Missouri Southern State University in Joplin made history on Wednesday in announcing the hire of the institution’s first African-American head coach in its 87-year history. Atiba Bradley, the former Missouri Southern and Joplin High school football player, returned to Southwest Missouri to take over a program that went a combined 3 and 19 over the past two seasons. Bradley, on Wednesday at his press conference when asked what signal to wanted to send other teams in the conference. “I’m not going to give too many sound bites, but we’re going to speak with our play. We definitely will; I think at the end of the day, when we get this going, our play is going to speak volumes. We’re going to be out there, we’re going to be tough, we’re going to be physical, we’re not going to beat ourselves, and most importantly, we’re going to be a well-coached football team.” The 2021 football season starts for Missouri Southern in early September against Nebraska-Kearney. The Lion host rival Pittsburg State on October 2nd.