Savannah State selects Wilson as football coach

Earnest Wilson III stood at the podium while being introduced as Savannah State University's new football coach and joked he was given a cap that was too big for him.

"When I put on the hat, I look like Elmer Fudd," he said, drawing laughter.

Wilson will wear a lot of hats for Savannah State, the toughest of which may be turning around the Tigers' struggling Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference program.

But he accepted that challenge on Friday when he was named Savannah State's 24th head coach.

Wilson spent last season in the MEAC as the offensive coordinator at Hampton University and the 1989 graduate of Texas Tech has extensive coaching experience on several different levels of football.

He replaces Steve Davenport, who led Savannah State into the MEAC in 2011, but was fired on April 17 after two straight 1-10 seasons.

Savannah State has not had a head coach last for longer than three seasons over the last 21 years. The Tigers have won two or fewer games in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Wilson said he has three goals for giving the Tigers a lift: to graduate student-athletes, win games and involve the community in his program.

"I'm hoping with those three simple things, we'll be successful," he said.

Wilson was chosen for the position over three other finalists: John Hendrick, the special teams coordinator/defensive ends coach at Alabama State; Ester Junior, the head coach at Central State; and Robert Joseph, who recently became Alcorn State's wide receiver coach after he served as Langston's head coach the last two seasons.

Savannah State cornerbacks coach Corey Barlow, who had served as the interim head coach since Davenport's firing, will be retained on Wilson's coaching staff.