By Ryan Wilcox
During the 2017 spring semester, Lincoln University appointed Reginald Byarse Jr as the new interim head football coach for the LU Lions football team. At just 29 years old, Coach Byarse currently stands as the youngest coach in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division. A 2011 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Byarse holds a B.S. in Sports administration. During his time as a student, he served as a volunteer coach through the Bearcat football program for two seasons, and also as an organizer for the “A Road to Follow” program for at risk youth. The Cleveland born footballer also acquired much coaching experience as he worked at several high schools, including Lusher High School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Though this is Byarse’s first appointment as head coach at Lincoln University, he is no stranger to LU’s football grounds. In fact, during the last season he supported the team with management and coordination duties, as Special Teams Coordinator and as Defensive Backs Coach.
Statistically, the LU Lions team has underperformed during the last season (2016) as it gained few wins. Byarse’s appointment gives team members and spectators alike the chance to see a manifestation of fresh skills, new teachings and fresh ideas. There have been many changes to the roster of the team this year. Many young faces have been added, with over 40 freshman recruits, many of whom have been tasked with important roles on the team. When asked how he plans to lead the team under his charge, Byarse conveyed that “Holding guys accountable…” would be his approach since they “understand what it means to be in a college program.” In other words, the team members are aware of their responsibilities and of what is expected of them. However, while he wants to focus on “playing a complete game”, he acknowledges that it is normal for his players to “make a few mistakes”.
With Coach Byarse, along comes positive change and that is something that the Lincoln football team needs. Byarse is focused on changing the football culture of Lincoln to get the results they need. He does recognize however, that with these changes, challenges lie ahead, “With changing culture, the first year isn’t going to be pretty.” This is a ‘new era’ of Lincoln football and he intends for his players to be “more disciplined and play hard the whole game [while] the LU Lincoln pride is on the way back!”