Florida A&M axes coaches

Originally published May 20, 2009
FAMU fires track coaches
By St. Clair Murraine
Democrat Staff Writer

Reiterating his mantra about making FAMU the envy of the MEAC, athletic director Bill Hayes on Tuesday night confirmed the firing of both head coaches from the track program.

Hayes said the year-to-year contracts of men’s coach Rey Robinson and women’s coach Maicel Malone will not be renewed. Their terminations come while they were preparing five athletes, three men and two women, for the NCAA East Regional championships next weekend in Greensboro, N.C.

While the terminations are effective immediately, Hayes didn’t say who would coach the team at the regionals. Robinson said he would declare the athletes’ participation before the end of the NCAA’s required 24-hour period for doing so, beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“All the necessary due diligence has been completed and we expect these young people to go out and perform,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he was grateful for what both coaches had accomplished during their tenures, but FAMU wants to go in a different direction with its track program.

“Our goal is to turn our program back to the elite status in the conference and in the nation,” said Hayes, during a telephone interview from Las Vegas, where he is attending a MEAC meeting. “We plan to have the right staff in place to help us with that goal as quickly as we can.”

Hayes said the university will begin a nationwide search for the coaches’ replacements.

Robinson, a 1972 Olympian, has been the men’s track coach since 2000. Malone, a former coach at FSU, took over the women’s program at FAMU in 2005.

Malone said she had not been informed of her termination until she was reached for comment. However, she said she did not intend to be at practice on Wednesday.

Robinson said he was called to his office by FAMU counsel Avery McKnight, who handed him his termination letter. Robinson said he was conducting practice with the men’s team when he received the call from McKnight.

The news came just four days after he was assured by Hayes that his job was safe, Robinson said, expressing surprise at the turn of events.

“You know how I feel about FAMU,” he said. “This is my home. I grew up here. To have an opportunity to be the head coach at Florida A&M was my dream come true.”

Robinson said he wasn’t sure about his future plans, although he expressed an interest in continuing his coaching career.

“Right now,” he said, “my wife and I are sitting here talking about it.”

Damn rey and my father ran track at famu. Even though rey was the olympian he would talk about my pops like he was a god among man in foot ball and track. ALways confused me.

The year rey came to famu as coach I was going into my last year. I never ran under him because Ineeded to start concentrating on grades. But his second year coaching he took the teack and one the conference championships, 4x1 made it to nationals and few other accomplishments. He won the conference champs a few more times during the years I think. HE recruited some great athletes and took them to some fast times, Sheldon Morant (jamaica) and Chris Hargrett to name a few, Plus a ton of other athletes who never grades the grades right. The past few years they cut the track budget. No money for uniforms shoes or to recruit. Rey from what I hear is also coaching Walt Dix now. Boy was that a bad decision in my opinion. I think that the AD just had it out for him. I think it was the same situation for Maicel money wise.

Bill Hayes don’t play around.

Just watch! The AD will do a nationwide search and discover that the most ‘qualified candidates’ are his associates!
Do you expect anyone to believe he’d fire both coaches without having replacements in mind already? Timing is just great too.

Yea, I bet it is a personal grudge.

Yea seriously, nice timing. Things like this make D3 seem not so bad sometimes.

I don’t think so, I have spoken to Mr. Hayes several times and was offer the head strength and conditioning job back in Jan of 2008. To make a long story short he has big things for FAMU athletic department and wish things could have worked out for both parties in 08! His track record don’t lie, he has been successful his whole career.

A grudge would likely involve one but not both coaches. Look to Hayes’ personal benefit and contacts or the shifting of financial resources out of track.
Hayes’ timing and failure to face the coaches himself says alot about his personal class and his overall interest in the welfare of the track program and should serve as a distinct warning to any athlete considering going there!
BTW, I remember another case of a Florida School where such a nationwide search resulted in the best candidate being the searcher’s brother (no names please!!)
Keep us posted on how this plays out.

Very funny. AD has no class. He might hire is wife as the new coach.

What’s your take on the situation (if you can talk about it) and how do you explain dumping the coaching staff right before the season’s most important events? Do you think this is an indicator about the future status of track in the program? Would you advise a track athlete to go there now??

Worth having a look at Rattler Nation to see what the coaches are/were up against.

I don’t want to get into details, but Mr. Hayes want his own people in place similar to what he did with the football program by hiring one of the best football coaches in the business (Joe Taylor). Yes, I would advise any JC or High school athlete to attend FAMU mainly because I believe Mr. Hayes will bring a good coach into the program. With the conversations I have had with Mr. Hayes he wants every sport to be strong at FAMU not just football but all sports, golf, tennis, volleyball etc etc.

Mr. Hayes has a very strong personality and takes no shit! When he arrived at FAMU in Dec 2007 he fired a ton of staff members including janitors etc.

Well I would advise any track athlete to stay away from there till the dust settles and it can be SEEN who he gets for coaches and what sort of contract guarantee those coaches have. (What successful coach would work under conditions like that?)

B-I-N-G-O, that’s what kept me away was the guarantee contract. Enough on that :)…

I really think Mr. Hayes will get a big name because that’s what he likes, I may give him a call sometime this week.

So FAMU is so serious about improving their track program that they’ll send athletes to championship meets without their (regular) coaches?


Maybe the athletes will bomb, and then next year, when the teams do better than they do this year, but not as well as they would have done this year without the coaches being fired, they can talk about how much they “improved.”

HS athletes should pay attention! Usually, if you think things through, you can smell bullshit before you step in it.

Big mistake period. I know many athletes down here in miami that have changed their minds about going to famu. Even though I went their I advise them not to atleast right now. They are gonna really lose athletes now with fl state kicking ass. Even with dix training with rey.