Yolande Y. Lezine
by Forward Times Sports Editor
The Texas Southern University Football program continued to move in a positive direction to steer them away from various problems from the past as they named Darrell Asberry as the 15th head coach in Tigers football history.
The former head coach from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, spent five seasons there, posting a 40-25 overall and a 30-13 record in conference play. He captured 3 CIAA championships in 5 seasons, and his teams ranked at the top in the nation both offensively and defensively.
“It feels great to be back home, “ Coach Asberry said in an exclusive interview with the Houston Forward Times Newspaper. “I am excited about coaching at Texas Southern University and I’m looking forward to doing three things, building the program, building the players and turning them into great young men, both on and off the field, and winning championships.”
Asberry, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, served as an offensive coordinator at North Carolina Central, Albany State and Jackson. He played quarterback for the Tigers at Jackson State, where he received a bachelor’s of science degree in Criminal Justice.
His career highlights include: 3 CIAA Football Championship Titles: 2007, 2008, and 2009 (First Back to Back in School History), Western Division Championship Titles: 2007, 2008 and 2010; he produced two CIAA Defensive Players of the Year and one AFCA All-American; Graduated 35 players in 2007-2009; Graduated 18 players from 2010-11; 3-Time Pigskin Club of Washington, DC-CIAA Coach of the Year (2007, 2008, and 2010), 2010 100% Wrong Club Coach of the Year; 4-year overall record of 34-10 and Conference record of 27-4; and in 2008 Shaw ranked #1 in NCAA Division II in Rushing Defense, Tackles for Loss, Sacks and Total Defense, and they also placed 6th in NCAA in scoring offense with 42 points per game.
Asberry was hired by TSU on December 22, 2011 after producing a very successful track record with the Bears. TSU claimed its last conference championship just a season ago when it went 9-3 en route to winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship under former coach Johnnie Cole in 2010. A key part of that championship was defensive coordinator Kevin Ramsey, who Asberry retained on the staff. Coach Ramsey led the Tigers to a 4-7 record in an interim role as head coach this past season after being promoted April 1, 2011 to replaced Cole, who was relieved of his duties amid an ongoing NCAA investigation into possible violations.
Coach Asberry beat out Coach Ramsey and a third unnamed finalist for the Tigers vacancy. He plans to have his remaining coaching staff fully in place by Sunday, January 15th. He is expected to hire some of his former assistants at Shaw and finalize the staff so that they can quickly prepare to move into the recruiting of the Tigers 2012 class.
This was TSU Athletic Director Dr. Charles McClelland’s first official hire for the Tigers football program, and he has impressed with the track record that he had accomplished at Shaw over the past five seasons.
“Coach Asberry has a solid track record at Shaw, especially when it comes to graduating players. Graduation rates have been an area of concern for TSU.”
“We wanted to bring in someone who understood the importance of recruiting the right student athlete, and when you look at Coach Asberry’s record, he has a 70-percent graduation ratio. Graduating student athletes is critical to us.”
At present the TSU Tigers athletic department has a graduation rate of 46 percent, with the football program coming in at 33 percent. It was at 29 percent when McClelland arrived in April of 2008 and he has done nothing but push to get the right people in place to let others know that the university’s motto of “Excellence in Achievement” is true and it is something that sits high on TSU’s list.
Here’s an Up Close and Personal look at the Tigers 15th head football coach:
FT: What was it that attracted you to Texas Southern University?
Asberry: “Dr. Charles McClelland. I had heard so many positive things overall about Texas Southern and the direction that he wanted the program to head in.”
FT: How do you feel about coaching back in the SWAC?
Asberry: “It feels good to be back home. I’m looking forward to building the program, building the players, and winning more championships!”
FT: What are your thoughts on having the opportunity to play in a brand new stadium?
Asberry: “It’s a great feeling. It will help us with recruiting. And it feels good to be one of the first coaches and teams to be able to come in and play at BBVA Stadium.”
FT: What do you feel will be the biggest challenge at TSU?
Asberry: “The biggest key will be team discipline. I plan on being here a long time and everyone must be held accountable. The key to success will be loyalty and once the kids buy into it, we will be good.”
FT: What is the number of players that you plan to bring on in your 1st recruiting class at Texas Southern?
Asberry: “Hopefully 15 to 20 kids. Getting your education will be our first priority.”
FT: What is your plan for producing student-athletes with good academics success?
Asberry: “Three things are important. First our players must go to class; 2nd they must attend study hall, and 3rd-they must be disciplined! They must understand that there will be consequences if they do not produce. They have an opportunity to get a free education and a scholarship is a blessing!”
FT: Seeing that you are a former SWAC product, why did you choose to come to TSU?
Asberry: “It’s a very exciting moment. It reminds me when my kids were born. It feels good to be wanted.”
FT: You have a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice. Have you done anything in law enforcement?
Asberry: “No, I haven’t done anything.
FT: How special will it be to know that you will have seven home games in a brand new stadium?
Asberry: “It’s a blessing. We have a new coach and a new flavor and I’m hoping that eh alumni and others will come out and support the Tigers and what we’re trying to do in the greater Houston community.”
FT: Do you have any closing comments?
Asberry: “I would like to thank Dr. Charles McClelland, my mom, Mrs. Yvonne Asberry, who has always had my best interest at heart! I left home in 1990 and I never been back. Now I’m only four hours away.”
Coach Darrell Asberry’s Favorites:
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Date of Birth: February 12th
Food: Pork Chops
Movie: “Remember the Titans
Book: “Uncommon Life” written by Tony Dungy
Restaurant: Houston’s Restaurant
Vacation Spot: Jamica
Musical Artist: Frankie Beverly and Maze
Actor: Denzel Washington
Actress: Halle Berry
T.V. Show: Martin
Name one thing that no one knows about you?
“I like to cook”.
Children: 2 Daughters: Arabria and Armarni
1 Son: Armariyan