McNair, Alcorn eyeing SWAC 3-peat

Published 12:12 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Alcorn State football coach Fred McNair knows something about quarterbacks.

After all, he was the ‘Air’ McNair at Alcorn from 1986 to 1989. McNair left the campus in Lorman as the Braves’ career passing leader.

Two years later, McNair helped develop his kid brother, Steve McNair, into a Heisman Trophy finalist at Alcorn and the NCAA’s career leader in total offense. Air McNair II became the third overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the then-Houston Oilers and later earned MVP honors. Steve McNair died in 2009.

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As a coach, McNair continues to mentor signal-callers. In four years as the Braves’ quarterback coach, John Gibbs Jr. and Lenorris Footman each won SWAC championships.

On Sunday in Daytona Beach, Fla., McNair will lead the Braves onto the field against Bethune-Cookman as ASU begins its quest for a third-consecutive SWAC championship.

The game will take place at noon and be telivised nationally by ESPN as part of the SWAC/MEAC Challenge.

Sunday will mark the first-ever meeting between the Braves and the Wildcats. Alcorn will look to snap Bethune-Cookman’s 11-game winning streak at Municipal Stadium.

Alcorn returns 13 starters from last year’s conference-championship squad, including Footman.

McNair gets two more years to coach Footman, a dual-threat quarterback.

“He’s an outstanding player at that position,” McNair said at SWAC Media day last month. “One of the things I respect most about him is his ability to just come in and be a leader.

“The sky is the limit for him. I know he’s going to keep working hard and will do what it takes to lead this football program. He’s been doing a great job and he’s a very smart kid. He pays a lot of attention to detail. We’re really excited about him.”

Footman enjoys playing for McNair, a former Canadian Football League and Arena Football league quarterback.

“Coach McNair is a great coach,” Footman said. “He always knows what to say to the quarterback. If things aren’t going well, he’ll tell you not to worry about the last play and move on because you can’t do anything about it. As a quarterback, he really helps a lot when it comes to reading defenses and becoming better overall.”

Alcorn named McNair coach in late January after Jay Hopson departed for the University of Southern Mississippi.