Former St. Augustine's football coach address his dismissal: 'Why are we here today?'

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Monday, October 16, 2023
Former St. Augustine's football coach addresses his dismissal
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Three days after St. Augustine's University announced his dismissal, Howard Feggins held a press conference addressing the reasons behind the firing.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Three days after St. Augustine's University announced his dismissal, Howard Feggins held a press conference addressing reasons behind the firing.

"I ask the question - why are we here today," said Feggins.

Citing a letter sent to him by the university, Feggins said his dismissal was due to the presence of two ineligible players, a claim he pushed back on.

"It was a lapse on my part when we played Virginia Union, Kam Page, a student-athlete wore the jersey of a player who was no longer on the team and participated. He played three snaps on kickoff return," said Feggins, who acknowledged he was aware that Page was not eligible.

However, Feggins said he stopped receiving eligibility reports earlier in the season, and the team's roster was not updated due to the lack of a sports information director.

"For this type of violation, it's very rare you would find someone let go, terminated immediately," said Feggins.

The second player is Nyron Campbell-Adams, who according to Feggins, the school claimed played in five games. Monday, ABC 11 asked Campbell-Adams if he had played this season.

"No. I only dressed for (the game against) Virginia-Union, but I did not play," said Campbell-Adams.

Shortly after his dismissal, Campbell-Adams reached out to the school's interim athletic director to address the discrepancy, further writing he is eligible to play.

"What happened was I had the number 41 at the beginning of the season. But it was too large for me, so another player and I swapped jerseys. The coaches knew about it, but I guess like Coach (Feggins) said it hadn't been updated yet. So at games, my name was being called out for yards and stats," said Campbell-Adams, who told ABC 11 he had not received a response to his e-mail as of Monday afternoon.

"My question was this investigation by the university done thoroughly or a rush to judgement," Feggins asked.

About 50 players gathered off-campus for Monday's press conference, showing their support of Feggins.

"I hope he can become coach again and come back," said Campbell-Adams.

"I get teary-eyed because I can't say what I usually say to them, but they know I love them, and I'm all about them," Feggins said.

Feggins was in the first year of a three-year deal, and said he was informed he would not receive a buy-out. The former NFL defensive back came to St. Augustine's after serving as the offensive coordinator at Fayetteville State University.

The decision to fire Feggins a day before the team's game against Johnson C. Smith was surprising to players.

"(The school) used the word 'business' and that was troublesome to comprehend because there was a lot of things that Coach (Feggins) explained business wasn't taken care of. And it's just odd this was the situation (the school) decided to use 'business' on," said quarterback Anthony Butler.

"It was a shock. It was one of the last things we could have ever expected," said wide receiver Kevin Brewington.

Feggins said he previously expressed concerns about the state of the program in a series of correspondences with the university, including a lack of a full-time athletic trainer, unpaid bills, and readily available practice fields.

"As long as I'm a coach, I will never stop caring about the mental and physical health of my student athletes," Feggins said.

Defensive coordinator Jody Owens was named interim head coach, and led the Falcons during Saturday's game against Johnson C. Smith. St. Augustine's lost 14-6, falling to 0-7 on the season.

Feggins is considering legal action against the school, though has not retained an attorney to handle a case at this time.

Following the press conference, a spokesperson for St. Augustine's University declined to comment on the matter.