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Anticipation, Opportunity and Expectation Abound

by Lut Williams

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.nsu scott

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.

Earl Holmes 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.pvam simmons

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.alst-jenkinsJENKINS: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.benedict-white

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.

We can‘t wait to see who they will be.

 

© AZEEZ Communications

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