Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl MVP rumored to be candidate at Texas Southern

Texas Southern Athletics

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Texas Southern is nearing two weeks since restarting its search for a head football coach. Sources indicate the search includes some of the previous candidates, along with the addition of another former NFL wide receiver.

Rumors of TSU expressing interest in former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson drew criticism from some donors and alums due to a lack of head coaching experience. Sources indicate the Tigers have contacted another former NFL wide receiver with recent experience as a head coach in the XFL – Hines Ward.

Ward, a former Pittsburgh Steelers great recently resigned from his duties as head coach of the San Antonio Brahmas in response to a change in contract structure. The franchise has since joined forces with the former XFL and USFL to form the United Football League.

Like Johnson, Ward is a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame and would be a “splash” hire, which sources indicate is a desire of some members of the Board of Regents. However, Ward has seven years of coaching experience, including a stint as the special assistant to the head coach and wide receivers coach at Florida Atlantic.

Ward began his coaching career in 2017 as an offensive intern with the Steelers while working with wide receivers. He spent two seasons as a full-time assistant coach with the New York Jets before joining FAU in 2021. Ward led the Brahmas to a 3-7 record in his only season as head coach.

Kyle T. Mosley of HBCULegends reported that Brett Maxie received another interview for the position last week. According to sources, Alvin Reynolds remains a candidate, who indicates former Alcorn State head coach Fred McNair remains a candidate despite failing to approve a contract to name McNair head coach on three occasions. Alvin Reynolds also remains a candidate, according to sources.

Sources indicate some members of the Board of Regents are uncomfortable with paying its next head coach the proposed $313,000 base salary. Previous head coach Clarence McKinney was reportedly paid $306,000 last year, which was a point of contention among alums concerned with the school's ability to pay a competitive salary to its assistant coaches.

FCS head coaches are paid far less than the $3.6 million average salary for FBS head coaches in 2023. Most salaries range from $200,000 to $400,000. It seems unlikely Ward would accept less than $300,000, considering he reportedly left the Brahmas after being asked to take a pay cut from his $500,000 salary last season.

It’s unknown whether McNair is willing to accept less than the proposed $313,000 four-year contract initially offered, especially after being unable to reach an agreement to extend his contract with the Braves.

It remains to be seen when TSU will name a new head coach, and the Board of Regents has yet to schedule any special meetings at publication.

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