In athletic parlance, turnover usually has a negative connotation. If so, black college football, in terms of its head coaches, is in real trouble.
In transactions announced through this week, there have been eight head coaching changes in the black college football ranks this year with more to come.
See if you can keep up.
Latrell Scott is out at Virginia State and in at Norfolk State after the retirement of Pete Adrian.
Brian Jenkins is out at Bethune-Cookman and in at Alabama State replacing eight-year veteran Reggie Barlow.
James “ Mike “ White is out at Albany State and in at Benedict in place of James Woody whose contract was not renewed after four years at the helm.
Willie Simmons left Alcorn State as offensive coordinator to take over at Prairie View A&M after Heishma Northern was released after five years.
Mike Morand was named interim head coach at Saint Augustine‘ s when 13-year veteran Michael Costa was abruptly let go early in the seeason. Morand had the interim title removed recently and is now the permanent head coach.
Kermit Blount did not have his contract renewed at Delaware State after four years. Former Virginia State head coach and Winston-Salem State and DelState assistant, Andrew Faison, is the interim head coach for the Hornets.
EarlHolmes was let go at Florida A&M before the season ended after just two-plus years. Interim head coach Corey Fuller is reportedly one of three finalists for that job.
Lane head coach Malik Hoskins resigned after one year.
That leaves head coach openings all over the black college landscape - at Virginia State in the CIAA, Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and DelState in the MEAC and Albany State and Lane in the SIAC.
All told, there will be 11 new head coaches at the 54 football-playing HBCU institutions.
Add that to the fact that Winston-Salem State, Lincoln (Pa.) and Virginia Union of the CIAA, Hampton, NC Central and Morgan State of the MEAC, Central State, Lane, Paine and Kentucky State of the SIAC, Alabama A&M, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State of the SWAC, and independents Edward Waters, Cheyney, Concordia-Selma and Virginia-Lyncburg all had first-year coaches this season. That means 29 of the 54 HBCU programs – just over half – will have head coaches either in their first or second year once the 2015 season starts.
The coaching carousel is indeed in full swing.JENKINS:From Bethune-Cookman and the MEAC over to Alabama State and the SWAC.
There is no doubt, however, that the changes come with a slew of positives, chief among them an even greater level of competition.
Scott, a dynamic young coach, will make an already tough MEAC (that had five co-champions this season, two of them – Morgan State and N. C. Central – with first-year coaches) even tougher. Ditto for Jenkins, he of four MEAC titles in five years at B-CU, and Simmons, fresh off a conference title at Alcorn State, in joining the SWAC.
White, a proven winner in 14 years at Albany State, will undoubtedly, in short order, make Benedict a factor in the SIAC.
And it‘s not like coaches early in the jobs did badly this season.
In just two years at VSU, Scott won two CIAA North titles and this year‘s CIAA championship. WSSU won the CIAA South this season under first-year head coach Kienus Boulware. Virginia Union first-year head coach Mark James led a turnaround getting the Panthers to within a game of a CIAA North title. Grambling had a even larger resurgence getting within a game of the West title and the SWAC championship game in its inaugural season under Broderick Fobbs. Newbies Lee Hull of Morgan State and Jerry Mack of North Carolina Central got a share of the MEAC title. And SWAC champion Alcorn State won the East Division and conference title in just head coach Jay Hopson‘s third season.
Its enough to make a grizzled vet like 13-year head man Buddy Pough at South Carolina State shake in his boots (not really).
So while turnover has negative connotations to some, it also portends anticipation, opportunity and expectation for others. That is what is more likely to come from these changes.
And more exciting and intriguing matchups for us fans.
So while this coaching carousel most resembles a game of musical chairs, with coaches leaving one black college destination for another, even in that hotly contested game there are winners.
Scuttlebutt about coaching hires is alive and well in black college football
Through a few well-placed INSIDERS, Iím hearing a lot about who the HBCU schools in the hunt for new head football coaches are smoking over. Iëm not at liberty to name names simply for the sake of those under consideration who are currently gainfully employed. Since I donít know whoís got permission to do what and because many of those named I count as friends, I will respect them by not venturing and jeopardizing their futures.í
WillinghamOne name that did draw some surprises from this scribe is Tyrone Willingham, the now retired former head coach at Notre Dame who reportedly is getting a look-see from Florida A&M University.. There have been continued rumblings that the first black head coach for the Fighting Irish was royally screwed by the school. Another familiar name from my projected recommendation of coaches that deserved to be heard and not just seen by the HBCU presidents and ADs is Henry Frazier, the former pilot for North Carolina Central, Prairie View and Bowie State. Although Iím not certain of his whereabouts, I understand he has been interviewed by at least one school (wouldnít surprise me if it was Prairie View). Keep reading the humble words of this scribe and Iíll keep you clued in on who is moving where when some things are confirmed to me.
One coach who wants in to the coaching selection process gave me an opportunity to peak at his resume. Thomas Balkcom currently lives in Athens, Georgia........
