You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, May 29, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Former Michigan assistant Jay Hopson hired at Alcorn State, becomes SWAC's first white head coach

By Nick Baumgardner

Former Michigan football assistant coach Jay Hopson has landed a head coaching job, and made some history in the process.

Hopson, who served as linebackers coach under ex-Wolverine coach Rich Rodriguez, was announced as the new head coach at Alcorn State on Tuesday -- marking the first time in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) history that a non-black coach will run a member program.

"I don't see it as black or white," Hopson told reporters at a news conference. "We're purple and gold."


Former Michigan linebackers coach Jay Hopson gives instructions during the first day of 2008 spring practice. file photo

Currently, the SWAC is made up of 10 historically black universities in the South. Hopson replaces former Alcorn State coach Melvin Spears, who went 2-8 last year -- his only season as the program's coach.

Hopson spent two seasons as a linebackers coach for Rodriguez in Ann Arbor (2008-09) before departing to Memphis to take over the Tigers' defensive coordinator position.

During the opening month of last season, though, Hopson resigned from his post at Memphis after reportedly being told he'd have to accept a new position on the coaching staff. Memphis was 0-2 at the time, and had allowed an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision-worst 628 yards per game.

Hopson told reporters Tuesday that his Alcorn State contract will be a three-year pact, paying him $150,000 annually.

"We want to win championships," Hopson said. "We have to lay that foundation. We want it as quick as we can get it, but sometimes patience is something you have to have.

"We have a mission and we know what our plan is to get the program where we want it to be."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, May 30, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Interesting...did they lose a bet or something?

Scott Laux

Tue, May 29, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Our linebackers were totally lost during his tenure. Hopson is blessed with good fortune. $450k guaranteed. for 36 months work.


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

I really don't understand how any of these guys have jobs after what they did to us here at Michigan; ESPECIALLY the defensive guys. Good for them I guess, but I still can't believe teams are willing to hire someone who completely failed somewhere else at doing the exact same thing they've been hired to do.


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

Most outside of some Michigan fans do not see that coaching staff completely the same, and because some coaches didn't fit at UM doesn't mean that they're all bad. Case and point: BHoke was a sub 500 coach that most elite programs would not have touched, but so far he has turned out to be a pretty good one.


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

Good for him, but it's the same question I asked when he got the LB job at Michigan. How???