Alcorn State athletics director Derek Horne announced Thursday that he is stepping down effective immediately.
“I want to thank the leadership at Alcorn State, especially Dr. Nave, for entrusting me with the honor of guiding our athletics department,” said Horne, in a statement. “I step away with a great sense of pride in what we were able to accomplish for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff during my time here. I want to express my gratitude to the loyal alumni and supporters, and our friends in the Lorman community for their unwavering passion for helping our athletic programs succeed on and off the fields of play. I walk away with excitement and enthusiasm as I look forward to the next chapter of my professional career.”
Horne did not indicate the specific reasons he left the post.
The announcement comes weeks after Horne and the entire athletics department came under fire after Braves football coach Fred McNair criticized the administration for its handling of athletic trainers that left the team without one for several days ahead of a game at South Alabama when several of them contracted COVID-19.
“This is an administration issue,” McNair said on his radio show. “I could talk about it all the way till I turn blue. This has got to be fixed. We’ve got to be able to pay somebody to be the Alcorn State athletic trainer, and we don’t have one. That’s disheartening.”
Days later, the school announced that it had hired Roderick Alexander Young as its full-time athletic trainer.
In his seven-plus years at Alcorn State, the Braves won 14 SWAC championships across five sports, including four football conference titles and the 2014 Black College National Championship.
“I would like to thank AD Horne for his unwavering commitment and service to Alcorn State University,” said Dr. Felecia M. Nave, president. “Under his guidance, Alcorn athletics has proven to be a powerhouse in multiple areas — from supporting a winning culture to bring multiple championships to Alcorn to tackling compliance and ensuring that academics were foremost for our student-athletes. We appreciate the stability that he provided to ensure the success of Alcorn Athletics.”
Alcorn will conduct a national search to select its next athletics director.