HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama A&M made a major announcement to begin the school year. At a press conference on campus Saturday, the school introduced Paul Bryant as the 11th full-time athletics director in school history.
Before a crowd of coaches, faculty, staff and students, Bryant said one of the reasons he took the job was prestige.
“Alabama A&M has a prestige about itself that everyone would want to be a part of,” he said “So when the opportunity made itself available, I jumped on it because it's Alabama A&M and this university needs and deserves the best.”
Bryant comes to the Hill after three years at Edward Waters University, a historically Black college in Jacksonville, Florida. During Bryant’s three years at Edward Waters, the school joined the NCAA’s Division 2 ranks after competing as an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school. Part of that transition meant having adequate facilities with NCAA standards. A major fundraising accomplishment Byrant touted at the A&M press conference was how Edward Waters broke ground on a permanent, on-campus football facility. He specifically said how he managed the relationship between the school and the City of Jacksonville for funding, among other things.
The jump from a newly-minted D2 program to an NCAA Division I, Football Championship Subdivision school is big, but Bryant has previously worked at Grambling State and South Carolina State.
He recognized that not only is he replacing an interim A.D. Ka'Lisa Stanfield who replaced Bryan Hicks after 10 years, but he’s also joining a program during a transformational period in college athletics.
“It is in flux at this point,” he said, “But what I'm going to do, I'm going to make sure that I come in and look at the budget, look at what we're doing, look at what we're trying to do, and of course to garner more donations and support from our community and our alumni. but I'm going to actually take my team and we're going to sit down and do a critical S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis to see where we fit in in this athletic world.”