- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (AP) - Gardner-Webb has hired Mississippi assistant Ron Dickerson Jr. to run the struggling Runnin’ Bulldogs’ football program.

The 39-year-old Dickerson was introduced Wednesday to replace coach Steve Patton, who was fired last month after 14 seasons.

Dickerson has spent the past three years as receivers coach under Houston Nutt at Ole Miss, where he helped develop NFL receivers Mike Wallace, Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge.

Dickerson, who starred as a receiver at Arkansas and played briefly with the Kansas City Chiefs, becomes the first black head football coach in Big South history.

His father, Ron Dickerson Sr., was the first black major college head coach at Temple in the 1990s.

Gardner-Webb went 4-7 last season and 2-4 in the conference.