Reggie Theus is in a rarefied position in Division I sports, holding the dual role of athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Bethune-Cookman. Last month he was named to the first list of nominees for the 2023 Basketball Hall of Fame.
During his NBA career (1978-1983), Theus scored over 19,000 points, compiled over 6,000 assists, and was the fourth overall pick of the 1978 NBA draft by Chicago. He made All-Rookie in 1979 and played for five NBA clubs, then finished his pro career overseas for a couple of seasons.
He later went into coaching in 2002 and held jobs both in college and pros, including head coach at New Mexico State (2005-07), where he won the 2006-07 Western Athletic Conference title, and three seasons as a Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach (2009-11), D-League head coach (Los Angeles, 2012-13) and head coach at Cal State-Northridge (2013-18). Theus also worked in broadcasting as an analyst and was hired at Bethune-Cookman in 2021.
During the SWAC preseason media call, the MSR asked Theus about his dual role.
“First of all, I have a great staff,” responded the AD and head coach. “I’ve got a tremendous staff on the AD-side. I’ve got a tremendous staff on the coaching side. It allows me to do the big-picture things. I got a lot of great ideas.”
On running Bethune-Cookman’s Division I athletic department, noted Theus, “I have a lot of respect, a tremendous amount of respect for athletic directors.” He is currently looking for a new football coach.
On being on the short list of Black Division I athletic directors, “It’s an opportunity,” said Theus. “Not many of us get a chance to do things like this. It’s such a blessing for me to be able to have the opportunity to really effect change and affect the lives of a lot of kids.
“That’s what we’re trying to do,” said the B-C athletic director. “We’re trying to build a championship culture here.”
“I’ve turned around a couple of programs at New Mexico State [and] Northridge [which] never really had any real success,” said Theus. “Being the AD [at Bethune-Cookman] does help, because it puts me in a direct connection with the upper administration [at the school].”
“That championship culture starts with discipline,” said Theus, who is working to turn things around at B-C after the pandemic shut things down for a couple of years. “It starts with having fun that comes out of the hard work. We’ve done a lot to build the athletic department, and we’re really proud of the way we’re building a basketball team.”
HBCU athletic conferences collaborate
Four Black college conferences are actively practicing the third principle of Kwanzaa—Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility.
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) have agreed to partner in more collaborative ways. Over the past three years, the four conferences have met and worked together collaboratively to identify immediate and future opportunities that align with the respective conferences’ strategies: a partnership with the NFL, the Black College Hall of Fame, the NCAA Inclusion office, championships, and other select events are notable examples.
Now called the “Four Power HBCU Conferences,” the four leagues will meet monthly to share ideas, develop new opportunities, expand current programming, and engage all four conference members and leadership where applicable, said a MEAC release.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.
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