Ron Dugans was like the majority of Florida State’s assistant coaches: uncertain of his future.
A coaching change from Willie Taggart to Mike Norvell brings optimism for the outlook of the program. But would Dugans, a former Seminole, be a part of it in 2020?
Dugans didn’t know. All he could do is coach and recruit. And think back to valuable advice from Bobby Bowden as well as talk to Mark Richt.
“I had spoken to coach Richt a few days before coach Norvell was announced,” Dugans said on Wednesday. “Coach Richt told me he said he had taken a job before and he kept a guy on his staff because he worked his butt on recruiting and he was a good person. That’s how coach Bowden raised us. No matter what, keep working.
“My concern was to keep this class together, help coach Norvell and this university. It’s my alma mater. My mindset was just to work.”
Dugans has made the receiving group better. Even though the position has been hit by injury (Keyshawn Helton and Ontaria Wilson), the transfer portal (Tre’Shaun Harrison) and the uncertainty about Warren Thompson’s status, Dugans tried to prepare the small group as best he could.
“You were playing the last three or four games with five scholarship guys,” Dugans said. “We were really banged up. The room wasn’t right numbers-wise.”
Just a day or two after Norvell was hired, Dugans traveled with the new head coach as they met recruits. Many prospects, as well as their families and high school coaches, wanted to know if Dugans would be staying at FSU.
Dugans recalled Norvell being honest with the recruits. They had only known each other a short time. Norvell had not committed to Dugans yet and the coaches were honest in telling recruits as much.
It was clear that Dugans had built strong relationships, especially in South Florida, with receivers. And as FSU was beginning a big weekend to host official visitors, Norvell made it official that Dugans would remain on staff as FSU’s receivers coach.
In the month between Taggart’s dismissal and Norvell’s hiring, Dugans had asked recruits to be patient. And to remember not who they committed to but what and where.
“Just stay patient,” Dugans said. “Don’t do anything. You committed to the school, the university. And I commend a lot of the parents, a lot of the kids for just holding on and being patient.”
The patience held up for a number of the receiving prospects. FSU signed Miami’s Kentron Poitier, West Palm Beach’s Bryan Robinson and Ja’Khi Douglas of Houma, La. It remains uncertain what four-star Malachi Wideman will do or if he will sign in February.
Here’s what Dugans had to say about the three signees:
On Poitier: “He’s a sleeper. He’s a really good football player. He’s really good on the basketball court. When you see him play, he’s really raw on the football field. But then you see a lot of upside. The kid can run.”
On Robinson: “That was a long one. He was wavering after coach Norvell announced but the family stuck with us. He’s a really good football player. Good skill set. Deceptive speed. Goes and high points the football. Good change of direction.”
On Douglas: “I love the family. They stuck with us. First time I heard about the kid, over a 3.0, great SAT. Kid is a smart football player. Kid that can run, 10.6 (in 100).”
EARLY SIGNING DAY