Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bethune-Cookman coach builds football winner by not being satisfied

Ex-Wildcat player Alvin Wyatt is the winningest Bethune-Cookman football coach at 85-47.

Ex-Wildcat player Alvin Wyatt is the winningest Bethune-Cookman football coach at 85-47.

Alvin Wyatt could have been a lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

In his 12th season, the Bethune-Cookman coach has mastered the art of letting anyone within earshot know about his football program's constant plight. His intent is to arm himself with more bait in the hunt for recruits, the lifeblood of any program.

Wyatt speaks constantly of a desperate need to upgrade the school's football facilities and improve his coaching staff. The football offices recently were moved from trailers to a new building, and the Wildcats finally landed a full-time strength coach.

Wyatt also has mastered the art of coaching.

He played to the media again this week, stating a case for B-CU to earn consideration for a playoff berth after an 8-2 start entering Saturday's Florida Classic against rival Florida A&M (8-3). Wyatt spoke of a similar scenario the Wildcats faced in 2003 heading into this rivalry game, when they reached the playoffs with an 8-2 record despite not winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

"No one thought we would get there, and we got there after beating Florida A&M in the Florida Classic," Wyatt said. "I think this game is the same way."

The argument carries more clout now that Wyatt has surpassed Rudolph "Bunky" Matthews to become B-CU's all-time winningest coach with a career record of 85-47, two wins better than Matthews. Winning usually appeals to the masses.

"I can tell you, it was a heck of a guy that I took first place from," Wyatt said. "He was my professor. He spoke at my high school commencement exercises. He was the guy that really cared about me and molded me into the man I am today. I'm very appreciative of it, and I know up in heaven he's glad I was able to accomplish what I accomplished."

Wyatt, who played for the Wildcats from 1966 to 1969 and was an All-American, swears he only knew of the potential milestone a few games before he got there. He absorbed his 84th victory like a set of Michelins taking on a speed bump.

"Everything remained the same," Wyatt said. "There was no celebration or anything because you're right back to work trying to win another football game. …And I'm not looking for anything special to be done. Records are made to be broken."

Wyatt noted how proud he was to get there so quickly. It took Matthews 15 seasons to win 83 games. Wyatt has done it in 12, averaging seven wins per season.

The Wildcats use his famous "Wyattbone" offense, a rushing attack that forces defenses to account for gaps created by blocks on misdirection plays.

That offense has helped the Wildcats, picked in the preseason to finish seventh in the MEAC, sit at second with a shot at the playoffs. B-CU's rushing offense is ranked 12th in Division I-AA with an average of 214.8 yards per game.

"He's committed to running what he runs," Rattlers coach Joe Taylor said. "… He likes those speed guys that can change direction. Just looking at the film, they do what they do. They don't care if it's nontraditional or whatever. He's done a good job of getting people to run what he wants to run."

Wyatt has coped with some key injuries and relied on a youthful roster this season.

"I am a little bit shocked and surprised with where we are today," Wyatt said. "We thought it would take a little more time for us to get to where we are. We're here now. … A lot of people in America wish they had eight wins."

Wyatt was asked when he might consider calling it a career, and with a passionate rise in his voice he pointed to Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, 79, and Penn State coach Joe Paterno, 81, as role models.

At 60, Wyatt still has plenty of steam.

"I don't even think about it," Wyatt said of retirement. "… I want to keep working as long as I can work, walk and go up and down to that practice field. …This is my life. … There's nothing else for me."

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (727) 580-5315.

Fast Facts

Florida Classic

Bethune-Cookman (8-2) vs. Florida A&M (8-3), 2 p.m. Saturday; Citrus Bowl, Orlando. TV: ESPN Classic

Bethune-Cookman coach builds football winner by not being satisfied 11/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 20, 2008 5:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan feels good after first game action since January


    TAMPA — As veteran RW Ryan Callahan was riding a stationary bike before Friday's exhibition game, he felt nervous. There was anxiety.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) pursues Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) during the first period of Friday (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. FSU players rally around freshman QB James Blackman


    TALLAHASSEE — For the first few minutes Saturday, Florida State's James Blackman looked like a true freshman making his first start at quarterback for a big-time program.

    Florida State Seminoles quarterback James Blackman (1) gets sacked during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  Final score, North Carolina State Wolfpack 27, Florida State Seminoles 21.
  3. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  4. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH: