My intention was to write about what Alcorn State would lose if not able to open its season at Auburn as scheduled because of the coronavirus.

I’m thinking megabucks.

I call Alcorn and ask for Alcorn State Atlhletics Director Derek Horne, who last year spoke at the Miss-Lou National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Awards Banquet.

I gave my name and reason for my call and was told it would be passed on.

I did not hear from Horne or anyone from Alcorn.

I tried once more with no luck.

The third time I talked with Sports Information Director Robbie Kleinmuntz, who previously spent three years as Assistant Director of Media Relations at Louisiana-Monroe. Robbie was very professional, took down all my information and told me he would pass it on to Horne.


I then sent an e-mail to Horne explaining my reason for wanting to talk with him.

More crickets.

A week later I left a message for Alcorn State head coach Fred McNair, who I watched play quarterback at Alcorn in the late 1980s.

Fred was the original “Air” McNair, leaving brother Steve with the moniker of “Air II” when he came along.

McNair began his college football career as a wide receiver at Alcorn in 1986 before moving to quarterback his junior season. After the switch, McNair went on to finish fifth in Division 1-AA in passing efficiency his senior year and was named to the All-SWAC second team in 1989. He received his bachelor’s in 1992 and furthered his education with a master’s in 1996 from Alcorn State University. 

In four seasons, Fred “Air” McNair has coached the Braves to four SWAC East Division titles and a pair of SWAC Championships. 

The two-time reigning SWAC Coach of the Year winner brought the Braves to the Celebration Bowl in both 2018 and 2019.

I spent 20 years covering Alcorn State athletics, and always had a blast visiting the Lorman school and talking with longtime friends Davey Whitney, Lonnie and Shirley Walker, the colorful Willie “Rat” McGowan and Cardell Jones.

Sports Information Directors Stanley Lewis, Lonza Hardy (this guy should be in SID Hall of Fame) and Derrick Hackett (who had the mountainous job of getting out information and setting up interviews for Steve McNair) were top notch.

I’m not saying everyone there now is not, but apparently promoting the university does not appear to be a top requisite.

I go back to that NFFHF banquet two years ago where Horne was the guest speaker.

Horne stepped up after Alcorn State football coach Fred McNair accepted the invite to speak, but had to back out at the last moment for another engagement.

Horne did a good job, but obviously Fred McNair would have been a bigger draw.

 Fred has always been a favorite of mine, but I must say I don’t think he did the local NFFHF chapter right in backing out at the last minute.

People do not realize how hard it is to get speakers. I’ve even tried to assist in getting someone a couple of times and there are all kinds of obstacles. 

It seems coaches’ jobs are more time consuming than ever, and when they can get a break, they better take it.

Which makes it tougher on the local NFFHF chapter.

But they always pull off a class event and last Thursday was no exception.

Horne said at his hometown of Quitman, Ga., which he compared to Port Gibson, he was the No. 3 rated basketball player in the state and the No. 2 guard.

Horne signed with Ole Miss, where he played from 1983-1986. As a senior, he earned Academic All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) accolades and led his squad as team captain.

When he arrived at Ole Miss, Horne said he was asked to play center, becoming one of the smallest center in the Southeastern Conference at 6-foot-6.

“I did it for the team,” Horne said. “I had to step out of my comfort zone. But it was all about the team.”

It was a good lesson for the high school and junior high scholar-athletes at the banquet.

And, of course, he stressed getting an education.

“The ball will go flat one day,” he said. “Get your education.”

A nice job in a pinch-hit role.

And it was a nice recruiting trip in a way.

Alcorn recruiting and Concordia Parish do not go hand in hand.

Fred Marsalis had to walk on to make the Alcorn team before earning a scholarship after his playing days at Vidalia.

And, as I mentioned before, I hate to vent on Alcorn State. I loved my trips to Lorman to cover football and basketball games. 

bEspecially during the Steve McNair era where I eventually had to leave my house at 11 a.m. for a 1 p.m. to not get stuck in miles-long backed-up traffic on Hwy. 552 when it was two lanes.

It was always a festival of sorts at Alcorn football games.

Which is more reason I hate the lack of attention from Alcorn in Concordia Parish.

Alcorn defensive backs coach Chris Cash did come through last spring and talked with Ferriday coach Stanley Smith. Ferriday principal Kimberly Jackson actually questioned Cash on why they don’t recruit over here.

And the mystery continues, even after the banner season the Trojans had last year which led to Southern and Grambling making offers to Ferriday players.

No Alcorn.

I say all this to say this (Yes, I am asking how to make the watch instead of what time is it).

I was trying to find out where former St. Helena quarterback Rickey Travis was at after signing with Grambling, but not being on the current roster.

Smith told me he thought he may be at Southern University.

I sent an e-mail on JUne 18 to Southern coach Dawson Odums asking about Travis.

Forty-five minutes later, I received this back from Odums: “No sir he is not here sorry for the inconvenience. GeauxJags!!!”

A couple of days after that, three Ferriday High players put on Facebook that they are committing to Southern.

Obviously Odums cannot comment on that.

But I did send an e-mail saying I heard about some commitments and was glad to see Southern interested in players around here.

Three hours later I receive this.

“We on it. GeauxJags!!!”

So I say, why not? I send an e-mail to Dawson to set up an interview (see top story).

Later that day Southern University Travel Coordinator Mallikah Little calls me to set up an interview, asking what would be the best time to talk to Odums.

So that’s how it’s done Alcorn. It’s not rocket science.  Enjoy the article.

And Geaux Jags.





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