ìAs an experienced coaching change agent, utilizing a transformational leadership style,
I possess twenty years (20) of highly productive coaching experience, HBCU(SIAC, MEAC), D2, FCS and FBS experience, 12 years of coordinator experience (OC, DC, STC),12 years of collegiate coaching experience with 8 years as a coordinator, and 3 years of head football coach experience. One of thirty college coaches chosen to attend theprestigious 2013 NCAA and NFL Coaching Academy that develops future NCAA/NFL head football coaches. Completed 2 NFL Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowships. Routinely developed nationally ranked defensive and special teams units on the FCS and FBS collegiate football levels. I have extensive leadership and management experience in the administration of the technical and developmental elements of sports programs, as well as the implementation and fiscal control of the operating football budget as the Head Coach.Balkcom
SIAC HOOPS: Looks like one time Fort Valley menís head pilot Michael Moore, now coaching at his alma mater Albany State is already making some noise in Ram land. The latest stats I have as of Saturday, December 6th have ASU in first place in the SIAC east with a record of 3-3. Two of those three wins have occurred at home. Right underneath ASU is Morehouse with a mark of 2-4 which includes a win at home vs. Fisk back in November. Tuskegee is leading in the SIAC west with a 3-2Ö.In the womenís ledger, the Breds of Kentucky State are first in the SIAC west at 3-1 overall..They are followed by Miles (1-1) and Stillman (0-2). The east leader is Claflin, rolling along at 5-0 with Benedict (4-0) right on their heels and Clark-AU (2-3).
WhiteXTRA POINTS: There are rumblings that longtime Albany State head football coach James ìIronî Mike White may be leaving the Rams. No confirmation but it is creating a huge buzz on this web siteís chat line( and probably every barber and beauty and happy hours bar in Dougherty County ) ÖÖ..40 years ago this year, Atlanta native Leonard ì8-ballî King, who was partly responsible for the success of the Birmingham Americans, the most successful team in the short-lived World Football League as its director of player personnel, started one of the first free agent pro football tryout camps in the United States. The Morris Brown graduate who also carries a legal degree as well, ran the camp until 1992 and to his credit, managed to get a lot of undrafted players and their talents before scouts from the NFL , CFL, USFL and Arena FootballÖ.i wonder how many other administrators at colleges the size of UAB want to dump their football programs because of expense but are too afraid to approach alums and students with the idea? Meanwhile, expect a lot of those UAB players to attempt transfers to Miles, Stillman, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Tuskegee and maybe even to the AU center schools to continue their careers..
Alcorn State looking to follow Virginia State and Morgan State into winner‘s circle after longtime drought
by Lut Williams
If you look at the 15-year history of the SWAC Football Championship you‘d see East Division members Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State as the only two teams in the 10-team conference never to win the crown or even play in the title game.
Well, at least the part about playing in the championship game ends tomorrow for Alcorn State as third-year head coach Jay Hopson leads the Braves into the big game at 3 p.m. against Southern and fellow third-year head coach Dawson Odums.
The last time Alcorn State sniffed a SWAC championship was in 1994 under Cardell Jones, well before the implementation of the championship game, when they shared the title with Grambling in the final year of Braves‘ QB Steve McNair‘s legendary career.
Alcorn had a six-year run (2001-05) of winning records during head coach Johnny Thomas‘s 10-year tenure (1998-2007) but no titles. Their climb into title contention began last year under Hopson when they went 9-3 and finished a game out of the East Division crown.
Southern is in the game for the second year in a row under Odums, who took the Jaguar reins from Stump Mitchell early in the 2012 season. He has methodically turned the Jaguars‘ fortunes around winning the West Division and league title last year in his first full season on the job and leading them back to the title game for the first time since Pete Richardson accomplished the same at the end of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Richardson led the Jags to the first championship game title in 1999 (over Jackson State) and split the two other appearances, downing Alabama State in ‘03 before losing to the same team in ‘04. Southern didn‘t return to the championship game until last season.
If this year‘s pattern holds, Alcorn State will follow Virginia State of the CIAA and Morgan State of the MEAC as longtime absentees who found their way into the winner‘s circle.
But I wouldn‘t bet on it.
BLACK COLLEGE NATIONAL TITLE ON THE LINE?
There are many reasons to look at this Saturday‘s SWAC Championship Game, the last game on the 2014 black college football schedule, as the national championship game.
Southern (9-3), the SWAC West Division champ and hottest team in black college football, is at the top of the Sheridan and HBCU Sports Fans FCS poll and the Black College Sports Page ranking coming into the game. The Jaguars are riding a sevengame win streak.
East Division champ Alcorn State (9-3), no worse than fifth in any of the polls or rankings, is a former No. 1 this year who halfway thru the season looked to be the best and most dominant team in black college football. Losses to Grambling State and a season-ending loss to Jackson State removed some of that early season luster.
Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T, Alcorn State, Winston-Salem State and Grambling State have taken turns as the No. 1 team this year. Southern emerged after each suffered late season losses.
The last loss for Southern was a 56-16 thrashing from Alcorn State back on September 27th. Southern played that game without several veterans including three starters in the defensive secondary and dangerous wide receiver Mike Jones.
The winner of Saturday‘s rematch will be my pick as the 2014 national champion.
The team with the better balance between run and pass will win.
ON THE HOOPS FRONT
Former Tennessee State and Ohio Valley Conference standout Robert Covington is straight ballin‘ for the NBA‘s Philadelphia 76ers.
Despite being named NBA D-League Rookie of the Year and winning the MVP award at last year‘s D-League All- Star game while playing for the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, Covington could not find a spot on the Houston Rockets roster this season. He was one of the last cuts by the Rockets in late October.
But on Nov. 1, he was the first pick in the 2014 D-League draft by the Grand Rapids Drive. Two weeks later before playing a game for the Drive, he was signed by the Sixers.
He played sub-20 minutes and recorded one double-figure scoring game (14 points) while the Sixers stumbled thru an eight-game losing streak, part of a record-tying 17-game slide to start the season.
But he came thru with 17 points in a season-high 31 minutes and made three fourth-quarter 3-pointers as the team broke the losing streak in an 85-77 win over Minnesota Wednesday.
He followed that up with 21 points in 28 minutes and three more 3s in a loss Friday to Oklahoma City.
The 6-9, 215-pounder is playing with an ease and flair showing that he belongs in the NBA.