DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS
ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY
(COURTESY: ALCORN STATE ATHLETICS)
The Alcorn Braves have won conference championships in football and tennis under Horne's watch. And a Black College National Championship in football and made an appearance in the 2015 inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.
President Alfred Rankins Jr. acknowledged Horne's commitment to Alcorn and its student athletes.
"Derek has brought stable leadership to our athletics program. He has raised expectations for our athletics staff and has our athletics department functioning at a higher level, which has resulted in gains in the overall student athlete experience at Alcorn," Rankins said.
In 2014, the football team successfully won the Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division and their first SWAC Championship in 20 years. Shortly after claiming the SWAC title, the team was named the 2014 Black College Football National Champions. The following year, the Braves would dominate the conference again by repeating as SWAC East Division Champions and reclaiming the SWAC Championship for a consecutive year.
Under Horne's leadership, Alcorn State University National Alumni President and Alcornite of the Year Neddie Winters '72, has witnessed the success of Alcorn Athletics firsthand.
"It's a huge responsibility to lead any athletics program in this 'win now' mentality present in our society," Winters said. "Horne hit the ground running, hiring staff and coordinating the efforts of various sports. His ability to listen calmly and address challenges while focusing on our student athletes' success on and off the field at the highest level is substantial."
The Lady Braves tennis team earned a trip to the 2015 Women's NCAA Tennis Tournament, a monumental feat for the team. The Lady Braves returned to the tournament in 2016 after securing the SWAC Championship in April. Tennis coach Anthony Dodgen was named SWAC Coach of the Year. The basketball and softball programs have also flourished. The Braves men's basketball team finished in second place during the regular season. The softball team also completed their season in second place of the East Division. Softball Coach Josef Rankin was named SWAC Coach of the Year.
Under Horne, 91 student athletes received SWAC honors for making the honor roll in 2014. The accomplishment helped Alcorn athletics win the 2014 Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic Progress Rate (APR) Award for the SWAC. The next year, the number of scholars increased to 123 students who received SWAC honors for their commitment to their studies.
Alcorn quarterback Lenorris Footman respects the accountability that Alcorn Athletics demands of its students. "I work hard to achieve academic honors. Other than my professors, I know my coaches, academic advisors and even AD Horne will monitor my progress. When AD sees you, he wants to know 'how you are doing in the classroom?' All of the concern and family support, motivates me to do my best work."
Horne credits his team and President Rankins for a successful two years. "I would like to thank Dr. Rankins for the opportunity to continue serving as Alcorn's director of athletics," Horne said. "The past two years have been a rewarding experience. I look forward to working with a dedicated team as we serve our student athletes, staff and alumni.
Horne, a former University of Mississippi student athlete, came to Alcorn after leading the athletics program at Florida A&M and an impressive 15-year tenure at his alma mater in athletics administration.
CORTESY ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE