Texas Southern has narrowed the search for its next football coach to four candidates and hopes to fill the position before the end of December, sources told HBCU Sports Saturday night.
A source with knowledge of the search indicated that Texas Southern has focused on former HBCU coach and current Tennessee running backs coach Jerry Mack, Benedict coach Chennis Berry, Valdosta State coach Tremaine Jackson and Alcorn State coach Fred McNair.
In November, Texas Southern announced that the contract for Clarence McKinney, which pays him $306,000, would not be renewed beyond the 2023 season after it is set to expire on Dec. 15.
Since he was named head coach in 2018, the program under McKinney’s leadership struggled to find wins, resulting in him amassing a cumulative record of 12-35. His last game was a 35-34 loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 18 after Texas Southern had built a 21-point lead in the game. The Tigers finished the 2023 season 3-8.
The most intriguing names connected to Texas Southern are Berry and McNair. Berry, who most recently led Benedict to its second consecutive Division II playoff appearance, figures to be a coveted candidate for several HBCU openings.
McNair, HBCU Sports learned, has expressed interest in the Texas Southern job. The two-time SWAC Coach of the Year, who has spent the last seven seasons in Lorman, just completed the final year of his current contract.
The source did express that a Mack courtship might be tempered by concern about whether Texas Southern would be able to accommodate his potential salary demands coming from a Power Five school.
Mack played college football at Jackson State and Arkansas State. His coaching ties to HBCU football include stints as an assistant at Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Jackson State before spending three seasons as head coach at North Carolina Central.
The school, the source said, “is high” on Jackson, who led Valdosta State to a 12-2 record and Division II postseason quarterfinal appearance this past season.
Texas Southern wants to complete its search and name a coach before the Christmas holiday, the source said.