Southern planning offer for Dawson Odums

Southern football coach Dawson Odums’ future could be settled this week.

Odums is one of four candidates who have interviewed for the head coaching position at North Carolina Central, his alma mater. NCCU officials said they plan to discuss the candidates during a conference call Thursday and make a hire shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, the Jaguars are working to keep Odums, who led the team to the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship this season, with a long-term deal. Athletic Director William Broussard said Monday that he is meeting with university officials this week and “will work to establish an agreement shortly.”

Broussard said last week that he would do everything in his power to try to keep Odums, who has one year left on his contract, and his staff.

Odums, who interviewed with the Eagles at their Durham, N.C., campus last Wednesday, declined comment Monday, referring all questions to his agent, Burton Rocks.

Rocks said he told Broussard he would not comment publicly while talks are ongoing out of respect for the way Broussard and Southern have treated Odums. Broussard said he and Rocks will meet “when I have something to present” — presumably this week.

Southern won its first SWAC championship in 10 years when it defeated Jackson State 34-27 in double overtime Dec. 7 in Houston, concluding Odums’ first full season as head coach with a 9-4 record. Southern was 4-5 in 2012 after Odums was promoted from defensive coordinator to replace Stump Mitchell, who was reassigned after an 0-2 start.

Odums is a native of Shelby, N.C., about a three-hour drive from NCCU. He was a three-year starter, a team captain and an All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association selection as a senior. Odums earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education in 1997.

Winston-Salem State coach Connell Maynor, Nevada tight ends coach James Spady and South Alabama wide receivers coach James Mack also interviewed at NCCU.

Maynor, like Odums, has had success as a head coach. He has a 45-6 record in four seasons at WSSU, which he has taken to the Division II playoffs the past three seasons.

Spady, who’s in his fourth season at Nevada, was offensive line coach at NCCU in 2006 and is a former Grambling offensive coordinator. Mack, in his second season at South Alabama, has never been a coordinator but is still considered a strong candidate.

The Eagles finished 5-7 this season under interim head coach Dwayne Foster, who remains in that position during the search. Foster took over when Henry Frazier III was fired in August. Frazier was making $225,000, but it’s unclear whether the school plans to pay that much to its new coach.

Odums’ contract pays him $140,000 annually, significantly less than the $200,000 earned by his predecessors — Mitchell and Pete Richardson — though Odums earned an extra $52,500 this year by accomplishing incentives.

NCCU is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. School officials have declined comment on their search, other than to say they plan to have a new coach before Christmas.