TSU, head coach Cole part ways

By Uba Okereke

The Johnnie Cole era at Texas Southern University (TSU) has come to an abrupt end.

The head football coach of the 2010 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champions was fired Friday of last week amid an NCAA report that details major violations by the program.

According to the Houston Chronicle, athletic director Charles McClelland said that defensive coordinator Kevin Ramsey was promoted to interim coach and a replacement for Cole will be named after the 2011 season.

Cole leaves TSU with a 19-16 record in three seasons and an overall record of 34-32 as a college coach. He led the Tigers to a 9-3 record in the SWAC which included a championship title win versus East champion Alabama State, the school’s first outright title since 1968.

The development comes in the midst of an NCAA probe into TSU’s athletic program for possible violations of academic inconsistencies that stem from 2004-2007 before either Cole or McClelland were hired. Someone with knowledge of the situation says that the NCAA’s investigation is complete and a full report will be issued in May.

The report could also show that the men’s basketball team may have committed minor violations.

Cole released a statement saying that he has not resigned and only been relieved of his coaching duties. His departure ends the tenure of one of TSU’s most successful coaches. The Tigers were 0-11 prior to Cole’s arrival and garnered a 6-5 record in his second season as head coach eclipsed with a championship title the following season.

            The success of the Tigers football team rests on the shoulders of Ramsey. The defensive coordinator, who is entering his third season, has coached at Georgia, Kansas State and Tennessee, as well as in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Tigers are currently in spring practice and will have their Maroon and Grey game on April 16 at Durley Field.


Athletic director arrested during Final Four

Southern University (SU) Athletic Director Greg LaFleur was arrested and charged with misdemeanor prostitution while attending the 2011 Men’s Final Four in Houston, police said.

A spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department said that LaFleur, 52, was arrested Sunday at 8:30PM at the 1100 block of Main Street. According to the report, LaFleur is accused of soliciting a person to engage in “sexual intercourse for hire.”

He was then transferred to Harris County Jail. He was arraigned on Monday and given a $500 bond.

LaFleur was in Houston searching for candidates for the open SU men’s basketball coaching job. SU announced last week that it will fire Rob Spivery after six seasons.

LaFleur is scheduled to be in Harris County Criminal Court on April 11.

Okereke is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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