Thursday, January 18, 2007

Grambling hires Rod Broadway

Reigning black college champ interested in Grambling vacancy
January 12, 2007

By Nick Deriso
GRAMBLING — Rod Broadway, just off a 2006 black college national championship at North Carolina Central, is interested in Grambling State's top job.

"I'd love to talk about Grambling, with the rich tradition they have there," said Broadway, a longtime former assistant in the ACC and SEC who took over at North Carolina Central four seasons ago. "They have an opportunity every year to do what we've done here."

Broadway, 51, has just returned from the American Football Coaches Association's annual meeting in San Antonio, where Grambling athletics director Troy Mathieu met informally with several potential candidates.

He has not officially applied, but Broadway's interest in the position is evident.

"I think that's a special place," he said. "Growing up, Grambling was the marquee name in black college football. That's where it should be."

Grambling fired third-year coach Melvin Spears after a disappointing 3-8 campaign in 2006. As many as 20 applicants are hoping to replace him.

Broadway would immediately join any conversation about finalists, having fashioned an undefeated 11-0 regular season in 2006 on the way to a second-consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title. (Along the way, his local stock skyrocketed with a 27-20 victory against archrival Southern in Baton Rouge.)

The national Sheridan Broadcasting Network crown is the first for Broadway's Division II program since the poll was begun 33 seasons ago.

And he did it with a late replacement under center. Redshirt freshman Stadford Brown was pushed into action when a senior quarterback suddenly left the program as the '06 season dawned.

"We had enough good athletes where we didn't have to ask him to win games," Broadway said. "He just needed to manage the game. We molded our offense around what he could do."

Brown led the conference with 211 passing yards per game, earning CIAA offensive player of the year honors. But Broadway's modified West Coast attack still placed great value on establishing a running game.

"I think if we can run the ball, it opens up your passing game," he said. "We like to do both."

His team set a new NCCU record in 2005, averaging of 30.8 points per game. That CIAA title was the first for the school in 25 seasons.

Asked about a larger offensive philosophy, Broadway is refreshingly upfront: "Score as many points as we can, any kind of way we can, as often as we can. That's our philosophy."

It's an approach shaped during a 1995-2001 tenure with Steve Spurrier at Florida, one that included SEC crowns in 1995-96 and 2000, and a national championship in 1996.

"When you get an opportunity to work with one of the brightest minds in football, you pick up some things," he said. "Offensively, he's sharp as a tack. You borrow some things and mold your own program."

Broadway, a native of Oakboro, N.C., graduated from West Stanly High School and went on to All-ACC honors at North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelors degree in 1977 in recreation administration.

After college, he also served as an assistant at Duke (1981-94) and his alma mater (2001-02), both within 10 miles of the offices he sits in now as head coach at NCCU. But Broadway said he had no qualms about making the transition to Grambling, in the far-away piney woods of northern Louisiana.

"With the success that they have had there, and the resources, somebody can go into there with a plan and quickly get that thing where it deserves to be," he said. "I've been in this for 28 years and I've never applied for any job. But that place is a gold mine."

Broadway entered the 2006 season with an overall record of 22-10, having led NCCU to more victories in his first three campaigns than any other coach in school history. He has now won 28 of his last 31 games.

NCCU had never won 8 or more games in consecutive seasons before Broadway established a streak that now stands at three.

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Grambling gets closer to finding its man
Interviews for new football coach set to start this week
January 15, 2007

By Nick Deriso
GRAMBLING — Grambling State has entered the final stage of its search for a football coach: A series of finalist interviews.

North Carolina Central coach Rod Broadway, Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones and Grambling volunteer assistant Albert Lewis are expected to take part over the next few days — along with perhaps one more prospect.

"Grambling is what I am interested in," Lewis said, earlier in the search process. "Whatever I can do, I want to do." GSU is coming off a disappointing 3-8 season marked by controversy. That led to the Dec. 18 dismissal of third-year coach Melvin Spears, as first reported at Offensive coordinator Sammy White then began directing recruitment efforts as interim coach during this search.

Calls to Grambling athletics director Troy Mathieu were unreturned.

Over the course of its three-week search, he received close to two dozen applications from prospective candidates, including several with school ties.

Among them were: two-time GSU team captain Broderick Fobbs; former player and assistant Eddie Robinson Jr. (son of the school's legendary former head coach); Grambling product Eric Dooley, an assistant at Southern; ex-Robinson assistant Dennis "Dirt" Winston; and former Grambling defensive back and assistant Thomas Lavigne.

