Jackson State football coach Harold Jackson said he didn't give much thought to what was being said by those outside his program.
However, it was those opinions that eventually led to his firing.
Jackson was dismissed, the university announced on Tuesday. Carolyn Meyers, JSU president, cited the recommendations from the alumni and students influenced her decision.
"Jackson State is a tradition-rich school and our athletics have always been an important aspect of university life," Meyers said in a release. "We want to continue that spirit of improvement. In making this decision I considered both the recommendation of our interim director of athletics (Wheeler Brown) and responses from alumni and students. We have worked well with and fully supported Coach Jackson. We honor and love him and wish him success in his future endeavors."
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Jackson was 6-11 in a season and a half as the Tigers' coach. The move comes less than a week after JSU interim athletic director Robert Walker stepped down.
The school said receivers coach Derrick McCall will step in as interim head coach. McCall was the Tigers' offensive coordinator in the 2012 and 2013 seasons and served as receivers coach in 2008 and 2009.
"Coach McCall has already proven his commitment to Jackson State as demonstrated by his work with our players," Myers said.
McCall added: "I want to thank Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers and Mr. Wheeler Brown for giving me the opportunity to lead the JSU football team for the remainder of the season. I also want to thank Coach Jackson for allowing me to be part of his coaching staff."
A Hattiesburg native and former JSU wide receiver, Jackson played in the NFL from 1968 to 1983. He served as an NFL assistant coach for teams, such as the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. He landed the head coaching job at Benedict College where he was for two seasons and followed up as a wide receivers coach at Kentucky (2001-2002) and Baylor (2003-2006).
After the team fell to 0-3 with a 50-31 loss to Southern last month, Jackson felt his team would be able to rebound from the slow start and didn't admit to feeling any pressure to win.
"Pressure (comes) when you don't know what the hell you're doing," he said. "We're going to get it done, though."
A change.org petition, which called for Jackson's firing, was created after the loss to the Jaguars. A petition was also created during Jackson's first season as coach when the Tigers finished 5-7.
JSU rebounded from the 0-3 start with a victory against Texas Southern, but lost to Grambling by 32 points at home on Saturday night, which drew boos from fans in attendance. Jackson reiterated that he didn't feel more pressure to win after the loss.
Jackson was paid a base salary of $260,000 per year. His contract, which was set to expire in January 2017, came with a buyout clause of $65,000, or, according to the contract, "a figure negotiated and agreed upon by both parties if terminated earlier by the University (sic)."
In January of 2014, Jackson replaced Rick Comegy, who had been fired the previous December. Comegy is now the head coach at Mississippi Valley State.