Mississippi College hires Rice assistant Mike Kershaw as new head coach

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Mississippi College has found its new head football coach.

The Division II school announced Tuesday that Mike Kershaw will be taking over the program after he finishes his postseason duties with Rice. Kershaw has spent the past five seasons with the Division I Owls as a wide receivers coach, helping create a high-tempo offense that culminated with the program going 6-6 in 2023 for its most wins since 2014.

“I am honored to join Mississippi College and lead the Choctaws football program,” Kershaw said, per a release. “The rich history and tradition of this program are inspiring, and I am committed to building on that foundation. We will play a fast, physical, and fun brand of football in all three phases of the game.”

No stranger to the Division II level and the Gulf South Conference, Kershaw played quarterback at Delta State and led the Statesmen to a GSC championship in 1998. After his playing days, Kershaw stayed in Cleveland eventually coaching quarterbacks, wide receivers, and safeties. As a coach, he helped lead the 2006 squad to the Division II National Championship semifinals.

In 2007, he decided to step away from football and opened an insurance business in Austin, Texas in 2009. The agency won Texas Monthly’s Five Star Professional Award for customer service four different times. It wasn’t until 2019 that Kershaw decided to get back into coaching when his former Delta State colleague Mike Bloomgren was hired as head coach at Rice.

“Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the Gulf South Conference and Division II,” Mississippi College athletics director Kenny Bizot said. “He is highly connected in our state and has consistently excelled in recruiting Mississippi and the broader region over the last several years. This sets a strong foundation for Mississippi College as he embarks on the recruiting trail. We believe his leadership will propel the team to new heights.”

Kershaw replaces John Bland, who resigned after 10 seasons with the program. Bland produced an overall record of 26-66 with his best season coming in 2019 when he was named GSC Coach of the Year after a 5-5 record and his only win in the Heritage Bell Classic.

Kershaw will fulfill his obligations with Rice as the team is set to play in its second consecutive bowl game on Dec. 26. Following the team’s matchup against Texas State in the Servpro First Responder Bowl, he will officially begin his tenure in Clinton and inherit a team that went 3-7 in 2023.

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