In what could be close to a dozen HBCU head coaching vacancies by the end of the college football postseason, familiar names within Black College Football circles have surfaced to either interview or fill those various openings.
In all, for schools exploring to venture away from hiring the veteran retread head coach who has had mild success at various stops during his career, there are several unheralded assistant coaches and coordinators who might be overlooked even though they’ve been integral parts of successful HBCU operations.
Here are ten coaches (listed alphabetically) to consider:
David Blanchard – South Carolina State – Assistant Head Coach
Blachard, with 18 years under his belt at South Carolina State, is likely one of most experienced of any potential candidate who hasn’t been a head coach within the last two decades. Although a defensive line coach, Blanchard is familiar with HBCU recruiting, the HBCU landscape and has assisted in producing one of the best defenses in the MEAC during his tenure.
Kienus P. Boulware – Winston Salem State – Defensive Coordinator
Being part of a staff that has been the most successful HBCU program over the last five years should make Boulware a sought after young candidate. Under Boulware, WSSU led all Division II schools in defense in 2007 and 2008. Boulware has also been a defensive coach at Livingstone College and then North Carolina Central.
Nick Calcutta – Delaware State – Assistant Head Coach
Calcutta has had multiple stops at Howard, Tennessee State, South Carolina State and Winston Salem State prior to being added to the DSU staff. The multi-faceted offensive coordinator, offensive line coach – all while taking on additional responsibilities as assistant head coach – make Calcutta an intriguing candidate despite an untimely departure from Winston-Salem State 2008 .
Eric Dooley – Grambling – Assistant Head Coach
Dooley has been successful in assisting his teams to produce championship seasons. His name and reputation flourished while coaching wide receivers at Southern University during championship runs under head coach Pete Richardson; then again at Arkansas-Pine Bluff as offensive coordinator when the Golden Lions won a SWAC title in 2012. He has just been named as an assistant head coach at Grambling.
Timothy Edwards – Louisiana Lafayette – Defensive Line Coach
Edwards, currently in his third season as defensive line coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, has roamed the sidelines at a number of HBCU football programs. His experience includes time at Florida A&M, Kentucky State and Hampton where he served under head coach Joe Taylor in helping the Pirates produce back-to-back Black College National Championships.
Charles Jones – Bethune-Cookman – Defensive Coordinator
Jones has been the leader of a group that has been one of the best defensive units of all FCS schools since his arrival in 2010. The Wildcats have consistently been ranked high in takeaways, pass defense and scoring defense.
Jeff Parker – Tennessee State – Assistant Head Coach
Parker’s contribution in helping to make TSU one of the nation’s best FCS teams the past couple of seasons has been paramount since he joined the program in 2010. His coaching career also includes stints at Norfolk State and Bethune-Cookman.
Jim Pry – Bethune-Cookman – Offensive Coordinator
Under the eye of Pry, the Wildcats were not only one of the MEAC’s top offensive teams (averaging 29.4 points per game), they ranked in the top 40 nationally as well. Additionally, Bethune-Cookman was the only team in the MEAC to be ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing. Prior to landing at BCU, Pry was the offensive coordinator at Dartmouth and an assistant under Ron Zook at Illinois.
James Spady – University of Nevada – Tight Ends Coach
Spady’s 20-year coaching career includes stints at the Division II, FCS and FBS levels. In addition to coaching in multiple FBS bowl games during his time at Nevada, the school that is credited for creating the pistol offense, Spady played an integral role in coaching conference championship teams at Grambling and North Carolina Central.
Willie Simmons – Alcorn State – Offensive Coordinator
At 33 years of age, Simmons, a newcomer to the HBCU circuit, has just completed his first season as the offensive coordinator at Alcorn State with a 9-4 record – the program’s best finish since 2007. Under Simmons, the Braves finished the 2013 season ranked second in the SWAC in scoring offense, second in total offense and third in rushing offense. Simmons was also the offensive coordinator at (FBS) Middle Tennessee State for five games of the 2011 season before resigning due to personal reasons.