Former NFL running back Eddie George who played seven seasons for the Tennessee Titans is slated to become the head coach of Tennessee State University’s football team.
On Monday, the school announced that it would not renew coach Rod Reed’s contract, ESPN reports. Reed compiled a record of 60-69 since he first took up the position in 2010.
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According to the Tennessean, Reed, in his 11th season at TSU, told his team on Saturday night that Sunday's game against Southeast Missouri (SEMO) would be his last.
"After thoroughly evaluating the state of the TSU football program, we've decided that it was time to make a change in leadership," TSU athletics director Mikki Allen said in a press release on Monday. "We would like to thank Rod for his service, dedication and commitment to his alma mater over the past 11 years. Rod is and will always be a TSU Tiger."
As Yahoo Sports reports, George won the Heisman award as a senior at Ohio State University in 1995 before starting a remarkable nine-year career in the NFL. As a first-round draft pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, George rushed more than 10,000 yards and obtained 68 touchdowns in his professional career. He also earned four Pro Bowl selections and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
George has spent time off the gridiron mentoring a number of Titans players, like running back Derrick Henry, who credits a personal conversation with George as a contributing factor to his breakout season in 2018 where he tallied 18 total touchdowns, ESPN reports. Although he has no previous head coaching experience, TSU is hoping that George will reinvigorate the program in a way similar to what Deion Sanders has been able to do at Jackson State University.
In his first year with JSU, Sanders has brought in one of the school’s highest-rated recruiting classes in decades, according to Sports Illustrated.
Since retiring from the league, George has found work as an actor and explored a number of business ventures, including a landscape architecture and design company, per the Tennessean.
Recently, George became a member of the Montgomery Bell Academy Board of Trustees and was also selected as a chair of the real estate advisory committee for Music City Baseball, an organization dedicated to bringing a major league team to the city of Nashville.
Following Sunday’s 46-23 loss to SEMO, Reed said he was proud of what he and the team accomplished but acknowledged that the constraints of the HBCU program made it hard to build consistency.
"It was just hard to sustain it. We ran into some financial deals probably in 2014, 2015. There were some budget cuts. We haven't had our kids in summer school the last five years. We haven't really had a recruiting budget the last four or five years. We played with seven less scholarships; we haven't had our full 63 scholarships. This was our first year that we had 63,” he said.