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Coach Jerry Mack leaving NC Central for offensive coordinator job at Rice

N.C. Central's coach Jerry Mack, center, watches his team play against Delaware State on Nov. 7.
N.C. Central's coach Jerry Mack, center, watches his team play against Delaware State on Nov. 7.

N.C. Central football coach Jerry Mack is leaving Durham to become the next offensive coordinator at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Mack said Friday.

The Owls earlier this week named former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren as their new head coach replacing David Bailiff, who was fired in November after 10 years of leading the program.

Bloomgren and Mack have history, both serving on the staff at Delta State when Mack was a graduate assistant there in 2004-2005. Bloomgren was the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and special teams coach from March 2005 to February 2007. A chance to coach at the highest level and to coach with his good friend Bloomgren was a chance Mack jumped at.

“I just couldn’t turn down this opportunity for me and my family,” Mack said.

Mack, 37, was named the Eagles 22nd head football coach in 2013. The Memphis, Tenn. native was the third-youngest active Division I coach. In four years in Durham, Mack led the Eagles to a 31-15 record and three consecutive MEAC championships. During the 2016 season, N.C. Central cracked the FCS Top 25 poll for the first time since making the jump to Division I, earning a trip to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

The nine wins in 2016 were the most in the program’s Division I era. Behind the offensive-minded Mack, the 2016 squad broke the N.C. Central single-season record with 4,614 yards led by quarterback Malcolm Bell. Coming into the 2017 season, Mack had 24 wins, more than any coach in school history in their first three years.

“It’s been a great four years,” Mack said Friday evening from Houston. “The things that we accomplished are unprecedented in North Carolina Central history. I just want to thank Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree and Chancellor Dr. Johnson Akinleye for giving me an opportunity.”

In the 2017 season, however, the Eagles had to replace seven starters on offense and that unit sputtered down the stretch as N.C. Central averaged just 11.3 points per game in the final three games of the season. After four winning seasons, Mack felt it was time for a change, leaving on a high note.

“I think the program is at a great place,” Mack said. “It’s set up for success and I think this was a great time to leave. I think it’s in a better situation than when we found it. That was my job and I hope I pleased people by doing what they hired me to do and I see nothing but success from here for that program.”

Mack’s contract with N.C. Central runs through December 2018. Mack’s base salary from N.C. Central was $180,000 plus incentives and bonuses.

Granville Eastman will serve as the Eagles interim head coach.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Jonas Pope IV: 919-419-6501, @JEPopeIV

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