Alcorn State has hired Jay Hopson as its football coach, making the former Memphis defensive coordinator the first "non-black" head coach in the history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, according to the school.
The school announced the hiring Monday, holding a news conference on the lawn of the school president M, Christopher Brown II's home.
Hopson, 43, replaces Melvin Spears, who was fired in February after going 2-8 in his only season.
"I don't see black or white, we're all purple and gold," Hopson told reporters after being introduced.
Hopson said he had withdrawn his name from consideration for the Alcorn State job but Brown convinced him to reconsider.
"Today's historical appointment will require us to walk hand in hand to disrupt naysayers wedded to a racist past," Brown said.
Hopson resigned from Memphis' staff in September 2011. He also has coached at Marshall, Delta State, Southern Mississippi and Michigan.
He played defensive back at Mississippi from 1988 to '91.
(Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.)