Alcorn State University’s Newly-hired Football Coach to be First White to Head SWAC Team

LORMAN, Miss. – Alcorn State has hired former Memphis defensive coordinator Jay Hopson as its head football coach.

The school announced the hiring on Monday and, according to Alcorn State, Hopson will be the first White head football coach in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

“I don’t see it as Black or White; we’re purple and gold,” Hopson said at a news conference on the Lorman campus.

Hopson, 43, replaces Melvin Spears, who was fired in February after going 2-8 in his only season.

Hopson resigned from Memphis’ staff in September 2011. He also has coached at Marshall, Delta State, Southern Mississippi and Michigan.

He played defensive back at Mississippi from 1988-91.

Hopson said his contract will pay him $150,000 a year over the next three years, and that his decision wasn’t based on money, but on the opportunity to build something special close to his home.

“We want to win championships,” Hopson said. “We have to lay that foundation. We want it as quick as we can get it, but sometimes patience is something you have to have. We have a mission and we know what our plan is to get the program where we want it to be.”

Hopson said he will have to operate in “fast forward” in the coming weeks to assemble a coaching staff and meet with players and recruits.

“What a lot of teams do in a year, we have to do in two months,” Hopson said. “We have a lot of work to do, we realize that.”