Cookman University. Throughout our search process, we stressed the need for a leader who understands our university’s history, traditions, and values, in addition to possessing firm athletic leadership prowess. Coach Woodie embodies each of these qualities.”

Woodie, a four-year letterwinner as a linebacker and 1996 graduate of Bethune-Cookman College, takes the helm of Wildcats Football following an impressive career as an assistant coach at numerous Power 5 schools including Florida Atlantic University (2020-22), Florida State University (2018-19), the University of Oregon (2017) and the University of South Florida (2013-16).

“We are elated to have Raymond Woodie, Jr. return to Bethune-Cookman University to lead our storied football program,” Director of Athletics Reggie Theus said.  We felt confident in his experience, his leadership, and his ability to embrace the spirit of our founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in this 100th year of B-CU football.  We are locked in the vision for providing a championship culture through his detailed plan for recruiting academically talented student athletes, along with a sustained desire to provide a high-level experience.  It’s evidently clear why Coach Woodie has had terrific success in his journey; and we look forward to his return to Daytona Beach and starting this new era.”

Woodie has been recognized as one of the premier recruiters in college football, serving as an assistant under Head Coach Willie Taggart across multiple coaching stops. He has recruited seven players that were eventually selected in the NFL Draft.

“As a parent, Coach Woodie is the type of person you want your son coached by,” said Leslie Frazier, Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. “He is a tremendous leader, person of integrity, and will do the right thing at all costs. Your son will be mentored and treated in the right way. He’s the ideal choice and I look forward to him having much success at his alma mater, Bethune Cookman.”

During his time with Oregon in 2017, Woodie was named the No. 1 recruiter in the PAC-12, as well as No. 13 in the nation by 247 Sports. Woodie led the way in signing the American Athletic Conference’s top-ranked classes in 2014 and 2015, in addition to the top class in the Sun Belt Conference in 2010 and 2011. Woodie was named AAC Top Recruiter by Rivals in 2014, and Sun Belt Recruiter of the Year by Scout/ in 2012.

“Coach Woodie is an unbelievable recruiter and an even better person,” said Forrest Lamp, NFL offensive lineman and one of Woodie’s recruits at Western Kentucky. “Coach Woodie hasn’t coached me in 10 years but has stayed in contact the entire time. I think that says more about the man than any stat could. He truly cares and always has the kids’ best interest in mind. I am so excited to see what the future holds for Coach Woodie and the Wildcats!”

Most recently, Woodie served as Associate Head Coach at Florida Atlantic, where he worked primarily with special teams and oversaw all aspects of recruiting in the role of recruiting coordinator for the Owls. 

“I am extremely happy for Raymond Jr. and Stephanie,” Said Coach Willie Taggart.  “Bethune Cookman University is getting a man of God, and a leader of men. He is an outstanding recruiter and a coach that will get the best out of his student athletes and staff, on and off the field. Raymond Jr. will make the Wildcat nation proud!”

In his time as a student-athlete at Bethune-Cookman, Woodie was a two-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) First Team Defense selection, as well as a two-time Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) All-America selection. He was also the first Bethune-Cookman student-athlete to be named a GTE Academic All-American and have $25,000 donated to the University in his name.

HBCU Sports exclusive: Terry Sims says he’s disheartened by turmoil at Bethune-Cookman

Terry Sims has spent the last several weeks watching from afar while Bethune-Cookman — a place where he spent a decade as a football coach — embroiled in
— Read on

The right guy for the Bethune-Cookman head coaching job is still available.

We have all heard stories of fortune favoring the unsuspecting. You know, those tales of serendipity when a heartbroken individual seems to randomly cross paths with the one who will become the love of their life. Or when a homeowner purchases a property that needs a little TLC only to discover a hidden treasure in the backyard. In the case of Bethune-Cookman and its vacant head football coaching position, that hidden blessing could very well be Raymond Woodie.

Credits: Oregon Athletics
Credits: Oregon Athletics– Raymond Woodie

To cut straight to the point, BETHUNE-COOKMAN NEEDS TO HIRE RAYMOND WOODIE. Yes we used all caps and yes the decision is that simple in my mind. BCU should offer Woodie the job and bug him until they get an answer.

It makes too much sense. It’s almost a no-brainer in fact. Raymond Woodie feels like the right hire for a multitude of reasons.

