Texas Southern University is parting ways with head football coach Clarence McKinney. This move comes after the TSU Tigers ended their season with a 3-8 record, continuing a decade of losses.
HBCU Sports first reported the news about the coaching change on Nov. 14. Initially, TSU athletics director Kevin Granger disputed the report, saying it was “not accurate.” But less than a week later — after TSU lost its final game of the season to the University of Arkansas @ Pine Bluff — Granger confirmed the news.
“Texas Southern University will not renew the contract of head football coach Clarence McKinney when it expires on Dec. 15, 2023,” Granger said in a statement on Nov. 20. “We wish Coach McKinney well moving forward.” He added, “The University will begin a nationwide search for our next head coach immediately.”
McKinney was named Texas Southern’s head coach in Dec. 2018. He arrived with a history of accomplishments; after assistant coaching at Booker T. Washington High (1997-2003) and Northshore High School (2003-2005), he spent three seasons as head coach for Jack Yates High School. But though he led Jack Yates to a 30-8 record, McKinney struggled to work similar magic at TSU. His first season there was disastrous: the Tigers went 0-11 in 2019, failing to win a single game. (And they endured some ugly losses, including a 77-6 drubbing by the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.) In 2020, TSU ended the year 1-2 in a season shortened due to COVID-19.
Things began to pick up in 2021; according to his TSU bio, McKinney led the Tigers to finish second in the SWAC football conference. Freshman quarterback Andrew Body became TSU’s single-season leader for total offense. He ranked in the SWAC top 10 for both rushing and passing; the team ranked 3rd in passing and posted its best SWAC record since 2000 (though the Tigers ultimately went 3-8). Texas Southern did even better in 2022, finishing with a 5-6 record; its five wins were the most by the team since 2014.
But the Tigers regressed this season, suffering humiliating losses to Rice (who creamed them 59-7), to Toledo (who beat them 71-3) and HBCU rivals like Grambling and Southern University. Their loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 18 left them ending their season at 3-8; Coach McKinney was let go just two days later.
But he’s hardly alone. Word broke on Nov. 26 that the University of Houston has fired head coach Dana Holgorsen after the Cougars went 4-8 in their first Big 12 season. Both UH and TSU — located just steps away from one another in the heart of Houston’s Third Ward — have sent their former coaches to the unemployment line. And after five tumultuous seasons, each man finds himself jobless.