Bristow focuses on positive despite ongoing criticism

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2001

LORMAN – A new round of criticism is not distracting Dr. Clinton Bristow from his job.

&uot;It’s always an exciting time when school starts, and we’re very pleased about the opening,&uot; said Bristow, president of Alcorn State University.

Bristow said he continues to focus on the important challenges facing the university.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;My primary responsibility is to educate students, to prepare them to go forward out into the world and be successful human beings,&uot; said Bristow. &uot;I stay on that agenda.&uot;

Following the lackluster Alcorn State Braves football season last year, including a 0-11 record, critics called for the removal of Coach Johnny Thomas. Bristow stood by Thomas, however, and continues to do so, he said. A Thursday story in The Clarion-Ledger newspaper indicates another movement by disgruntled Alcorn alumni to remove the president from his position.

&uot;We’re concerned about the total direction and where the university is going,&uot; Vicksburg educator John Walls was quoted as saying in the Jackson article. &uot;It’s more than football.&uot; Walls is a former president of the university’s national alumni association.

Bristow, who became president of Alcorn in 1995, looks forward to the football season, he said. &uot;I’m extremely confident we’ll do well. We have a fine group of young athletes.&uot;

Emphasis on academics and leadership is strong among the football players and other athletes on campus, Bristow said

&uot;They’re serious about their academics and serious about their responsibilities on campus. I couldn’t be more proud of our young athletes.&uot;

Winning and losing are part of any athletic program and not something you can predict, he said. &uot;It’s disheartening for me that we don’t embrace these fine young people regardless of whether they are winning or losing. Where have we gone as a society when we destroy a young person who fails in an athletic game?&uot;

Bristow said Alcorn football players are not proud of their record. &uot;They want to be 11-0, not 0-11, but we must support them regardless.&uot;

Leon Crawford of Natchez, a 1967 graduate of Alcorn and a former professor who retired this year after 34 years of teaching at his alma mater, said he supports Bristow.

&uot;He’s done an excellent job, and I’ve supported his decisions,&uot; Crawford said. &uot;I think he will be proven correct this year.&uot;

Crawford said programs, both academic and athletic, take time. The coach is on the right track, he said. And so is the university’s president.

&uot;Dr. Bristow is a hard worker and an excellent leader,&uot; he said.