I am fully aware that there are several capable and highly qualified coaches who are still interested in the job but Coach Woodie checks many boxes others just simply do not.

First, he is a Wildcat. Check that…he is a Wildcat legend.

Woodie was a two time All-American at both safety and linebacker. If you ever remind Coach Woodie about his All-American honors, he will quickly remind you that he was also an Academic All-American and at the time of his departure, BCU’s single season sack leader with 14.5 in 1994.

I never advocate for hiring an alum just for the sake of hiring an alum, but when considering all of the uproar around the program as well as the dissonance and almost post-traumatic reflexes many alumni seem to suffer from currently, Coach Woodie could serve as an emotional healing balm for the school’s supporters. That might be an over-exaggeration of things but Cookman people need something to feel excited about and Woodie provides that. BCU folks need to be able to celebrate BCU folks right now.

In fact, before the Ed Reed fallout, before the Roland Martin hyperattention and before the dozens of editorials on the status of Bethune-Cookman, polled the fans on who should replace Terry Sims as head coach. Our November 2022 poll received over 1,800 votes and Raymond Woodie was the overwhelming fan favorite. Woodie received nearly half of the votes while interestingly enough, Ed Reed who was also mentioned in that poll, received the lowest vote total (around 7%).

Second, he is a heck of a recruiter and he is proven.

Just how good of a recruiter is Coach Woodie, check out the guys he signed while at Oregon, Florida State, Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky: Tyler Higbee, Asante Samuels Jr, Forest Lamp, Dede Lattimore are just some of the names Coach Woodie landed.

Woodie was ranked as the No. 2 recruiter in the ACC by 247Sports in 2018 despite having less than two months to recruit for the Seminoles after he was hired. Rivals named him as the top recruiter in the Sun Belt in 2012, top recruiter in the AAC in 2014 and top recruiter in the PAC-12 in 2017.

Good teams are loaded with good players and Woodie signs great players.

Woodie’s defenses posted pretty good stats while at Florida State and Oregon too. At FSU where he coached linebackers in 2018, opponents were held to 3.5 yards rushing per carry. That number was second in the ACC. He served as linebacker coach and special teams coordinator for the Ducks in 2017. Oregon finished in the Top 25 nationally in turnovers forced and rushing defense under Woodie.

He is a fundraiser.

Raymond Woodie led Palmetto High School to the District Championship in 2008. He also designed and raised $1.2 million for a new field house for the Palmetto football program that year.

It just makes sense.

It’s hard to imagine a better candidate for the BCU job considering Woodie is Cookman-Man, with a proven record as a recruiter, coach and fundraiser. It. Just. Makes. Sense.

Stephen Holmes: Who Are The Winners Of The BCU/Ed Reed Saga – Wildcat Wearhouse

By: Stephen Holmes    No one. There are no winners. Bethune-Cookman University, Ed Reed, students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, The Daytona Beach community, parents, athletes, recruits, and anyone else associated with this storied institution took a loss. What was shaping up to be one of the most significa
— Read on

Ed Reed and Bethune-Cookman part ways

Ed Reed announced today that Bethune-Cookman University will not ratify the Principle in Agreement between him and the university. As a result, Reed will not serve as the next head football coach for BCU.

Reed shared the news via a press release through his foundation and confirmed the information on Instagram Live on Saturday morning. A copy of the press release is shown below.

Stay tuned to for more updates and developments.

Is Bethune-Cookman Ready To Be Under The Microscope? – Wildcat Wearhouse

Stephen Holmes  The second Deion Sanders stepped foot on Jackson State University’s campus, they were immediately thrust into the national spotlight whether they wanted to be or not. Sander’s personality and brand is just that big. For better or worse, JSU received exposure and attention that they could never pay for t
— Read on

Tune in to the “HailWildcats Xs and Os Show” Season Finale Tonight, 12/1/22 @ 8:00pm

Hey Wildcat Fans do not miss tonight’s show.

The “ X’s & O’s Show”, hosted by our Arm Chair QBs, will air its Season Finale tonight, Thursday, December 1st from 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Tune in live on WAIG JOY 106.3 on your FM dial or online at to join the guys and let your opinion be heard.

You may also tune in live on:



The “ X’s and O’s Show” is a live TWO hour fan interactive sports radio talk show with a focus on Bethune Cookman Football.

