Bethune-Cookman reportedly has tabbed its next head football coach less than two weeks after deciding to move on from Ed Reed amid controversy surrounding the Pro Football Hall of Famer’s hiring.
The Wildcats agreed to hire veteran assistant and B-CU alum Raymond Woodie Jr. to serve as their next coach, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. Woodie, who starred for the Wildcats from 1992 to ’95, had been with Florida Atlantic since 2020, working as an associate head coach, outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator under coach Willie Taggart, who was fired on Nov. 26.
“Grateful, thankful and blessed to announce that I will be returning to my alma mater to serve as the next head football coach at Bethune-Cookman University,” Woodie said of the move on Facebook. “I look forward to bringing a winning culture back to the city. Winning on and off the field are my top priorities for our team. I know we have work to do, and I hope that Wildcat Nation will be behind us!”
Woodie’s hiring follows a tumultuous saga for the Wildcats involving Reed, who was initially hired as head coach on Dec. 27. In the weeks after his hiring, however, Reed would take aim at the conditions at B-CU and other HBCUs, eventually unleashing an NSFW tirade about the university on Jan. 15, during which he claimed HBCU programs had “broken mentalities” and “need help.”
On Jan. 21, Reed, who later apologized for his criticisms, announced he would no longer be coaching the Wildcats after the school decided not to ratify his contract and honor its previous agreement. He also stated that he would not be withdrawing his name from the position before claiming he was being forced out by the administration. B-CU players later started a petition to have Reed reinstated.
In response to Reed’s remarks, the school issued a statement announcing it had officially re-opened its search for a new coach.
“After undergoing a detailed assessment and review of the state of our football program, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our university, athletics program, and football student-athletes to reopen the search and identify the next leader of Bethune-Cookman Wildcats Football,” the statement read.
With Woodie now in the fold, the Wildcats will look to begin their rebuild in earnest, as the program aims to rebound from the November firing of coach Terry Sims after seven seasons. Bethune-Cookman has finished 2–9 in each of the past two seasons, with a combined 4–12 mark in SWAC play during that span.
A seasoned Division I assistant with 13 years of experience, Woodie transitioned from a 13-year career as a high school coach in Florida to the collegiate ranks in 2010 as a defensive assistant on Taggart’s staff at Western Kentucky. Woodie stuck with Taggart through his head coaching stops at South Florida, Oregon and Florida State, building a respected reputation as both a coach and recruiter along the way.
Prior to coaching, Woodie played linebacker and safety at B-CU, earning Division I-AA All-America and first-team All-MEAC honors over his final two seasons. He also played one season professionally for the CFL’s British Columbia Lions.