Floyd Keith, who will be named head football coach at Howard University today, said in an interview yesterday he is "convinced the school administration will be heading in the same direction where I want to go."
He will replace Doug Porter, who was fired Dec. 15 after he complained publicly that the school administration did not support the university's football program.
A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. today at Cramton Auditorium to announce the hiring of the former University of Colorado assistant, who has had no previous head coaching experience at either the high school or college level.
Proter said one main complaint was the failure of the administration and athletic department to deliver on many of the promises given him when he was hired away from Grambling five years ago. Porter compiled a 30-21-2 record and had only one losing season, 4-6 last year.
When asked if he was aware of the existing problems, such as poor practice and playing facilites, insufficient funds for recruiting and a poorly equipped weight room, Keith said he was.
"I'm aware of the problems, but there are a lot of possibilites," Keith said. "I'm tickled with the situation and I feel good about what the administration has said about what will happen concerning the program.
"I can't comment on what happened before I got here, but I'm convinced the administration is behind me," Keith said. "i can see some positive reinforcement for the program."
Keith was selected from a list of applicants that included, according to informed sources, Bill Hayes, who coached Winston-Salem State to two consecutive CIAA titles; Washington native Willie Wood, a former All-Pro safety with the Green Bay Packers, and Andy Hinson, former coach at Bethune-Cookman (Fla.).
"I'm very glad to be here. Of course, we have to do a lot of catching up," Keith said. "My first two priorities are to put together a first-rate coaching staff and get some recruiting done."
Keith said he will have four fulltime and a couple of part-time assitant coaches. "I'll see what else I need before deciding on an exact number," he said. "I have a couple of people in mind, but right now I can't say who they'll be. We're working on it."
When asked if any of Porter's assistants will be retained, Keith would give no definite answer. However, he said he is interested in talking to all of them.
Several Bison players said they were impressed with their new coach.
"He speaks well and seems stern," said tight end Fitz Fowler. "I'm just glad they finally got someone.We were confused from waiting so long. He plans to meet with us Tuesday to outline our preseason work."
"I think he's okay," quarterback Brian Thomas said. "I plan to give him my best. I'm looking forward to playing for him."
Leo Miles, Howard's athletic director, had said the university "was definitely looking to hire someone with head coaching experience, someone with a proven winning record."
Keith said he feels his 12 years of working as an assistant with proven programs was more than an ample recommendation.
"It won't be like recruiting at Colorado or Penn State," Keith said. "Right now, we're just trying to see where we've been and where we're going. We're looking to see where we need help. I've done a little homework.
"We aren't going to sit on our butts because it's late. We plan to have a first-class recruiting program here."
Keith 30, is a native of Lima, Ohio. He won letters in football and track at St. Mary's Memorial High School before earning a BS at Ohio Northern in 1970. He began his coaching career as an assistant at his former high school and served as the offensive and defensive back coach for three years before moving to Ohio Northern for two years.
He joined the Miami of Ohio staff in 1970 and was mainly in charge of recruiting and coaching the receivers, quarterbacks and running backs.
In 1974, Keith went to the University of Colorado and worked five years under recently fired Bill Mallory. For three years, he was offensive backfield coach and headed recruiting on the West Coast and in the South-west. His best-known recruit was Tony Reed, now a tailback for the Kansas City Chiefs.