On Tuesday, December 23, Florida A&M University named Alex Wood as its 17th head football coach, bringing aboard a coach with more than 35 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate and professional levels
His resume speaks of a man who is well-versed in all aspects of program management as well as coaching, having worked as a head coach, coordinator, and assistant coach, garnering an impressive array of experiences on offense and defense while ascending through the coaching ranks.
Prior to accepting the top job at FAMU, Wood served as offensive coordinator at the University of Buffalo (UB) from 2011-14.
In October 2014, he was tapped to serve as interim head coach replacing head Jeff Quinn, who was relieved of his duties, for the final four games of the season.
Wood was credited with directing a prolific offense at Buffalo, which averaged over 400 yards and 30 points per game during his four-year stint. In 2014, the team finished fourth in total offense and third in scoring offense in the Mid-American Conference, and in 2012 became the first Division I FBS program to amass over 2,000 yards rushing and passing in the same season.
He served as running back coach at University of Miami from 1989-93 helping the team to a pair of national championships, including a perfect 12-0 in 1991.
Wood served as head coach at James Madison University (JMU) from 1995-1998 and led them to an 8-4 record and the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs in 1995.
FAMU’s new coach also brings professional experience, having served as an assistant coach in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Minnesota Vikings.
“When President (Elmira) Mangum tasked me with completing the search for a head coach with a proven record of developing a competitive program, possessing high moral and ethical character, capacity to inspire our student -athletes, and the capabilities to take the program in a new direction, one of the first persons that came to mind was Alex Wood,” said Interim AD Nelson Townsend. “The stars aligned perfectly for FAMU to get a coach of the caliber of Alex,” added Townsend.
“I am delighted to join the Rattler family,” said Wood at the news conference. After meeting with Interim AD Nelson and President Mangum, I am thoroughly convinced that working together with Board of Trustees, students, faculty, alumni, and supporters that I can build a competitive football program that will play a positive role in helping FAMU enhance its brand and achieve its mission of becoming a best-in-class academic institution.”
Commenting on the hiring of Wood, President Elmira Mangum said, “I applaud the ability of Interim AD Townsend to swiftly, yet carefully and deliberately, complete the search for a new head coach. Moreover, I commend him for identifying a person with the capabilities and integrity of Alex Wood.”
ALEX WOOD PERSONAL: Wood is a native of Massillon, Ohio, and was a standout football player and wrestler at Washington High School. He and his wife, Rosa, have three children--Jerrel, Alex and Natalie. His son Alex is the defensive coordinator at Wayne (NE) State College.
MORE ON ALEX WOOD…
Overall, Wood brings an impressive coaching resume to FAMU, spanning nearly four decades of work on both the collegiate and professional levels,
From 1989-93 he was part of Dennis Erickson’s staff for the Miami Hurricanes, coaching the running backs, while helping the Canes to a pair of National Championships (1989 and 1991) and a perfect 12-0 season in 1991.
After serving as offensive coordinator for two seasons at Wake Forest (1993-94), he was named as the head football coach at James Madison University.
Wood led the Dukes to an 8-4 record in his first season including a trip to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. In his four-year tenure at JMU, Wood compiled a record of 23-22.
Wood moved into the pro ranks in 1999, when he was hired by Dennis Green as the quarterbacks coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He spent four seasons with the Vikings’ organization.
In his first year with the team, the Vikings selected Daunte Culpepper in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. By Culpepper’s second season, the young star not only took over the starting quarterback job but earned a start for the National Football Conference (NFC) in the Pro Bowl.
He tied for the NFL lead with 33 passing touchdowns and ranked second in the NFC with 3,937 yards. Culpepper led the Vikings to the NFC Central title and a spot in the conference championship game.
In 2001, Culpepper was lost to a season-ending injury but still managed to finish third in the NFC in completion percentage (64.2).
The Culpepper-Wood combination was back at it again in 2002. Culpepper spearheaded the NFL’s second-ranked offensive unit and in the process the Vikings’ quarterback finished second in the NFC in passing yardage (3,853) for the second time in Wood’s tenure.
Wood was named wide receivers coach by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003. In his one year in Cincinnati, Wood coached two players in the top 10 of receiving yards in the AFC (Chad Johnson and Peter Warrick). Johnson led the AFC with 1,355 yards on 90 receptions. He also had 10 touchdown receptions.
In 2004, Wood rejoined Green on the staff of the Arizona Cardinals. Wood served one season as the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals, overseeing the offensive staff and handling play-calling responsibilities.
He spent the 2006-07 seasons as the passing game coordinator at the University of Arkansas and ultimately ended up back in the Midwest, helping the RedHawks of Miami of Ohio become the first team in Division I history to go from one victory to double digit wins.
WOOD’S IMPACT AT BUFFALO
The four seasons Wood led the Buffalo offense, the Bulls featured one of the nation’s most prolific attacks both in yardage gained and points scored.
In 2014, The Bulls’ offense rolled up 4,820 total yards (2,855 passing, 1,955 rushing), while averaging 32.3 points per game.
In 2013, UB's offense again flourished, as for the second straight season, the Bulls rushed and passed for over 2,000 yards (2,176 yards rushing, 2,955 yards
passing). The Bulls scored 30 or more points in a school-record eight straight games. Wide Receiver Alex Neutz set the school record with 30 career receiving touchdowns en route to being named All-MAC First Team.
In 2012, UB’s offense rushed for 2,120 yards and passed for 2,391 yards, becoming the first team in the Division I-A era to rush and pass for over 2,000 yards. In addition, Neutz became just the third receiver in school history with 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
In 2011, his first season as offensive coordinator, the Bulls’ offense saw significant improvement. UB averaged eight more points and 68 more yards of total offense per game than in 2010. Buffalo had 13 plays of 40 or more yards in 2011 - the most in its Division I era.
As wide receiver coach, Wood coached Marcus Rivers to his first All-MAC selection. In addition, Alex Nuetz had the best season of his young career with a team-high 641 receiving yards in only nine games.