Sponsored by: Alpha1 Staffing/ Search Firm and Pro First Sports Management.

BCU Football: 5 Possible Coaching Candidates to Replace Terry Sims – Poll Attached

Bethune-Cookman will have a new head football coach in the 2023 season as the university announced earlier today that Terry Sims has been relieved of his duties. 

Sims enjoyed a modicum of success at Bethune finishing with one share of the MEAC crown in 2015, one conference Coach of the Year Award (2015), and a 5-2 record over in-state rival Florida A&M. However, Sims overall record of 38-39 and back to back 2-9 seasons ultimately ended his run as head ball coach in Daytona Beach.

While Athletic Director, Reggie Theus, stated a national coaching search for Sims’ replacement would commence immediately, we keep hearing the names of several individuals who are rumored to be interested in the position.

Here are the Top 5 names that we are hearing as possible replacements for the BCU head coaching position. 

Kevin Sumlin, Head Coach, Houston Gamblers (USFL)

Coach Sumlin currently has a pretty cool gig serving as Head Coach and General Manager of the USFL’s Houston Gamblers. However, Coach Sumlin has ties to the Daytona Beach area and HBCU roots considering both of his parents are HBCU alums. We have it on pretty good authority that he is open to the idea of returning to the college ranks and leading the Bethune-Cookman program. 

Sumlin’s quarterback tree is absolutely ridiculous having coached Drew Bledsoe at Washington State, Drew Brees at Purdue, and Heisman Trophy winners Jason White (Oklahoma), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M). 

Sumlin is also a program builder having revitalized both Houston and Texas A&M’s gridiron programs. 

If Reggie Theus or the folks at Bethune are listening, make the call and make an offer to Coach Sumlin immediately. It makes sense for all of the right reasons. 

Brian Jenkins, Former Head Coach, Bethune-Cookman

Brian Jenkins had one of the most meteoric rises that we have seen among HBCU head coaches. He arrived at Bethune-Cookman as a relative unknown in 2010. By the time he departed BCU at the end of the 2014 season, he accumulated a 46-14 record, he won at least 8 games in each season, he had two 10 win seasons, he won or shared the MEAC crown in four of his five seasons, won two Black College National Championships, had two wins over FBS opponents and three playoff appearances. What a ride!

Jenkins enjoyed less success at Alabama State going 9-17 before being released midseason in 2017; but if the Wildcats could catch lightning in a bottle a second time, Jenkins is your guy.

Raymond Woodie, Associate Head Coach, FAU

Coach Woodie is a “Cookman Man” through and through. He earned both 1-AA All-American honors and Academic All-American honors during his playing days at BCU. Woodie’s accolades continued to pour in during his coaching career being named as the PAC-12’s #1 recruiter in 2017 while at Oregon, the Sun Belt’s Top recruiter while at Western Kentucky and the AAC’s Top recruiter while at FAU. He was named as the ACC’s #2 recruiter while at FSU.

Woodie has proven he can recruit and you need players in order to win. We confirmed Coach Woodie’s interest in the position. If the Wildcats are willing to take a chance on another first time head coach, Raymond Woodie is likely to receive strong consideration.

Ed Reed, NFL Hall of Famer

We have no concrete information to suggest that Ed Reed is interested in the gig; however, his name has been rumored about for the past year and a half. While Reed was one of the best football players we have ever witnessed, he only has 1 year of coaching experience spending the 2016 season as a DB coach with the Buffalo Bills. What Reed does bring is name recognition and intrigue.

Ray Lewis, NFL Hall of Famer

Copy and paste the same information we mentioned about Ed Reed except with Ray Lewis, he has no coaching experience. Both Lewis and Reed are huge risk reward candidates (if they are candidates at all). You may end up with something akin to Coach Prime at Jackson State if you go the Reed or Lewis route; or you could get stuck with something on the opposite end of the spectrum like Coach Eddie George at Tennessee State. 

Just to restate the obvious, this list is purely speculative. It’s not necessarily unfounded speculation but it’s speculation nonetheless. That notwithstanding, let us know what you think. Which of these candidates would you most like to see lead the Wildcats next season? Chime in by voting in the poll below.

Prime vs. Shine: A Spectacle in HBCU Sports History

On the eve of Bethune-Cookman University hosting Jackson State at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL for a Southwestern Athletic Conference East divisional showdown, I sat down and thought about what a dream scenario could’ve potentially been.