None apparently had heard from GSU over the weekend.

"I haven't received a call," said Fobbs, who was conducting an official visit for prospects as recruiting coordinator/offensive coordinator at Northwestern State.

Lavigne worked with Eddie Robinson Sr. during the 1982-83 seasons, and was hired by former GSU coach Doug Williams as defensive coordinator just before Williams' departure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' front office. Lavigne left Grambling for a job at Ruston High not long after.

"I haven't talked to anybody from Grambling yet," he said. "I'm still excited to have the opportunity."

Lavigne also made coaching stops at North Carolina A&T, Southern, Tennessee State, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State.

Winston, winner of two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, applied in the search that led to Spears being named GSU coach in 2005, as well.

"I didn't get an interview then, and it doesn't look like I will get one this time, either," said Winston, defensive coordinator on Robinson's final league championship team. "I don't see anyone more qualified. But even if the opportunity doesn't come, I have to believe that others opportunities are out there for me."

Broadway led North Carolina Central to the 2006 Sheridan Broadcasting Network black college national championship, the school's first since the poll began 33 years ago. NCCU was a perfect 11-0 in the regular season, capturing its second Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in four years under Broadway.

"I'd love to talk about Grambling, with the rich tradition they have there," Broadway said this week. "They have an opportunity every year to do what we've done here."

He reportedly turned down another job after back-channel talks with Grambling heated up. Broadway — who made previous coaching stops at Florida, Duke and North Carolina-Chapel Hill — had committed to stay at NCCU until his son, a standout senior tight end on last year's squad, completed his eligibility.

Jones has led A&M to two appearances in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Game, including an emotional first-ever win last December. He's won 41 games over five seasons in Huntsville, Ala.

"We have a chance to continue this run, and I would love to be a part of that," Jones said, just days after Spears was let go. "But I would not rule out anything."

He was a finalist in Grambling's 2005 search, as well.

Lewis, a two-time all-conference defensive back for Robinson in 1981-82, served as a volunteer assistant last year with Spears. Lewis had a stellar 16-season career in the NFL, then was out of football for years — he worked as a horse breeder — before returning as an assistant at San Diego and NFL Europe during the 2004-05 seasons.

"I have a feel for the players, because I was with them," Lewis said last week. "Grambling is supposed to exemplify Eddie Robinson. We have to maintain that standard."

Grambling's list of applicants also included Vanderbilt running backs coach Kenny Carter — who, like Fobbs, spent the weekend playing host to a series of prospects as the program's recruiting coordinator. He had not heard from Grambling this weekend either, he said.

"You do your job while you have your job," said Carter, who interviewed last week for the vacancy at Howard, as well.

Former Tennessee State and Alabama State coach L.C. Cole, another applicant, did not return a call for comment.

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Broadway has overhaul skills
Grambling football coaching prospect helped rebuild North Carolina Central
January 16, 2007

By Nick Deriso
GRAMBLING — Should he get the job at Grambling State, Rod Broadway would begin in a far better place.

And would, likely, be making far better money.

Broadway interviewed Monday for the vacant position of head football coach as GSU seeks to replace Melvin Spears, who was let go on Dec. 18 after three years at the helm. The North Carolina Central head coach is one of at least four finalists reportedly set to meet with Grambling, including Detroit Lions assistant Charles "Kippy" Brown, Alabama A&M head coach Anthony Jones and Grambling volunteer assistant Albert Lewis.

Broadway arrived having taken NCCU from Division II tatters to consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles in just four seasons.

In the beginning, the program was so ramshackle that players were forced to share equipment. NCCU had managed just two winning seasons in the previous eight and hadn't won a CIAA crown since 1980.

Today, North Carolina Central has taken 28 of its last 31 games — including 11 in a row last year — and stands on the cusp of a move up to the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.

"I was shocked; I was absolutely shocked," Broadway said of the early going. "We didn't even have enough helmets to go around. Guys would come off the practice field and they would pass their equipment on to somebody else. It might have been easier to start from scratch."

But while NCCU went 25 seasons between league titles, Grambling was capturing nine of its own. No historic Division I-AA program, except Yale, boasts a better all-time winning percentage than GSU's.

Grambling allocates roughly $4 million dollars to athletics each year, which ranks in the middle of the pack for Southwestern Athletic Conference programs. North Carolina Central, meanwhile, had to promise to double its current athletics budget in order to be considered for a proposed June transition out of Division II.

