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FCS Football News

Gardner-Webb names Dickerson Jr. as head coach

Boiling Springs, NC (Sports Network) - Ron Dickerson Jr. on Wednesday became the first African-American head football coach in Big South Conference history when Gardner-Webb University charged him with leading its program.

Dickerson, 39, spent the past three seasons as receivers coach at Ole Miss under Houston Nutt, whom he played for at the University of Arkansas.

Dickerson replaced head coach Steve Patton, who was not retained by Gardner- Webb after the Runnin' Bulldogs finished 4-7 in 2010. Patton was 87-65 in 14 seasons.

"To have the opportunity to become a part of such a great university and community is truly a blessing," Dickerson said. "Our teams will play fast, physical and with energy and intelligence on the field. Our young men will also handle themselves properly off it. My job as head coach is not only to win games here, but to mentor and develop our student-athletes into well- rounded men - spiritually, academically and socially."

At Ole Miss, Dickerson played a key role in the development of current NFL players Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh Steelers), Dexter McCluster (Kansas City Chiefs) and Shay Hodge (Cincinnati Bengals), who all earned All-SEC honors.

Prior to Ole Miss, Dickerson spent three seasons at Louisiana-Monroe (2005-2007). He also coached at Missouri State, Alabama State and Temple, served an internship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001 and as running backs and special teams coach with the XFL Las Vegas Outlaws in 2000.

The Boley, Okla., native was a running back and wide receiver at Arkansas under Nutt from 1989-92, leading the Razorbacks in receptions in 1991 and '92 and finishing with 2,355 career all-purpose yards. He played professionally from 1993-96 for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL, and the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe.

Dickerson received his degree from Arkansas in 1996.

Dickerson's father, Ron Sr., was a long-time college and professional coach and became the first African-American head coach in Division I-A when he took over at Temple in 1992. He also was the head coach at Alabama State.

01/26 12:55:48 ET