Now that the regular season is officially over, and some schools are preparing for the postseason play, it is never too early to look ahead to who could be leading HBCU football programs in 2019 and beyond.
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 to consider in no particular order:
T.C. Taylor – North Carolina Central – Offensive Coordinator
Taylor features an HBCU football lineage as a one-time wide receiver and quarterback at Jackson State where he finished runner-up to then-Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning for the 2001 Conerly Trophy, presented to Mississippi’s top college football player.
After a brief professional football career in the NFL and overseas, he worked his way up from Coahoma Community College in Mississippi to Texas Southern before landing at North Carolina Central. In his second season at NCCU as offensive coordinator, Taylor has orchestrated a group that is among the top-5 in the MEAC in points per game, total offense, rushing, and boasts the best red zone offense in the league, scoring at an 89.5 percent clip.
Ted White – Prairie View A&M – Offensive Coordinator
White’s impact on the offensive side of the ball has been beneficial for every program he’s coached. Recently completing his first year as the offensive coordinator at Prairie View A&M, the Panthers were statistically among the leaders of every offensive category in the SWAC.
Before serving as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas-Pine Bluff for the previous two seasons, White was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Howard (his alma mater) from 2011-2016. In 2012, the Bison secured their first winning season since 2004 with a record of 7-4.
Quinton Morgan – Langston University – Head Coach
In only his fourth season as a head football coach at any level, Morgan has led the Langston program to a 30-5 record and two conference championships, including the inaugural Sooner Athletic Conference title this season. Under Morgan’s leadership, Langston has gone an astounding 28-1 in conference games since he took over as head coach during the 2015-16 season.
Vince Brown – Howard – Defensive Coordinator
There isn’t a level of the game of football that Brown hasn’t experienced either as a coach or a player. Currently serving as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Howard, Brown previously served in various defensive coaching positions with UConn, Virginia, and Richmond. He was also an inside linebackers coach for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006.
Brown played eight seasons with the New England Patriots after earning Kodak All-America, AP All-America, and All-SWAC conference honors as a star linebacker at Mississippi Valley State.
Jerry Mack – Rice – Offensive Coordinator
This name is familiar to those within the HBCU world. Last time anyone saw Mack roaming the sideline, he was the head coach at North Carolina Central. In four seasons at NCCU, Mack led the Eagles to at least a share of three consecutive MEAC championships and a berth in the 2016 Celebration Bowl. He compiled a 31-15 record during his time at North Carolina Central and was named the 2016 HBCU Football Coach of the Year.
While it has not gone well for him at Rice in the role of offensive coordinator, Mack is still a very attractive candidate based on his age and recent success.
Keith Higdon –Tuskegee – Assistant Head Coach
Higdon has quietly been the man behind ‘The Man’ on the Tuskegee coaching staff since 2010. Since returning to Tuskegee, after coaching five seasons with Clark-Atlanta, the Golden Tigers have only suffered one losing season, which includes a streak of winning seasons of no less than eight wins from 2012-2017.
While at Clark-Atlanta, Higdon served as head coach, assistant head coach, defensive backs coach, recruiting coordinator, and pro liaison.
Damon Wilson – Bowie State – Head Coach
Wilson is fresh off leading Bowie State to its first CIAA championship in 30 years in his 10th season.
Before that, Wilson has carried the reputation of building and maintaining competitive Bulldog teams that have won division titles, made postseason season appearances and produced several All-Americans. With nothing else left to prove at the Division II level after a decade-long stint, Wilson’s next challenge should be at an FCS HBCU next season.
Trei Oliver – Southern – Defensive Coordinator
Oliver is a seasoned defensive coach who has proven his worth by steadily rising through the ranks at various programs in various positions. Completing his third season as the defensive coordinator at Southern, Oliver’s defense was vital in assisting the Jaguars to win their first SWAC Western Division title since 2014.
Before he arrived in Baton Rouge, Oliver coached under head coach Rod Broadway at three different institutions. He was the linebackers coach at North Carolina A&T for four seasons after serving stints as an assistant at Grambling State and North Carolina Central.
Alex Jackson – Florida A&M – Offensive Coordinator
While the success of the Rattlers this season is mainly attributed to first-year head coach Willie Simmons, Alex Jackson’s the team offensive coordinator, has his fingerprints all over the turnaround, too.
Under Jackson, FAMU was No. 2 in the MEAC in total offense, pass offense and passing efficiency. Previously, Jackson also had a hand in making Prairie View — with Simmons at the helm — one of the top offenses in the SWAC, averaging better than 30 points per game.
If that success is any indication, Jackson deserves at least a phone call from some athletic director in the offseason.
Tim Edwards – Buffalo – Defensive Tackles
Wrapping up his fourth season as the defensive tackles coach at the University of Buffalo, Edwards previously as the defensive line coach at Louisiana-Lafayette for four seasons. He’s also roamed the sidelines at some 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.