The coaching carousel is in full swing in the small college ranks of Mississippi.
While Todd Cooley is set to be back at Delta State for at least another season after confirming during his weekly press conference, he might be the only returning head coach at any of Mississippi’s four Division II and III football programs.
Two weeks ago, Mississippi College announced it was parting ways with John Bland after going 26-66 over 10 seasons. On Tuesday, Belhaven University suffered a blow when it was reported by FootballScoop that Blaine McCorkle is planning to leave for Division I FCS Northwestern State.
McCorkle was behind a massive turnaround at Belhaven as he transformed the Blazers from a consistently losing program to a winning one that landed its first-ever Division III playoff appearance this fall. He will take on one of the toughest rebuilds in all of college football as Northwestern State canceled the remainder of its season on Oct. 26 after junior safety Ronnie Caldwell was shot and killed.
The Louisiana university said, at the time, that the cancelation of the season paired with the immediate resignation of Brad Laird was made to protect the mental health of student-athletes. However, multiple players – highlighted by a lengthy social media post from starting quarterback Tyler Vander Waal – objected to the decision and even called it a “cop out” as the Demons were 0-6 when the surprising announcement came about.
“The canceling of the season was never about Ronnie. They used his unfortunate passing as a cop out,” Vander Waal wrote. “The lack of leadership was evident. As much as I respected Coach Laird as a coach and a man, he didn’t have any control of this team. As players, we were kept in the dark about everything. The decision makers here thought it was a good idea to cancel the season and take away the only structure we had? They thought it would be smart to take away these players’ outlets during a time of grief?”
Northwestern State, which competes in the Southland Conference, has not had a winning season since 2008. McCorkle will look to do what he did at Belhaven but on a higher level.
As for Millsaps, the Majors have not announced if interim head coach Cory York will be back for another season after going 1-9 this year. It is worth noting, though, that there is a job listing currently on the college’s website for head football coach, but it’s not clear when the posting was published.