Jackson State fires Rick Comegy after 8 seasons

Jackson State fired football coach Rick Comegy on Wednesday

after eight seasons.

Comegy had a 55-35 record during his tenure and he led the

Tigers to the 2007 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship.

Jackson State had an 8-4 record this season, including an 8-1 mark

in the SWAC. The Tigers lost to Southern in the SWAC championship

game 34-27 in double overtime.

Jackson State spokesman Eric Stringfellow said during a

Wednesday press conference that the decision to fire Comegy wasn’t

completely based on his record, but a combination of factors.

The football program has had academic issues in the past,

failing to meet the NCAA’s APR standards. Those numbers have

improved during recent seasons.

Stringfellow said the next JSU coach would ”recruit local” and

players would also have ”discipline as part of their DNA.”

”This isn’t just about wins and losses,” Stringfellow said.

”If you’ve done your homework, you can see that coach Comegy has

had some success. This is about the direction of the program and

about our student-athletes, putting them in position to be

successful.”

Stringfellow said Comegy will be paid a $50,000 buyout.

Assistant coach Antonio Knight, who is also the recruiting

coordinator, will lead the program while the university searches

for a new coach.

Stringfellow said the rest of Comegy’s staff will be released

after their contracts expire on Dec. 31, but could be re-hired by

the new coach.

Jackson State’s athletic budget is expected to be $6.5 million

this year, which ranks 7th out of the 10 SWAC schools. Comegy made

just under $200,000 per season.

The school’s budget took a hit when Grambling’s football players

refused to travel to Jackson State for a football game in October

because of issues with Grambling coaches and administration. The

game was ruled a forfeit and Jackson State had to refund all ticket

sales.

But Stringfellow said that didn’t affect the decision to fire

Comegy.

”The Grambling game had nothing to do with this,” Stringfellow

said. ”This was not driven by budget. We’re going to be

competitive in terms of going after the next coach and going to pay

what we think is fair and what the university can afford.”

Jackson State athletic director Vivian L. Fuller said in a

statement the school is ”grateful to Coach Comegy and his staff

for their service to Jackson State. We appreciate the work he has

done with JSU athletics and we wish him well.”

Fuller did not attend Wednesday’s press conference.

—–

Follow David Brandt on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP