Leading up to this week’s annual Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day, TSPN Sports will forecast our preseason predictions for the upcoming 2014 season.
Coach of The Year – Jay Hopson– Alcorn State
The only thing Alcorn State didn’t accomplish in 2013 was win the SWAC Eastern Division championship.
Under head coach Jay Hopson — in his second season at Alcorn State — he led the team to nine victories, with statement wins over Jackson State and Southern, the two combatants in the conference championship game. Only a one-point loss to Alabama A&M kept them from playing for the school’s first league title in the championship game era.
The 9-3 record was a complete turnaround from Hopson’s first season when the team went 4-7.
Anyone who watched Alcorn State in 2012 could see the improvement in all aspects of the game as that season wore on even though they were far from a contender. They were a far cry from what was a bumbling 2-8 2011 campaign, however, too.
Last season, Alcorn State finished No. 3 in total offense and in the top 5 in several defensive categories. These were signs the players believed in the Hopson way, and a sign Hopson was becoming a program builder.
If the first two seasons are any indication, Alcorn State should be favorites to win the East and even win the SWAC — something that could not be said when Hopson, who was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year, was hired three years ago.