Pro Football Hall of Famer and Destrehan High alum Ed Reed will be manning the sideline in a new role next football season – as the head coach of a college program.
Bethune-Cookman University came to terms with Reed last week to make him the 16th head coach in its program’s history. For Reed, it’s a significant move up the ladder in the coaching fraternity. Reed has been part of the University of Miami’s program for the past three seasons in a support staff role, most recently as a senior football advisor. In 2016, Reed was the school’s defensive backs coach.
Last week, Miami athletic director Dan Radakovich praised Reed for serving as a strong mentor to the Hurricanes’ athletes during his time with the school.
Now, Reed moves on to – once again – be a Wildcat.
The BCU Wildcats will be looking to Reed to turn recent struggles around after back-to-back 2-9 seasons under former coach Terry Sims.
A logical conclusion could be the school is hoping Reed can do for Bethune-Cookman what another former superstar NFL defensive back did for another HBCU school over the past few years – Deion Sanders, who led Jackson State to success before accepting the head coaching job at the University of Colorado last month.
Bethune-Cookman has won six MEAC championships since 2000 despite its recent struggles.
Reed has never strayed far from his hometown for too long, holding an annual football camp at Destrehan for young players. In the summer of 2021, he was on hand to officially open Parquet Park, a St. Rose playground for local children that he named for his longtime mentor, Benjamin Parquet. Reed drove the project for some time due to his belief that a park would provide a positive outlet for the community’s youth and a diversion from dangerous activities.
At his Hall of Fame enshrinement, Reed recalled meeting Parquet at the age of 16, and said that ever since he’s been an important influence on his life.
“He still slaps me on my chest to this day … my mentor,” Reed said. “He’s 80 years old and still does the same thing … Mr. Parquet and Mrs. Parquet, I love y’all. I wouldn’t be here if not for you. A Hall of Fame mentor, there’s no doubt.”
On the football field, Reed was known as a terror and perhaps the greatest ballhawk in league history.
Reed played for the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and New York Jets during his career, best known for his years in Baltimore. He played 12 years in the NFL — 11 of those with the Ravens after he was selected by the team in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft.
He won championships at the pro and college level. Reed was named 2004 Defensive Player of the Year and was a 9-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. He was the first player in NFL history to return interception, punt, blocked punt and fumble for touchdowns and he recorded 1,590 career yards on interception returns.