James Spady, Dawson Odums set to interview at Southern

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG. Southern Athletic Director William Broussard confirmed Saturday he will hold on-campus interviews Monday with Nevada tight ends coach James Spady and SU interim football coach Dawson Odums. Show caption
Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG. Southern Athletic Director William Broussard confirmed Saturday he will hold on-campus interviews Monday with Nevada tight ends coach James Spady and SU interim football coach Dawson Odums.

Southern University’s first round of on-campus interviews is set.

James Spady is up first. Dawson Odums is on deck. At the moment, it’s unclear if anyone else will join the list.

Spady, the offensive tackles and tight ends coach at Nevada, will meet SU Athletic Director William Broussard on Monday, at which time he’ll make his pitch to become the Jaguars’ next football coach.

Odums, the interim coach who led Southern to a 4-5 record over its final nine games, will follow Tuesday.

As for Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins, he might still be in the mix, Broussard said. But he’s not coming for an interview just yet.

“Still negotiating, but nothing concrete,” Broussard said in a text message, referring to Jenkins’ status. “I’m interested, he appears to be too, but I’m moving forward (with) the search in the interim.”

Broussard said he’d like to make a final choice and recommend a coach to the SU System Board of Supervisors at their meeting Friday afternoon.

Between now and then, he’ll certainly talk face to face with Spady, who spent three years as the offensive coordinator at Grambling under Rod Broadway from 2007-09, helping lead the Tigers to a 26-10 record and one Southwestern Athletic Conference championship.

Spady, a native of Biloxi, Miss., shares something in common with Broussard. Both men played Division I football as undersized centers: Broussard at Northwestern State, Spady at UTEP.

Spady had two stints at his alma mater, as tight ends coach from 1993-96 and as defensive line coach from 2000-03. Spady also had two coaching internships with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers before moving on to jobs at South Carolina State and North Carolina Central.

Attempts to reach Spady on Saturday were not immediately successful.

Spady has spent the past three seasons at Nevada, which produced quarterback Colin Kaepernick and operates heavily out of the pistol formation.

The Wolf Pack went 14-1 in 2010 and are 28-12 overall the past three years. They will face Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15.

“Spady is sharp, personable, with a great personality, energy and drive for success,” Broussard said. “Spady’s résumé, record of success, and his belief in innovation and high tempo would be successful against our peers.”

Odums came to Southern as defensive line coach in 2011, working under then-coach Stump Mitchell.

Southern reassigned Mitchell after the Jaguars’ Sept. 13 home loss to Mississippi Valley State, then promoted Odums to interim head coach. With him in charge, Southern defeated all of its top three rivals: Jackson State, Florida A&M and Grambling.

Although the Jaguars came close to beating other SWAC contenders, they entered the Bayou Classic on a four-game losing streak.

SU finished the season with a 38-33 win over Grambling, its first Bayou Classic victory since 2007.

“I know we went 4-5, but I really feel we matured as a team and continued to get better,” Odums said. “I want to be the head coach at Southern University. Of course, that decision is not up to me.”

Tuesday, Odums can do his best to sway Broussard again.

“Odums proved to be a capable leader through adverse times during the 2012 season, and accomplished much with little,” Broussard said. “He led with purpose and vision, valued high character and discipline among his players and staff, and put our team in position to win in the fourth quarter in eight of nine contests.”

Jenkins, for his part, has seemed to generate the most buzz among SU alumni and fans. A former assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette and Rutgers, he has led Bethune-Cookman to a 27-8 record and two conference titles in three seasons.

Attempts to reach Jenkins were unsuccessful Saturday.

Broussard also previously identified longtime college assistant John Hendrick as a semifinalist.

Southern is searching for a full-time replacement for Mitchell, who went 6-16 in two-plus seasons.

Mitchell made $200,000 per year.