That left it to Broadway, who previously coached under Steve Spurrier at Florida, to restock the lockers and build up the previously struggling team's confidence.

A stingy defense was matched only by Broadway's high-powered, balanced offense. His team averaged 30.8 points per game in 2005, a new school record. A year later, he led the conference with 211 passing yards per game, while setting school and league records with 24 touchdown passes by a freshman.

NCCU, which had never before won 11 games, was named Sheridan Broadcasting Network's black college national champion for the first time since that poll began.

"To come from where we did, my hats off to these kids and the coaching staff, the athletic director and chancellor," Broadway said. "It takes a lot of people. But when you have a lot of people pulling for you, it's easy to succeed."

Broadway has just completed a four-year contract signed in January 2003 that guaranteed him $100,000 a year, though he reportedly has received a raise since then.

Broadway was also in the running for the Stephen F. Austin job, though he apparently pulled out to focus on the GSU opening. That position was said to pay in the $115,000 range.

Spears had a base salary of $150,000, which at the time of signing was second best in the SWAC. Incentives ramped his annual pay to nearly $200,000.

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Detroit's Brown withdraws from Grambling search
1:01 p.m.; January 18, 2007

By Nick Deriso
GRAMBLING -- Detroit Lions assistant Charles "Kippy" Brown has withdrawn from Grambling State's on-going search for a new head football coach.

Brown cited family issues, saying he would remain with the Lions. "I enjoyed every moment I spent in Grambling, and every one there was a class act," said Brown, a 28-year coaching veteran in the college and pro ranks. "Whoever gets that job will be very lucky."

Brown was one of four finalists to interview on campus this week, as Grambling seeks to replace third-year coach Melvin Spears, who was fired on Dec. 18. The others are: North Carolina Central coach Rod Broadway, Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones and Grambling volunteer assistant Albert Lewis.

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Grambling search now down to two finalists
2:13 p.m., January 18, 2007

By Nick Deriso
GRAMBLING -- A second candidate is out in Grambling State's search for a new head football coach.

Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones has reportedly received word he will not be offered the job. Longtime NFL assistant Charles "Kippy" Brown, another finalist, withdrew from the search earlier today, in a story also first reported at

Grambling is now left with two remaining finalists from its original quartet of prospects, North Carolina Central coach Rod Broadway and Grambling volunteer assistant Albert Lewis.

Jones has apparently already met with his players to inform them that he is remaining in Huntsville, Ala.

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Grambling to name Broadway as its new coach
2:52 p.m., January 18, 2007

By Nick Deriso
GRAMBLING -- North Carolina Central coach Rod Broadway will be Grambling State's ninth head football coach.

School officials are at work on a news release announcing the hire, to be issued simultaneously with NCCU.

Detroit Lions assistant Charles "Kippy" Brown withdrew from the search earlier today, then Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones was informed that the school would offer the job to someone else. Those stories were also first reported at

That left Grambling volunteer assistant Albert Lewis, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive back, as the only other remaining finalist.

He did not comment this afternoon, and said he would not until after an official announcement is made.

Details on a news conference to introduce Broadway were also still to come. Grambling president Horace Judson is out of town, and not scheduled to return until Friday night. That could push the announcing event to Monday.

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GSU officially picks Broadway to lead football team
5:07 p.m., January 18, 2007

By Nick Deriso
Grambling State has officially named Rod Broadway as its new football coach, two hours after broke the story.

He led North Carolina Central team to the 2006 Sheridan Black College National championship last season, and back-to-back league titles for the first time since the 1953-54 seasons.

“We are elated that Rod Broadway has agreed to take the leadership reigns of the Grambling State University football program,” Mathieu said in the release. “He’s a proven winner as a head coach and has had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most respected coaches on the Division I level over the past two decades. We’re looking forward to him having a very successful tenure as the head coach of Grambling State University.”

Broadway replaces Melvin Spears, who was released Dec. 18 after three years as coach. He was part of a quartet of finalists that included Detroit Lions assistant Charles "Kippy" Brown, Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones and Grambling volunteer assistant Albert Lewis.

Prior to his tenure at NCCU, Broadway served as an assistant at North Carolina (2001-02), Florida (1995-00), Duke (1981-94) and East Carolina (1979-80). While at Florida, he was part of head coach Steve Spurrier's 1996 national championship staff.

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