McNair out, Thomas in as Alcorn State head football coach

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After weeks of speculation that Fred McNair was leaving for Texas State, Alcorn State confirmed Tuesday that it was parting ways with its longtime coach.

In a statement released by the SWAC school, interim athletic director Robert Raines confirmed that the university attempted to retain McNair but was unable to come to terms on a new contract.

“I would like to thank Coach Fred McNair for his many years of service and dedication to Alcorn State University,” Raines said. “We worked diligently to extend Coach McNair a multi-year contract which would have placed him in the top tier of the conference with both compensation, incentives, and additional incentives for assistant coaches. Unfortunately, we could not reach a mutual agreement.”

After taking over the football program in 2016, the former Alcorn State quarterback led his alma mater to success it hadn’t seen in decades. Over McNair’s seven seasons, the Braves went 36-17 while winning the SWAC East four times, the SWAC championship twice, and playing in two Celebration Bowls. This past season, Alcorn State went 7-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play.

“The Alcorn State University family deeply appreciates Coach McNair for his exceptional leadership to the university’s student-athletes and his commitment to excellence on the field, in the classroom, and community,” the release continued. “The university is especially appreciative of his unique legacy as a player and a coach in elevating not only the football program but also the university. The university wishes Coach McNair well in his future endeavors.”

While McNair has been linked with the open head coaching position at Texas Southern, nothing has been finalized yet. Alcorn State has since confirmed that Cedric Thomas is set to be the university’s next head football coach. Thomas was the team’s defensive coordinator from 2016-17 before coming back in 2022 to serve in the same role.

“Alcorn State University’s commitment to our football program and student-athletes is unwavering,” said Alcorn State President Dr. Tracy M. Cook. “I am thrilled to appoint Cedric Thomas as our new head football coach. I believe he is uniquely positioned to continue our championship-winning tradition. His passion for the game, approach to leadership of our student-athletes, and his vision for the future will continue to strengthen our culture of excellence as a leader in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.”

Being a familiar face, Thomas should be able to keep recruits committed while building on the successes McNair is leaving behind. During his stint away from Alcorn State, Thomas served as head coach at his alma mater, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2018-19), before working as a defensive backs coach at Southern Miss (2020). He also spent one season as the head coach at Mississippi Delta Community College (2021).

His overall record as a head coach is 13-18 with the best season coming in 2019 when he led the Golden Lions to a 6-5 record.

The post McNair out, Thomas in as Alcorn State head football coach appeared first on SuperTalk Mississippi.