On Wednesday afternoon, Seventh Judicial Circuit Judge Terence Perkins ordered that Bethune-Cookman pay former head coach Alvin “Shine” Wyatt nearly $771,000 in restitution stemming from a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the university in 2010.
Wyatt flamboyantly patrolled the sidelines of Municipal Stadium as Bethune-Cookman’s “head ball coach” from 1997-2009. Wyatt accumulated a 90-54 record during his 13 year tenure and surpassed the legendary Rudolph “Bunky” Matthews as BCU’s all-time winningest coach.
Wyatt’s teams finished at 5-6 in three of his final four seasons and suffered drubbings (58-35 in 2008 and 42-6 in 2009) at the hands of in-state rival Florida A&M in his final two seasons at the helm. He was unceremoniously fired by then BCU President Trudie Kibbe Reed at the conclusion of the 2009 season.
The now 65 year old coach sued the university in 2010 claiming breach of contract. He stated in his suit that he was “wrongfully terminated without cause and without written notice as required in his contract”. Wyatt also cited age discrimination as motive for his firing and sought $1.2 million in damages.
Judge Terence Perkins ruled that the university had in fact breached Wyatt’s contract and awarded him $771,000 in restitution. The payment represents four years of salary, other guaranteed income, and retirement match contributions Wyatt’s existing contract would have paid him had he not been wrongfully terminated.
Judge Perkins ruled against Wyatt in his age discrimination claim against the university stating that no evidence of age discrimination was provided.
Wyatt graduated from Bethune-Cookman in 1970 and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders later that same year. He spent five years in the NFL and World Football League before joining the BCU coaching staff as a defensive backs coach in 1975. For 31 of the next 34 years, Wyatt held various positions on the BCU football staff including defensive backs coach, linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and head coach.
In 1998, Wyatt led BCU to its first winning season since 1985. He guided the Wildcats to their first ever playoff appearance in 2002 and returned to the NCAA playoffs for a second time a year later.
Wyatt coached a bevy of players who went on to play in the professional ranks among whom include NFL pro-bowlers Nick Collins (Green Bay), Rashean Mathis (Jacksonville), and Eric Weems (Atlanta). Other professional players coached by Wyatt include Steve Baggs, Damion Cook, Allen Suber, Anthony Bass and others.