Every year, beginning around the third weekend of November, someone hits the start button on the college football coaching carousel.
As it goes around, coaches and staffs will get on and off the merry-go-round until all open positions are filled. It’s no different in HBCU football.
As of this week, there were seven head coaching positions that were either in question or needed to be filled. Allow me to keep you abreast of the changes — the new hires and some of the rumors that are floating around out there — as they happened in chronological order, November 19.
It was announced two weeks ago that former
Howard coach Mike London would become the new head coach at William & Mary, replacing legend Jimmye Laycock. Along with a hefty pay increase, it was a no-brainer that London would one day return to the place where he served as the defensive line coach under Laycock.
Over the past two seasons at Howard, London coached the Bison into quite a few, what I call, 'never since' moments — breaking longtime losing streaks against conference opponents – on their way to a combined 11-10 record.
Toward the end of this season, the Bison started to find balance offensively with All-MEAC sophomore QB Caylin Newton, junior WR Jaquez Ezzard and sophomore RB Dedrick Parson, while compiling 471 yards per game, No. 14 in the nation.
With the success that the 'Go-Go Offense' had this past season, elevating offensive coordinator and QB coach Brennan Marion to head coach would’ve been the a great idea, right? Unfortunately Marion, along with RB coach EJ Barthel has followed London to William & Mary. So, who is going to replace London in DC?
Current Prairie View A&M OC/QB coach and Ted White’s name has been tossed around. A former MEAC Offensive Player of the Year while at Howard in 1996, the Bison alum would love it if White returned home to lead this team. Not just for the nostalgia — White was Howard’s offensive coordinator 2011-15 and is a MEAC Hall of Famer — but his offense at PVAMU averaged 33.5 points per game, tied for first in the SWAC in 2018.
It was announced last month that Tennessee State’s Rod Reed would return to Nashville for his 10th season as head coach in 2019. After starting the season 2-0, losing to crosstown foe and SEC member Vanderbilt by four started a downward spiral as TSU stumbled through an injury-riddled season, finishing the year at 4-5.
In Durham, NCCU posted the job opening for head football coach on the university’s site (and a few job listing search engine sites) two days before it was set to finish its season, with the closing date on the job listed as November 28.
Even though Granville Eastman is still an option to return after finishing 2018 with a 5-6 record, there have been whispers that current North Carolina A&T running backs coach and NCCU alum Shawn Gibbs could end up back in Durham.
The former record setting-running back not only played his entire collegiate career at Central (1993-97), he was also an assistant under Rod Broadway there from 2003-06.
There is a chance that Ernest T. Jones could return to Morgan State in 2019. Even though he finished this past season at 4-7 overall, there could be some optimism in Baltimore. Behind Jones, the Bears did end North Carolina A&T fifteen-game win streak but dropped three close conference games.
Resigned. Let go. There are conflicting reports on how it happened, but the bottom line is that as of November 27, head coach Mike Haywood is no longer at Texas Southern.
In three seasons in Houston, Haywood and the Tigers have won eight games. Ironically, Haywood took over for former TSU head coach Darrell Asberry who resigned after a 12–31 record in four years at TSU.
Moving swiftly, TSU offered Clarence McKinney the head coaching position on November 28, finally accepting the job on December 1. The former Arizona running back’s coach has a tough road ahead of him. This program has only had two seasons where their record was above .500, only to have those wins vacated after being found guilty NCAA violations in 2012.
After months of speculation, South Carolina State announced November 27 that head football coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough will be back coaching the Bulldogs for his 18th season at the helm in 2019. The Bulldogs, who finished the season with a 5-6 record, was in the hunt for at least a share of the MEAC title entering the next-to-last game of the season even though they started out the year 0-4.
Jackson State Athletic Director Ashley Robinson must have seen enough when he fired football head coach Tony Hughes after the Tigers lost to Southern 41-7 in Week 9 of the season.
Defensive coordinator John Hendrick was named interim head coach and then elevated from interim to full-time head coach on November 28 after finishing the season with a 2-1 record.
Unfortunately, that one loss was against eventual SWAC champion Alcorn State. A loss that kept them from winning the conference’s East Division.