Despite his nearly life-long success on the football field from playing quarterback in high school and college, winning five national titles as an assistant coach and becoming the second-winningest coach in Tuskegee University history, Willie Slater has preferred to do his work without fanfare.
His comfort level is the football field working with student-athletes. So that’s why he was somewhat reluctant to accept additional duties as Tuskegee University’s new director of athletics.
“Being athletic director was never something I had envisioned,” Slater said. “It was an opportunity that popped up. I didn’t really pursue it, but I was asked. My first response was that I just want to be a good football coach.
That all changed on Friday, July 7 when Interim TU President Dr. Charlotte Morris introduced Salter as the school’s new AD. Slater follows Curtis Campbell, who left to take the athletics director job at Western Oregon.
“I want to thank the board of directors (trustees ) and Dr. Morris for giving me this opportunity,” Slater said. “The bottom line is taking care of these athletes and making sure they’re successful in their endeavors. I don’t just want the title. I want to help our school and our athletic department.”
“I could have been somewhere else, but I have chosen to stay at Tuskegee. My success have been a group effort where I could just be a leader and that is what I am offering to the other programs. I know their needs and I can provide the leadership to help them be successful,” Slater said.
Morris spoke about Slater’s success at Tuskegee and what it can mean for all of TU’s athletics programs. Morris also noted that Slater is passionate and goal-oriented.
“He’s had great football teams here,” Morris said. “He is focused on the success of the student-athletes. He’s led with discipline and his players have graduated with honors in the various majors we offer here at Tuskegee University.”
Slater’s record speaks for itself.
Going into his 12th season as head coach, Slater has accumulated 101 wins with six Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SAIC) titles and is a five-time SIAC coach of the year.
In 2016, the Golden Tigers finished second in the SIAC West with a 9-3 record and went to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Tuskegee lost to North Greenville in the second round last November.
Slater is a five-time national assistant coach of the for NCAA Division II when he served as offensive coordinator for five national championship teams at Troy and North Alabama. He has been coaching in college for 33 years, including 18 as an offensive coordinator.
He starred in high at Coffee County in South Alabama and went on to play quarterback at Livingston, now the University of West Alabama.
“We do have some priorities that we want to accomplish,” Slater commented at Friday’s press conference. “One is fundraising. I think we have the green light to do that and can raise funds for all our programs. I want to win championships. We have the resources here to be successful.”
The Golden Tigers resume their rivalry with Alabama State with a new series that will go through 2010. The two schools last played in 2012.
Tuskegee holds a 61-34-4 lead in the series. The last time the Golden Tigers the Hornets met TU took a 27-25 victory in the first game ever played at ASU Stadium where they will meet on Sept. 2 of this year in the Inaugural Labor Day Classic.
“I’m excited about the rivalry coming back,” Slater said. “I hope it’s good for the school. It’ll be a tremendous challenge for us. Our kids will be up for it. They want to show that they can play with those guys.”