Grambling doesn’t play Alcorn on the gridiron until the opening weekend of next season, as part of the Labor Day weekend Port City Classic in Shreveport, La. But, make no mistake, the gamesmanship has already begun.
Newly hired Grambling coach Doug Williams — in his second stint overseeing the program — has lured away newly hired Alcorn assistant Vyron Brown. Brown, who had just accepted a job as offensive coordinator with the Braves under Melvin Spears, will take over the same role at Grambling.
Spears, of course, is Williams’ cousin and a former assistant under Williams at Grambling between 1998-2003. (Spears then succeeded him as head coach from 2004-06.) Meanwhile, Brown was a player for Williams, leading Grambling in rushing in 1998, and subsequently served as an assistant under Spears. After stops at Shaw and Alabama State, Brown was announced as a new member of Spears’ staff at Alcorn on Feb. 16.
“I think he’s ready,” Williams said. Asked why Brown left, so soon after being hired by Spears, Williams simply said: “Respect.”
Brown joins a staff that retains just two members from the Rod Broadway era, respected defensive coordinator Cliff Yoshida and interim Andre Robinson, a fellow Eddie Robinson-era product who was promoted to assistant head coach. In another break from the previous administration, Williams has brought back receivers coach Sammy White — let go in a surprise move before last season by Broadway.
“When you see the production that our receivers made, it’s a no-brainer,” Williams said. “That in itself speaks volumes. Think about those our guys and how well they did.”
White served as Grambling’s receivers coach from 1998-2003, and from 2007-09. He was offensive coordinator for Melvin Spears between 2004-06 after Williams left for an NFL job, and held together Grambling’s 2007 recruiting class as interim when Spears departed. Over that span, Grambling won six Western Division titles and five SWAC championships, 2000-02, 2005 and 2008. White was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 2004.
He also helped shepherd in a period of offensive fireworks unseen in the storied history of Grambling football — shaping the record-smashing careers of Scotty Anderson, Tramon Douglas, Henry Tolbert and then Clyde Edwards. They’d set new school marks in every major receiving category, and Grambling would lead the Football Championship Subdivision in offense three times, 2002-03 and 2005.
Ezil Bibbs, a GSU Hall of Famer and — like White — a former teammate of Williams’ under Robinson, will oversee the defensive line. Williams hired former Tampa Bay Tech head coach C.C. Culpepper to coach defensive backs and special teams, providing a key link back to Florida for recruiting. Williams met Culpepper when the he worked as a guest coach at the training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, during Williams’ tenure there as a front office executive.
Grambling’s staff is still without an offensive line coach. The group will meet as a group for the first time a week from today. Williams has yet to set a spring practice schedule, he said, though a March 14 start date is a possibility.