Alcorn State broke a different kind of color barrier on Monday. Jay Hopson, former Memphis defensive coordinator, was hired by Alcorn State to take over the head coaching duties for the program. In hiring Hopson, Alcorn State becomes the first SWAC program to hire a non-black as head football coach.
“It was a great process, Jay came out on top of the pool every step of the way,” said Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown. “There was never any question about his ability to coach, or his ability to fit the criteria for the job. The question was if Alcorn was ready to meet the challenge of hiring a different kind of coach, and we absolutely were.”
One of the goals that placed Hopson on the top of the short list for Alcorn State was his emphasis on academic progress ratings, which is monitored by the NCAA. The NCAA recently stripped SWAC members Jackson State, Southern and Texas Southern of postseason eligibility due to lacking APR scores. Jackson State and Southern later had their bans lifted due to an NCAA decision to give “low-resource institutions” more time to comply with stricter APR requirements.