Jerry Rice is cautious is speaking about the issues with the football program at his alma mater. It's rumored that school where Rice set many NCAA receiving records has fallen on hard times.
Earlier in the offseason, Jackson State's head coach Deion Sanders visited Mississippi Valley State and head coach Vincent Dancy after he heard the program was in dire straits. The field condition, facilities, and stadium are in poor condition. Even the enrollment has decreased at Valley.
I asked Jerry Rice about Coach Sanders' visit and if anyone at the university had approached him about the university's current situation.
"Well, that's still a lot to get done at Mississippi Valley State University," Rice said. Because Deion [Sanders], he's like, 'Jerry, I say, I went to school, and I see why you are the way you are.'
The question is, why? Or, better yet, what happened to the relationship he once had with Mississippi Valley State?
Rice continued, "They're lacking a lot. And, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I think because we're getting great coaches in these HBCUs now, the money, the field conditions, the environment, everything is going to get so much better. But it's going to take time, but, yeah, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done."
In the football program's time of need, the disconnect between the Delta Devils and their most illustrious alumnus seems to be at an impasse. The chill may have grown since his former quarterback Willie Totten left his alma mater as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in July. MVSU considered Totten a candidate for the athletic director opening but hired Hakim McClellan for the position.
Today, it's uncertain what relationship Rice maintains with Valley. Hopefully, Dr. Jerryl Briggs Sr (President) and Hakim McClellan(Athletic Director) could find a way to reconnect and rebuild a positive relationship with Jerry Rice for the sake of the young athletes and the football program.
Mississippi Valley State's head coach Archie "Gunslinger" Cooley led the Satellite Express offense featuring Jerry Rice and Willie "Satellite" Totten to average a remarkable 60.9 points per game in the 1984 season. Rice set NCAA Division II records with 27 touchdowns, 112 receptions, and 1845 receiving yards in a single season. By the way, he broke his own records that season.