A friend of a friend-Bill Hayes-Anthony Bennett-September 1

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for September 1, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

This week UNC Pembroke will begin its 2015 Football Season. The Braves will open up with Winston-Salem State. Next week on September 12th it will be the 7th edition of the Two Rivers Classic when the Braves travel to Fayetteville, NC to take on the Broncos.

Two Rivers Classic

The new Athletic Director at Fayetteville State is Anthony Todd Bennett who has worked at Winston Salem State for the past five years. Everyone seems to forget what his correct first name is and he gets called Bennett a lot. Anthony and I first got to know each other while he served on the NCAA Division II Nominating Committee. The photo below is from June 2011 meeting n Indianapolis, IN.

(l-r) Back Row Anthony Bennett and Dan Kenney-Front Row China Jude, Mark Corino, Natalie Cullen, and Stan Wagon.

Anthony Bennett NCAA

Anthony and I worked alongside of then Fayetteville State Athletic Director Dr. Ed McLean to help create the Two Rivers Classic back in 2009. It was a great idea to have two NCAA Division II school located very close to each other play each year. For both schools this game has been one of the best attended games in school history.

Anthony, who earned his undergraduate and master’s degree from Fayetteville State, is a former football player with the Broncos who has seen every side of college athletics.

From 2005 to 2010 Anthony spent that time as the Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Affairs and NCAA Compliance Officer at Fayetteville State University. During his time at Fayetteville State, Anthony carried out a number of duties. He coordinated logistics for all sporting and athletic events while simultaneously serving as the liaison between the Department of Athletics and other offices at the university.

In addition to his duties at Fayetteville State, Bennett served on numerous national and local committees. He is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals and the National Association of Athletics Compliance Coordinators.

Prior to beginning his career in collegiate athletics, Bennett served as a lecturer at Fayetteville State University and held the title of program director in both the FSU Department of Business Education and in the FSU Student Support Services Department.

For part of the time that Anthony was at WSSU he worked under Bill Hayes.


Todd Bennett FSU

The Friend of the Friend-BILL HAYES


The Coach

I hope that as Antony Bennett begins his new career at Fayetteville State University he will  take with him some of the lessons he learned from Bill Hayes. Bill was the Athletic Director that hired Anthony at Winston-Salem State. Bill served as WSSU AD from 2010 to 2014. In that time I got to know him because we talked about trying to play a football game against WSSU.

WSSU went thru a complicated athletic chapter under Bill’s leadership. In 2004 WSSU began the move from Division II to Division I. In September 2009 they decided that was not a good move for the university and hired Bill Hayes to guide them back to Division II. It was not an easy processes emotionally, politically, financially, or logistically. Bill Hayes made it happen successfully. Part of that transition was finding Division II football games and Bill and I became friends in scheduling a series between Winston-Salem State and UNC Pembroke that goes back to 2010. The games have been exciting for both teams.


Bill Hayes was the coach that took Winston Salem back to Division II. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Bill. The man spent 41 years successfully coaching or serving as an administrator at a number of Historically Black Universities/Colleges (HBCU). He is a hall of fame coach. On top of that he always treated me first class.

He started work at WSSU as AD on January 1, 2010 after leaving Florida A&M University as their athletic director. Bill came to Florida A&M from NC Central where he served as Athletic Director. Three pretty impressive stops for a athletic director.

Bill also was a successful college football coach. He served as head football coach at WSSU for 12 seasons 1975-1987, during which the team won three CIAA championships. He left WSSU to become the coach at NC A&T for the next 15 years 1988-2003. In 2003 Bill gave up coaching and moved into athletic administration as the Athletic Director at NC Central 2003-2007.

Bill Hayes also served as an assistant football coach at Wake Forest University for three seasons (1973-75), the first African American assistant football coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A member of the Sports Halls of Fame for both WSSU and N. C. Central, he was also inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame. Bill has been active in the Boy Scouts of America and received its highest regional award for a volunteer in 2001.  He was selected as MEAC Football Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1999 and was CIAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

Anthony Bennett had a great mentor at Winston Salem State- I expect him to do good things at Fayetteville State.

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