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Brown says limited resource hurt Alcorn in coaching compensation

LORMAN — New Alcorn State University head football coach Jay Hopson has not yet finalized his contract, President M. Christopher Brown II said, but when he does, Brown expects the new coach to make approximately $150,000 per season.

Brown said Hopson is still under contract with the University of Memphis, where he served as defensive coordinator before resigning last season, and his contract with Alcorn cannot start until he is released from his previous contract.

“He’s consulting presently, but he has to get released from his Memphis contract,” Brown said. “I think this will be done in time for our board meeting next week. We are expecting to be approved by the board next week.”

Hopson will make slightly more than his predecessor, Melvin Spears. Brown said Spears made approximately $130,000 in his only season with the Braves.

Despite the increase for Hopson, Brown said he is still not satisfied with the salary the new head coach is making.

“It’s probably not as favorable as any of us would like,” Brown said. “I’m a thousand percent sure it’s not (a) fair (salary). I took a huge pay cut to come here myself. What we’re able to pay is less than, one, what the market bears, and two, it’s less than what he was making at Memphis.

“No matter where he falls out on our pay scale, it will be lower, and it’s not a good offer, and that’s part of the challenge that Mississippi as a state will continue to have, and Alcorn as a small rural campus will have. Our salaries and compensation points to us not being as competitive with the best talent nationally.”

Brown said he saw where Alcorn stood among SWAC schools in terms of coaching compensation at a meeting last week.

“I was woefully disappointed where we placed on that list, and our goal is to incrementally move toward the middle of that list.”

Jackson State University’s Rick Comegy is set to make $191,580 next season. Grambling State’s Doug Williams and Southern University’s Stump Mitchell each made approximately $200,000 last season.

Brown said Alcorn’s limited resources make it difficult to keep coaches on campus.

“I’m not pleased with that number,” Brown said. “It’s not enough for him or any of our coaches. It becomes a problem if another school comparable comes along and can offer more than I can afford to pay, so we have retention problems.”

Brown said Hopson made a great coaching candidate, because salary was not his biggest concern.

“We are forced to find people that are committed to our place in order to get them,” Brown said. “(Hopson and I) only had one conversation about coaching staff compensation, and that says a lot to me.”

Hopson was focused on facilities, student academic support and athletic support, Brown said.

Hopson is in charge of filling his coaching staff and made five assistant coach hires that Brown announced Tuesday.

Brown said he does not have exact numbers available on how much money is available to pay those coaches’ salaries, but he is confident that number is over $250,000.

“(Hopson) informs me when (the assistants) come after they’ve been hired, and he seems to be doing a good job at it,” Brown said. “He is attracting really strong talent.”

Brown also announced Dwayne White as interim athletic director. White will replace former athletic director Patric David Simon, who stepped down earlier this week, Brown said.

“We had several conversations over the last month or so, and my best understanding when I got in on Monday is, based on our conversations, he realized what was going on at Alcorn required a different head, and so he stepped down.”

Brown said Simon’s resignation worked out well with what the athletic program is trying to accomplish.

“It was really appropriate timing with our season, because it gives us time going into the season and allowed us to name someone with professional football experience,” Brown said.

Brown said he received Simon’s letter of notice, and the school accepted his resignation.

Brown said White will hold the interim position and is a strong candidate for becoming the permanent athletic director.

“He has a lot of support for the permanent position,” he said.