CLINTON, Miss. --- John Bland was named the 14th head football coach in Mississippi College history, it was announced by athletic director Mike Jones at a press conference on Thursday (Jan. 2) in the Quick Rebounder's Room in A.E. Wood Coliseum.
"I believe that Mississippi College, with the right coaches, with the right players that we have and we are going to build, that we are going to have a chance to win that conference (Gulf South Conference) championship," said Bland. "As we know, if we can compete for a conference championship in the GSC, we can compete for a national championship. That's our goal, and that's our plan."
"We had over 40 applicants for this job," said Mike Jones, "and it was a unanimous decision by our committee to offer coach John Bland our position. When we started looking for a coach, first of all, we wanted someone that would meet the mission of Mississippi College, and we did that. Second, we were looking for a proven winner, and we did that, also."
Bland will get to work right away as he takes over a program that is in the process of making the transition to Division II and the Gulf South Conference. The Choctaws will play a full Division II schedule in 2014, including a seven-game league schedule in the GSC.
Coach Bland comes from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., where his Patriots went 13-1 and advanced to the NAIA national championship game. He was named Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year five times and led Cumberlands to five conference championships.
Prior to his time at UC, Bland was the quarterbacks coach for five years at Rice University (2001-2005) in Houston, Texas. He also spent seven seasons at Southern Arkansas University (1994-2000), a member of the Gulf South Conference at the time. He was an assistant coach for the first five years, and served as the head coach in 2000, going 5-5.
Bland spent his playing days as a quarterback at the University of Arkansas, where the Razorbacks went to four straight bowl games in his time. He was named team captain for the 1988 Southwest Conference champions that went to the Cotton Bowl.
Coach Bland and his wife, Candis, have three children, Shreve, Jade and Bo.