Jerry Mack named NC Central's new football coach

jalexander@newsobserver.comDecember 19, 2013 

Athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree and Chancellor Debra Saunders-White introduce Jerry Mack.

JONATHAN ALEXANDER — jalexander@newsobserver.com

— N.C. Central’s new head football coach will be Jerry Mack, wide receivers coach at South Alabama, university officials announced Thursday.

“His energy during his interviews and how he articulated his vision, not just academics but everything,” Athletic Director Ingrid Wicker-McCree said. “His presence and how he’s been prepared professionally, that’s what you want for our young men and women. That type of knowledge.”

Mack, 33, who has no head coaching experience, will have the challenge of rebuilding a program after the firing of Henry Frazier III. He has also been an assistant at four other D-I programs: Jackson State, Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Memphis, dating back to 2006. Mack was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2010, where the offense ranked in the top 30 in the country at the Football Championship Subdivision level.

He spent two years at South Alabama, helping three individuals finish among the top five on the school’s season record lists for receptions and receiving yards .

“It was the right fit for me because I see the vision for this program,” Mack said at a news conference at NCCU. “I see where the community wants to take the program. The ceiling is very high. We need everybody to buy in and be a part of this program.”

NCCU, in its third year as an official Division-I program, took a step back this past season finishing 5-7, under Interim Head Coach Dwayne Foster. Foster expressed interest in the job throughout the year, but it is uncertain if he was a candidate.

NCCU had hoped Frazier would be the answer to its football program’s woes, and for a couple of years it appeared he was. In 2012 Frazier took NCCU to its first winning season since making the transition to D-I, finishing 6-5 in his second season.

But personal problems became a distraction, NCCU previously said.

Frazier was suspended twice in his 2 1/2-year tenure. He was charged in May 2012 with assaulting his wife, for which he received a prayer for judgment. This year he was charged with violating a domestic violence protective which forbid him to have contact with his wife. The coach said it was a misunderstanding, and he was trying to get word to his now ex-wife that he was paying a parking ticket on their car. NCCU suspended him again, then fired him two days later before the season started.

Frazier had two years (worth $451,000) left on his contract, and it was terminated. The charge was later dropped, and he fought for his job back, but new Chancellor Debra Saunders-White denied his appeal for reinstatement.

Since NCCU gained full membership to NCAA Division-I sports, the football team has finished 2-9 in 2011, 6-5 in 2012, and 5-7 in 2013.

Both James Spady, tight ends coach for Nevada, and Connell Maynor, the former Winston-Salem State head coach, also interviewed for the job. Maynor became Hampton’s head coach on Tuesday.

NCCU had contacted alumnus Dawson Odums, coach at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., but he has agreed to a three-year contract extension there, the Times-Picayune reported Thursday.

Alexander: 919-932-2008; Twitter: @jonmalexander1

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