Jeffries is currently a fund-raiser

Updated: December 3, 2004, 3:02 PM ET
Associated Press

NATCHITOCHES, La. -- Willie Jeffries, the former football coach at South Carolina State University, was approved Friday as the new athletics director at Grambling State University.

The appointment had been approved Thursday by a committee of the board governing the University of Louisiana System. The full board accepted the recommendation during a meeting in Natchitoches.

Jeffries, 67, is currently South Carolina State's director of athletic fund raising. He retired as coach in 2001. He also served as the school's athletic director from 1990 through 1992.

"The mission of athletics is the same as the overall mission of the university -- to provide a quality education. A rising tide raises all boats. Athletics can be a beacon for academics and vice versa," Jeffries told the committee that approved his appointment.

Jeffries also said he is a stickler for NCAA compliance, and plans to strictly adhere to all rules set by that governing body, the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the university.

Jeffries would replace Al Dennis, who was fired on the first day of new president Horace Judson's tenure July 1.

Jeffries became the first black to coach on the NCAA Division I level when he took over at Wichita State University in 1979. He coached for 19 years there and at South Carolina State and another five at Howard University.

He will be paid $90,000 per year.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press