You know the generational conversations; the ones discussed in barbershops, sports bars, and on podcasts. The ones where you debate how things might have turned out if the events could’ve taken place:

  • 1987 Lakers vs 2001 Lakers
  • 1996 Bulls vs. 2016 Warriors
  • 1985 Bears vs. 2007 Patriots
  • 1999 FAMU Rattlers vs. 2002 B-CU Wildcats

As long as I can remember, these conversations have dominated the sports lexicon among fans. If we were to examine this through an HBCU lens, what could this game have been if a few things were different?

Yes folks, I’m talking about the “Brawl for it all in Duval.”

Or more eloquently stated, “Prime vs. Shine.”

For longtime fans and supporters of the university located in “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” the attention, swag, flash, and flair Jackson State head coach Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders has brought to the SWAC is nothing new to the Wildcat faithful. They’ve seen this movie before. In fact, some would argue that B-CU and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Famer Alvin “Shine” Wyatt is the architect of HBCU flamboyant coaches. Long before it was popular, and quite frankly considered off-putting by his coaching peers, “Shine” as he is affectionately called, traded coach’s polos and khakis for leisure suits and alligator boots. And while he was definitely the epitome of style, there was plenty of substance there as well.

In his 13 years as head coach of Bethune-Cookman, Wyatt became the all-time winningest coach in school history, amassing a record of 90-54, earning wins against legendary coaches such as Joe Taylor, Bill Hayes, Oliver “Buddy” Pough, and his school’s interstate rival Florida A&M and coach William “Billy” Joe. He also captured two MEAC Titles (2002, 2003), one conference coach of the year award (1998), one Heritage Bowl appearance (1998) and two NCAA FCS Playoff appearances (2002, 2003).

He also placed several players in the NFL such as Rashean Mathis, Nick Collins, and Eric Weems. Wyatt would depart the Wildcat program in 2009 as arguably the greatest coach in school history.

11 years later, it appeared HBCU football had found a reincarnation of Wyatt when Jackson State announced it was hiring Deion Sanders as its 21st head coach of their football program. Known for his flashy style both on and off the field as a player, “Prime Time” as he was affectionately called, is widely considered the best defensive back in the history of the NFL and was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2011.

In just one calendar year, Coach Prime guided the Tigers to their first SWAC championship since 2007, received the Eddie Robinson Award as the season’s top FCS head coach and currently has his Tigers at a perfect 5-0 and a Top 10 ranking in FCS standings. In the process, he also managed to flip the 2022 #1 high school recruit in Travis Hunter away from his alma mater Florida State to Jackson State, much to the chagrin of several college coaches across the country and watch his son, Shedeur Sanders, win the Jerry Rice Award, given to the best freshman player in FCS football.

So, in a perfect world, what would a matchup between Shine and Prime look like? Well first, aside from the game being played on the field, the pre-game press conferences would be must-see TV. I can only imagine the witty banter between the coaches prior to the game. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing either of them during a media scrum, the quotes that would have been given would have forever been etched in history. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, Sanders would certainly have his camera crew following him around all week (courtesy of his relationship with Barstool Sports) documenting each step of preparation before the game.

Not to be outdone, Shine would have had the CatEye Network chronicling everything from his team running wind sprints on the beach before dawn to him grabbing some wings from the legendary Bethune Grill near campus (if you know you know).

On gameday, while Prime would likely opt for a JSU hoodie and sweats, you better believe, no matter the weather, Shine would come out of the tunnel donning a mink coat, accompanied by a white leisure suit with oversized gold belt buckle, or an officially licensed B-CU branded one piece jumpsuit. There’s no doubt the following Monday they both would have been featured on ESPN’s Get Up, First Take, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption amongst other shows on competing networks.

While it is tough to predict the outcome of the game, as Jackson State boasts a potent offense vs the always formidable Wildcat defense during Wyatt’s tenure, the true winners would’ve been the fans and supporters of both schools and HBCU’s in general. The game itself would have been one of those “you had to be there” affairs, where, as the years go by, the legend of the story grows larger and larger.

While that certainly will not be the case on Saturday as current Wildcat head coach Terry Sims is the complete antithesis of Wyatt in more ways than one, sometimes it’s nice to sit back, smile and think about what could have possibly been.

After all, a guy can dream.