Savannah State Hires Ex-Georgetown Star Horace Broadnax For Men’s Basketball Job

By Noell Barnidge
Updated: April 11, 2005

Doc Rivers
Horace Broadnax

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Savannah State hired Horace Broadnax, a point guard on Georgetown University’s 1984 national championship team and a head coach at Bethune-Cookman from 1997-2002, as its men’s basketball head coach.

Broadnax, 41, is SSU’s sixth coach since 1997. He fills the void left by Edward Daniels, who was fired Feb. 17, three days after the Tigers finished the 2004-05 season with a 0-28 record.

Broadnax resigned from Bethune-Cookman after compiling a 42-88 record in five seasons to pursue a law career. He earned a law degree from Florida State in 1991 and became a member of the Florida Bar in 1993. Broadnax has been a law partner at the Orlando, Fla., firm of Morgan, Colling & Gilbert since 1998, and is an attorney in the law office of Joseph Williams in Plant City, Fla. He resides in Lakeland, Fla., with his wife of eight years, Tammy, and their two sons, Horace III, who turned 5 Friday, and Randall, 2.

SSU first-year athletic director Tony O’Neal selected Broadnax, whom he worked with at Bethune-Cookman, from a field of 79 people who applied for the job. O’Neal interviewed four candidates – Broadnax, Joby Wright, Chris Crutchfield and Doug Durham – and announced Broadnax’s hiring by faxing a news release to the Savannah Morning News at 5:32 p.m. Friday. SSU did not hold a press conference to announce the hiring.

In the news release, O’Neal said that Broadnax, “has demonstrated twice in his career that he can revitalize challenged basketball programs. We believe our students have the athletic ability, and I am confident that Coach Broadnax can nurture the talent and ability of our players to help them be successful in the classroom and on the court.”

Broadnax is credited with reviving Bethune-Cookman’s program. During his second year as head coach, he was voted the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after finishing with a 10-9 conference record, an improvement for a team that finished 1-26 overall in his first season. He was named MEAC Coach of the Year again after the Wildcats earned their first No. 1 ranking in the MEAC during the 1999-2000 season.

Prior to joining Bethune-Cookman, Broadnax was the head coach at Valencia Community College in Orlando for two years. At Valencia, he recorded the school’s first 20-win season in 1996-97.

At SSU, Broadnax inherits a program that compiled a 2-79 record during its first three seasons of competition at the NCAA Division I level, all under Daniels.

“It’s exciting,” Broadnax said. “I’m definitely humbled and grateful. It’s a tremendous challenge but in order to find out who you are you have to step outside your comfort zone … not that my comfort zone isn’t coaching in Division I, but to find out who you are, you have to take on challenges and stretch yourself.

“(SSU) has potential. When John Thompson took Georgetown in the early 70s, it wasn’t what it is today. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I feel comfortable with it.”

Broadnax said Thompson wrote a letter of recommendation on his behalf “and he probably called the (SSU) President (Carlton Brown) and Mr. O’Neal,” Broadnax said.

O’Neal interviewed Broadnax last weekend in St. Louis, site of the NCAA men’s Final Four. Friday morning, Broadnax visited SSU and met briefly with his players. They talked about last season’s 0-28 debacle, only the second time an NCAA Division I team has finished winless in the last 50 years.

“I told them that if that’s the worst thing that happens in their life then they’ll be extremely successful,” Broadnax said. “Hopefully, we can get amnesia about that.”

Broadnax said he is impressed with Tiger Arena, in which he coached when Bethune-Cookman played SSU, and he is comfortable with O’Neal.

“Tony knows me. He feels comfortable with me. I know him,” Broadnax said. “That’s a plus, to feel comfortable with the person you work for. He doesn’t have to hold my hand and babysit me.

“He’ll turn things around, along with the support of the (SSU) President. My job, it’s not going to be a fast turnaround like Roy Williams. We’re a Division I (team), but we’re not a Division I like North Carolina. It’s not going to be done overnight. It’s not going to be done in the first year.”

Asked if he signed a multi-year contract, Broadnax laughed and said, “I’m part-time, interim. I think all coaches feel that way. Seriously, we didn’t specify the number of years. As long as there’s progress, I can be their coach.”

Last season, SSU had three players on full scholarship and four players on partial scholarship. NCAA Division I rules allow teams to have up to 13 players on full scholarship. Daniels, 54, said his budget was never increased during his time at SSU.

Broadnax said he is confident SSU will have 13 players on full scholarship this season.

“I don’t know how much they had last year but we should have the full allotment, if I’m not mistaken,” Broadnax said. “We should have the full amount. It has increased dramatically. I feel comfortable that Mr. O’Neal and Dr. Brown will accommodate me and get these things done.”

Speculation among alums was high that SSU would hire Wright, the only one among the four candidates who were interviewed who has roots in Savannah.

Wright is a first cousin to Daniels and played with him at Johnson High School, where they led the Atomsmashers to a state championship in 1968. Wright was a three-year starter at Indiana, where he played a season for Bob Knight, and spent one season in the NBA.

After his playing days, he worked as an assistant coach for Knight at Indiana until he became head coach at Miami (Ohio) in 1990. Wright spent three seasons at Miami, compiling a 61-29 record and guiding the RedHawks to the NCAA tournament in his second season.

Wright coached Wyoming from 1993-97. His overall record at Wyoming was 53-60.

He now works in Indiana University’s Department of Recreation and Park Administration in Bloomington, Ind.

Broadnax, when asked if he was surprised that Wright was not hired by SSU, said, “He’s the hometown hero. He’s a great coach. His resume speaks volumes. I’m extremely humbled.”

Broadnax will began working at SSU on Monday. National Signing Day is Wednesday.