JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Jackson State University has named John Hendrick its next head football coach.
Jackson State University’s Division of Athletics announced that the interim tag will be removed from John Hendrick’s title on Wednesday afternoon, and he will become its 20th head football coach in school history.
“John Hendrick is a veteran who has proven his ability to provide the type of leadership that is required for our football program,” said Ashley Robinson, JSU vice president and director of Athletics.
“Coach Hendrick has a vision for his offense. He will hire a proven offensive mind that will install an exciting and up-tempo offense. Fans will enjoy the points lighting up the scoreboard that will remind us all of the glory days. Beyond that, Coach Hendrick is a master-motivator, an experienced play-caller, a great defensive technician and, most importantly, puts the welfare of student-athletes above all else.”
Hendrick said he is grateful for his new role and excited about the next step in JSU football.
“I would like to thank President (William B.) Bynum and Mr. Robinson for trusting me to lead this legendary football program,” Hendrick said. “Our goals will remain the same: graduate our student-athletes, compete for championships and continue to build this program into a force in the SWAC and the destination HBCU program in the country.”
JSU President Dr. William B. Bynum, Jr. is thankful Coach Hendrick has accepted the full-time role.
"I had the pleasure of meeting with our football student-athletes last night along with VP/AD Robinson," said Dr. Bynum, JSU President. "The players consistently stated that Coach Hendrick is a leader, a father figure, a principled man who brought them together as a team with vision, structure, discipline and tough love. He allowed them to play their game and put them in the best position to succeed on and off the field. These are the attributes that we want in the head coach leading our young men and football program."
Tiger defensive end and Provine High School graduate Khahil Johnson is thrilled that Hendrick will lead the football program.
“As a team, we are excited,” Johnson said. “Coach Hendrick not only understands you as a student-athlete but as a person. There’s a new energy within the program and we trust him. He’s a great leader and this team will go to battle for him.”
JSU running back and Terry, Mississippi native Jordan Johnson is excited his senior season will be steered by Hendrick.
“I can speak for the team and say that we are all excited that Coach Hendrick is our new head coach,” Johnson said. “We have a coach who demands excellence in the classroom and on the field of play. Coach Hendrick is the type of coach who will leave a positive, life-long effect on myself and my teammates.”
Hendrick served as the defensive line coach at Kansas State from 1991 to 1993 and the principles he learned under legendary Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder will be used to help shape the JSU football program.
“I am proud of John and of Jackson State for hiring him. I have a great appreciation for John and his contribution to the development of our program here at Kansas State University,” Snyder said. “John is a knowledgeable and talented football coach. He works well with and cares about young people and is a strong leader. He will do well there.”
Dr. Dwayne Pickett, a Senior Pastor at New Jerusalem Church, is thrilled Hendrick is the new head football coach.
“Coach Hendrick has outstanding character and an uncanny ability to connect with student-athletes, their parents, administration, and the JSU community,” Pickett said. “As a lifelong resident of Hinds County, a 23-year member of the Jackson State community, and a long-time supporter of Jackson State Football, I am excited about the selection made by our Athletic Director and President. Let’s get behind Coach Hendrick and our players like never before!”
A meet-and-greet with Hendrick will be held surrounding the 2018 spring football festivities. The annual spring game is scheduled for Saturday, April 13.
Hendrick was named to the interim role on Oct. 28 and guided the Tigers to a 2-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference record and was one win away from earning a berth in the SWAC championship game. He led the Tigers to a 34-28 win over Prairie View A&M and a dominating 20-2 effort over Alabama State.
No stranger to the SWAC, Hendrick has more than 30 years of coaching and playing experience. He served at Alabama State football during the 2015 season and then again as the special teams/defensive ends coach in 2012-13. In addition to coaching at Alabama State, he was also the special team’s coach at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Previously, the coaching veteran spent the 2011 season as special teams/defensive line coach at Tulane after spending the 2008-09 seasons at the University of South Florida in a similar capacity.
Hendrick served as the defensive coordinator at South Carolina State University in 2007 and before that, he was the head coach at Benedict College from 2003-06. While at South Carolina State, the Bulldogs’ defense held opponents to 19.6 points and 287.1 yards per game. They also intercepted 11 passes, forced 19 fumbles, recovered 11 fumbles and collected 17 sacks. SC State finished the 2007 season with a 7-4 record, including outscoring opponents 138-49 in three consecutive victories to close the season.
As the head coach at Benedict, the Tigers’ defensive units were nationally ranked in NCAA Division II all four years. In addition, he produced a nearly 90 percent team graduation rate.
The University of Pittsburgh graduate began his coaching career as the outside linebacker’s coach at Delaware State University in 1983. He then went on to spend two seasons (1984-85) at his alma mater coaching the offensive line before serving in the same capacity at Southern University in 1986.
Hendrick spent two seasons (1987-88) as the offensive line coach at Texas A&M University and spent another two seasons at LSU (1989-90), coaching offensive tackles and tight ends. He entered the NFL coaching ranks in 1991 in the NFL Fellowship Program and also served as the defensive line coach at Kansas State. From 1993-94, he served as the associate head coach/defensive line coach at Temple University.
Hendrick coached in the pros for a second time as a member of the NFL Fellowship Program with the Philadelphia Eagles before an eight-year stint at Mississippi State University (1995-2002) as the defensive line/special teams coach.
While at MSU, Hendrick proved to be an integral part of the Bulldogs’ rise to lead the nation in total defense and rushing defense in 1999. Under his guidance, MSU’s first line defense allowed only 222.5 yards in opponent total offense and 66.9 yards of rushing offense. MSU’s defense led the Southeastern Conference in every category.