Odums, Jenkins among six head coach semi-finalists
The finalist pool includes coaches with an average of 18 years of NCAA coaching experience, includes 4 former or current head coaches who have won or appeared in multiple black college national championships and bowl games, extensive experience recruiting Louisiana prep student-athletes, and all 6 coaches have HBCU coaching experience.
Among the six candidates vying to fill Southern's coaching vacancy are Alabama State special teams coordinator John M. Hendrick, current Bethune-Cookman head coach Brian Jenkins, current SU interim coach Dawson Odums, Nevada offensive line coach James Spady, and two other finalists who wish to remain unidentified due to their respective seasons not yet coming to an end.
Broussard is scheduled to conduct a 30-minute phone interview with each of the candidates this week before condensing the six semi-finalists to as many as three who will potentially make on-campus visits.
Hendrick, a former Tulane assistant head coach and LSU tight ends coach, presently serves as the special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach at Alabama State. The University of Pittsburgh graduate helped produce two All-Conference USA defensive lineman while at Tulane from 2011-12 and was a member of Bill Synder's Kansas State coaching staff in 1991-92 that helped turnaround the worst program in college football history. Hendrick also served as Southern's offensive line coach in 1986.
Jenkins is widely considered a rising star in Division I coaching ranks after producing a 27-8 record at Bethune Cookman College which includes two MEAC championships and two FCS playoff appearances. In his first season as the Wildcats head coach, Jenkins led Bethune Cookman to the school's first-ever HBCU national championship and was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 2 Coach of the Year. Jenkins also spent seven years as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Louisiana-Lafayette from 2002-2009.
Odums' previous title of defensive coordinator changed to interim head coach two games into Southern's 2012 season. The North Carolina native and N.C. Central graduate proceeded to lead the Jaguars to a 4-5 finish after an 0-2 start, claiming signature wins over Jackson State, Florida A&M and Grambling. Odums arrived at Southern in 2011 after a 3-year stint at N.C. A&T where he served as the Aggies' co-defensive coordinator in 2010 and defensive line coach in 2009. Odums also served as the interim head coach at Clark Atlanta during the 2004 season and head coach in 2005.
Spady spent several seasons at some of black college football's elite programs before becoming the offensive tackles and tight ends coach at the University of Nevada, where the Wolfpack finished ranked #2 in FBS in total offense in 2010 and are currently in the Top 10 in several categories in 2012. Spady served as Grambling's offensive coordinator from 2007-2009 helping the Tigers win a SWAC title after an 11-2 record in 2008. Spady, who played four years as a center at Texas-El Paso, also helped win conference titles at N.C. Central in 2006, South Carolina State in 2004 and UTEP in 2000, while adding HBCU national championships in 2006 (NCCU) and 2008 (Grambling) to his resume.
Broussard expects to present his choice for Southern's next head coach at a Dec. 14 Board of Supervisors meeting on the Baton Rouge campus.