Alcorn State football bolstered its staff, adding three former players as assistant coaches. The Braves announced the hiring of Derek Welch, Derrien Covington and Dwayne Taylor Jr. All three are former football players with experience coaching HBCU athletes.

“I'm excited to add these gentlemen to an already stacked staff here on the reservation,” Braves head coach Fred McNair said in a statement. “These coaches bring a wealth of knowledge to our program, and we look forward to putting a good product on the field in the coming weeks. We have high expectations for this season, so we want everyone to stay tuned!”

Derek Welch will serve as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the team. He previously served as special teams coordinator and secondary coach at Northeastern State. Before his time at Northeastern, Welch served as the defensive coordinator for the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils for five seasons. His impact was huge, with 12 different student-athletes making all-SWAC teams, including Ronnie Thomas, who set a single-season sack record at MVSU.

Derrien Covington joins Alcorn from Division II playoff contender Delta State and will serve as the defensive line coach. While at Delta State, Covington served as mentor to all-conference defensive tackle Timaje Porter. Porter played in 11 games for the Statesmen, totaling 26 tackles (11 solo) and three sacks. Before his time at Delta State, Covington served as the defensive coordinator at Pearl River Central High School, his alma mater.

Alcorn State football alumnus Dwayne Taylor Jr. rounds out the hires, returning to his alma mater as cornerbacks coach. Taylor spent the previous two seasons at Norfolk State University, where four of the athletes he coached earned All-MEAC honors. As cornerback coach for the Spartans in 2021, the team was tied for most interceptions in the MEAC with 14. Taylor knows about success as a HBCU student athlete, having served as a two-year starter for the Braves at safety. He earned honorable mention All-SWAC honors in 2007 and posted six interceptions in his career. He graduated from Alcorn in 2008 with a degree in recreation.

The Braves open the 2023 season at Southern Mississippi on September 2nd.