[mpoverlay]There’s an argument to be made about the deliberations surrounding the next head football coach at Alcorn State University. Deadlines were established, pushed back, and consequently passed by for perhaps the most notable black college football coaching hire of the 2012 offseason. Recruiting for the Braves is certainly unbroken, but surely bowed against the likes of SWAC talent hawks like Rick Comegy and Monte Coleman.
But Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown and the Braves program deserve credit for not allowing time or circumstance to dictate the right kind of hire for a program that has championship aspirations. Replacing Melvin Spears was a necessity not only for Alcorn, but for a SWAC that has long suffered controversy at each of his stops as a coordinator or head coach. ASU is about the business of erasing that decision from memory, and replacing it with a coach that not only brings pedigree to the position, but a long-term piece to the effort to build a title contender.
With questions lingering about the long-term futures of Stump Mitchell and Doug Williams at Southern and Grambling, respectively, and a new coach at Texas Southern in Darrell Asberry, the prohibitive favorite for the SWAC football championship will be the winner of the SWAC East.
Three teams in the SWAC East – Jackson State, Alabama State and Alabama A&M – won eight games in 2011. Alcorn enters the 2012 season minus one of the conference’s standout quarterbacks in Brandon Bridge, who transferred late last year to South Alabama after alleged run ins with Spears.
Alcorn State, more than anything, needs the right coach to begin a superior outreach effort to local athletes and fans in preparation for what could be, in 2-3 seasons, a legitimate run at the conference championship. The Braves deserve kudos for doing what many other HBCU athletic programs commonly fail to do; the proper due diligence to build more than a punching bag for its divisional rivals and impatient fans.[/mpoverlay]