Winston-Salem State University announced on Friday that head football coach Kienus Boulware has been relieved of his duties, with a right to appeal.
“Winston-Salem State University has provided head football coach Kienus Boulware with a notice of its intent to dismiss him from employment for cause,” the University said in a prepared statement.
“Mr. Boulware has the right to appeal his dismissal within 30 days; per university policy, he has been suspended with pay pending the exhaustion of his right to file an appeal.”
According to WSSU, Boulware is being dismissed for violating university policy, the specifics of which are still not known.
“He has an opportunity to appeal this decision so we are not providing details of those violations at this time,” said WSSU Director of Communications Jay Davis.
HBCU Gameday reported on Wednesday that Boulware was on his way out according to our sources. The players were told about Boulware’s dismissal during a meeting on Friday.
Contract on the line
Boulware might not make a return to the Rams but there is more on the line in the appeals process.
According to WSSU per Boulware’s contract, if he is dismissed for cause, the university does not have an obligation to pay out the remainder of his contract. The contract, which was signed in 2017, is slated to expire in December 2020.
So keeping his job is certainly one fight, but the remaining salary on his contract one could reasonably assume is another fight as well. The 45-year old Boulware is paid roughly $130,000 per year in base salary.
Fight he will
Boulware spoke about the decision on Friday in a statement released through his lawyer, Jones Byrd Jr. of Crumpler, Freedman Parker & Witt.
“It has been my honor and pleasure to coach the football team at Winston-Salem State University for the past nine years, including the last five as the head coach,” Boulware said in the statement. “While we have enjoyed a great deal of success on the field during that time, my greatest achievement and greatest honor has been watching our fine student athletes mature and grow into fine men.
“I have always acted with the best interest of my student-athletes at heart while preserving the integrity of the university. I respect the administration of this fine university but strongly disagree with my termination. I intend to appeal the university’s decision so that I can continue to represent Winston-Salem State University as its head football coach.”
Boulware spent nine seasons at WSSU, four as defensive coordinator during WSSU’s powerhouse years following a Division I attempt and five as a head coach. He led the team to a 35-18 record, including back-to-back CIAA Championship Game wins in 2014 and 2015. He was given a three-year extension by former Director of Athletics Tonia G. Walker after winning the second title and had two years remaining on his deal.
The past two seasons saw the Rams fall from their perch atop the CIAA South as the program went 11-8.
Boulware was also planning to help run the defense this season. After the departure of defensive coordinator Todd McComb in March, Boulware was going to call plays along with Robert Massey and Tremayne Henry.
WSSU has named Robert Massey as the interim coach.
The university is in the process of naming a new Athletic Director, one who will come in with the immediate task of finding the head football coach of the future for the Rams.