Fan reaction to Collins’ extension positive

Published 12:01 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

LORMAN — What a difference a year makes.

Well, not quite a year, but close to it. At the start of 2009, Alcorn State head football coach Earnest Collins was hired to the position strictly on an interim basis.

“When they hired me as interim head coach at the beginning of the year, they were going to let me do it for a few months, then let me be one of three candidates for the full-time position,” Collins said.

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Soon afterwards, the Alcorn athletic department changed its mind, and gave Collins a one-year contract to be the full-time head coach during the 2009 season.

“They basically said this a year-long job interview, and that they would open it up again after the season to me and two other candidates,” Collins said.

“The Lord blessed me to do a good enough job to where they didn’t have to. That was my goal going into the season.”

And in reaching that goal, Collins was awarded with several more seasons to finish what he started. Tuesday, Alcorn State announced that it was giving Collins a three-year extension on his contract to coach the Braves through the 2012 season.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be the head coach at Alcorn,” Collins said. “It’s like I say about anything and everything: It’s a true blessing from the Lord.”

For Alcorn fans around the Miss-Lou, the reaction to Collins’ has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We have stability at the coaching position,” Alcorn fan Gloria Lloyd said. “I think he did a good job this season. He had his players disciplined.

“I want to see wins from him next season, especially against Jackson State and Southern University.”

Amos James, another Alcorn fan, expects good things from Collins’ Braves team in the years ahead.

“I think he’s going to do fine,” James said. “I’m glad they’re still graduating players and the academics are up. I also think that, with Coach Collins, you don’t have any problems as far as the coach and athletic director. It’s more about the players, and not about who has the most power.”

Fred Marsalis, an Alcorn alumnus and current principal at Morgantown Elementary School, thinks the personality Collins brings to the program is a major plus for the team.

“He’s very personable,” Marsalis said. “His daughter is a fifth grader here at Morgantown, so I’ve actually met him. He’s very much a family person.

“I think when he recruits some and gets his players into the program, he’ll be able to completely turn it around. As someone who has a son who played at Alcorn, Fred Marsalis Jr., I’m really happy for him.”

Recruiting will be key for Collins in the coming month and a half leading up to signing day in February.

“In this conference, you have to beef up along the front,” Collins said. “If you don’t, you’re going to have a tough time. We have to bolster our depth on the offensive and defensive lines. If we can do that, I think we can make our football team much better.”

For Collins, his goal for next year is all about championships.

“Any program has the ultimate goal of winning your last football game in the postseason,” Collins said. “Our goal is to always play and win a SWAC championship by taking it one game at a time, one day at a time, one practice at a time.”