EAGLES EXTRAS: A Black Friday deal for NCCU
DURHAM — Rumors and gossip and old wives’ tales are not my thing.
But I can speculate with the best of ’em.
And if N.C. Central is intent on bringing in another football coach, then what I’m about to propose here on Black Friday is a deal that’ll outdo any doorbuster you’ll come across today.
The situation is what it is because Henry Frazier III got fired as NCCU’s head coach after a second public flare-up regarding his ex-wife. NCCU athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree said Frazier’s personal life had become too much of a distraction, so she elevated Dwayne Foster from his role as the Eagles’ top assistant to interim head coach and put an extra $82,000 in his pocket.
Now, you need to understand that the baddest young man on NCCU’s squad this past season said that Foster and his staff deserve another shot.
Senior linebacker Tazmon Foster, the top tackler in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, told me that he wants to come check out games next season as a fan and see his old coaches do better than a 5-7 record.
Stuff can change in a year. Look at S.C. State, 5-6 overall and 4-6 in the MEAC in 2012. But this season, the Bulldogs are representing the league in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Like I said, stuff can change in a year. When S.C. State was slipping in 2012, Frazier was delivering NCCU’s first winning season since 2007.
But if the shot callers at NCCU are dead set on trying to upgrade, then here’s the deal — here’s the doorbuster that will save the school money and by extension keep fans from absorbing sticker shock at the gate:
Wicker-McCree needs to hit the recruiting trail, although she doesn’t have to go far. Her first stop is Raleigh to tell Shaw University coach Robert Massey that the alums need him to bring all of his playing and coaching experience from both the National Football League and the collegiate level to the sloping hills and verdant green on Fayetteville Street in Durham, where he both played and was an assistant coach.
Shaw just turned in a winning season, going 6-4 in the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The next stop for Wicker-McCree needs to be at Hillside High School, where she’ll make a similar same pitch to Antonio King about him needing to do something for NCCU’s alums. He doesn’t have any college coaching experience, but NCCU coach LeVelle Moton took over the school’s basketball team without having led a college basketball program, but everything’s working out pretty good and Wicker-McCree is looking real smart right about now.
King at the very least would be a fine assistant coach for Massey. King’s a winner, 53-13 in five years as Hillside’s head man.
That 2010 state championship ring also looks real good on King, a former NCCU quarterback who has sent armies of kids to play at the next level, cats like North Carolina running back Khris Francis.
Then there’s Southern High School football coach Adrian Jones, who has the Spartans positioned to potentially play for a state championship this season. Wicker-McCree needs to go see him, too.
Jones was a defensive back for NCCU and returned kicks for the Eagles.
“Had several great seasons at NCCU,” Jones said.
OK, right along here is where Wicker-McCree pulls out her smartphone that’s cued to NCCU’s fight song, and she explains to Jones that both he and King are 39, young enough to mix it up with college kids yet old enough and having had enough success to warrant their respect.
Jones and King are Durham dudes, homeboys who’d steer some of the talent coming out of Hillside and Southern and the other area high schools to NCCU.
I’ve always believed that these one-and-done basketball guys should spend their lone year in college at schools like NCCU and bring some of the cameras and accompanying coin there. King and Jones are so rooted in the area that they could get Bull City kids to turn down N.C. State and UNC and take their talent basically across the street to NCCU. Just look around the MEAC, a mid-major conference, and notice the football players who started at majority schools.
Somehow, year after year, King and Jones have had quality players. That’s without recruiting. Think about what they could put together with a budget specifically set aside for such cherry picking.
Kyle Serba, NCCU’s associate athletics director for media relations, said that a search committee is in place and an announcement about the school’s next football coach is expected by the end of the year.
NCCU can limit the scope of its probe. I’ve already done a national search for the school, asking Super Bowl XXII most valuable player Doug Williams if he’d be interested in being the next coach at NCCU.
“I don’t deal with hypotheticals,” Williams said.
Williams this past season was fired as the head coach at Grambling State, where all of that drama sprouted that result in a players revolt that wound up canceling Jackson State’s homecoming. He played at Grambling and said he wants black colleges to do well in sports.
Minority schools need to borrow a play from majority schools and approach coaching searches with short lists, Williams said. The way it generally works now, black colleges wind up with these incredibly long lists of candidates who look good on paper but turn out to be bad fits.
What schools end up with after national searches are moving expenses, not championships.
NCCU wouldn’t incur any relocation fees by hiring Massey, King and Jones. They’re already in the area and ready to roll.
Which is critical, because after N.C. A&T whupped NCCU 28-0 the other day, Aggies coach Rod Broadway said his team would be getting back to work on Monday — this past Monday, a few days before Thanksgiving.
NCCU doesn’t have any time to mess around.
John McCann covers N.C. Central University athletics for The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @johntmccann.