Thursday, December 14, 2017

Privateers open strongly, snap Nuggets' win streak

NEW ORLEANS — The University of New Orleans outscored Xavier University of Louisiana by 24 points in the first quarter and rolled to an 85-50 women's basketball victory Thursday at UNO's Lakefront Arena.

The Privateers (2-7) of NCAA Division I ended their six-game losing streak and snapped the five-game win streak of the NAIA-member Gold Nuggets (5-3). It was the city rivals' first meeting since 2004, when XULA prevailed 69-53.

UNO led 11-0 through four minutes and 24-2 after Kayla Mundy's 3-pointer at 1:33. The Privateers led 29-5 after one quarter, and as a result the Gold Nuggets set school records for points allowed in a first quarter and largest scoring deficit in any quarter. They tied the XULA mark for fewest points scored in a first quarter.

"It was just like the Loyola game," XULA coach Bo Browder said. "We came out of the locker room with three straight turnovers, they scored and that was it."

Randi Brown scored 29 points, 23 in the first half, for UNO. Mundy had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Shania Woods scored 16. Mariah Wright had nine assists and four steals.

Essence Wells scored 12 points and Mikayla Bates 11 for XULA, which had not lost since its home opener Oct. 29.

UNO led 50-18 at halftime. XULA allowed 50 points in a half for the first time since Dec. 28, 2009, and 50 in a first half for the first time since Nov. 21, 1992. The halftime deficit was the Gold Nuggets' largest since Nov. 29, 1977, and their second worst all-time.

UNO outshot the Gold Nuggets 62.3 to 26.2 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 40-32. The teams made seven 3-pointers apiece, although UNO attempted only two and made one in the second half.

The losing margin was XULA's widest since an 86-48 defeat against Oklahoma City on Dec. 20, 2011.

XULA will play Virgin Islands at 7 p.m. Sunday and NAIA No. 9 Lindsey Wilson at 5 p.m. Monday in its Xavier Classic at the Convocation Center. That event will include men's games; XULA's Gold Rush will play Virgin Islands at 5 p.m. Sunday and Rust at 7 p.m. Monday.


Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Greg Ruffin Officially Introduced As Edward Waters Tigers Head Football Coach

JACKSONVILLE, Florida -- In front of a crowd filled with supporters, alumni, members of the local media, and his first crop of football players, Greg Ruffin was officially introduced as the 14th head football coach in the history of the Edward Waters football program during a press conference on Thursday morning at the Adams-Jenkins Community Sports & Music Center.

Ruffin comes to Edward Waters from Bethune-Cookman University of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), where he spent this past season (2017) as Tight Ends Coach. Prior to his time at BCU, he spent one season as head coach at Texas College in 2016.

Ruffin's experience in building programs from the ground up made him the right choice to lead the Tiger football program as he was named head coach at Paine College in the school's resurgence of football in 2013, after the program was dormant for more than 50 years. At 29 years old, Ruffin was also selected as head football coach at Shaw University in 2002 where he revived that program after a 23-year hiatus, guiding the Bears to a 7-3 record in his lone season in Raleigh, N. C.

During Thursday's press conference, Ruffin emphasized the importance of finding "O. K. G.'s" or "Our Kind of Guys" to help the program get back to the level of success it saw in the 50's & 60's when it was one of the most feared programs in all of Black College Football.

"We want to tell people what our message is and what our core values are," said Ruffin. "We don't want kids coming here and being surprised. This is what we are. We want kids to embrace that and once they do, they will understand that we will take off." Ruffin also stated that "We're gonna take this program and enhance it in order to move it forward. This is the right place for me and I look forward to the challenge of taking this program to the next level."

Ruffin also spoke of his time as a player at his alma mater, Lane College and about how he was a part of the turnaround of that program. At Lane in 1989, they hadn't won a game in six years. They lost 103-0 to Central State when they had Coach Billy Joe and had to stop the game in the third quarter. When I left in 1995 as a senior, we went 9-1 and beat North Carolina A&T with just nine scholarships." Ruffin reiterated the point that "Great things can and will happen here."

Ruffin addressed his players in a meeting following the press conference and told them the importance of taking pride and ownership in their football program. "At the end of the day gentlemen, I want you to be proud of where you are and represent this program to the utmost." Ruffin said during the meeting. "If we do that and we pay attention to the little things, success will come after that."

Following the holiday break, Ruffin will begin to put together his coachin
g staff and immediately start recruiting for the 2018 season as well as installing his offseason plan in order to be prepared for spring football practice.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Quincy native, PVAMU offensive coordinator Alex Jackson to be OC at FAMU

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- New Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons has hit the ground running, and already has his offensive coordinator lined up.

Quincy Native and fellow James. A Shanks graduate Alex Jackson, Simmons' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Prairie View A&M, will join Simmons at FAMU as the team's offensive coordinator.

Jackson will officially start in the new year.

Simmons and Jackson formed a formidable coaching duo at Prairie View. With Simmons as the head coach and Jackson as the team's offensive coordinator, the Panthers' offense dominated.

Prairie View's offense was was third or better in scoring in each of the three seasons the two were there. In their first season together, the Panthers went 8-2 and were a loss to Grambling State away from reaching the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game.

The Panthers were No. 1 in the SWAC in both scoring and total offense in 2015.


Benjamin “Tre” Williams Late Free Throw Lifts Claflin to Win Over Limestone

GAFFNEY, South Carolina -- Benjamin "Tre" Williams hit three free throws in the final 45 seconds in lifting the Claflin University Panthers past Limestone College, 70-67, in an NCAA Division II non-conference basketball game Wednesday.

With its 10th straight win, Claflin improved to 11-1 on the season. The last time the Panthers suffered a loss was against the University of Montevallo 61-52 (Nov. 11) in the second game of the season.

The victory was also the Panthers fifth straight over Limestone, which fell to 6-5.

"Tre" Williams finished the game as the Panthers leading scorer with 19 points and seven rebounds. He was also 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

The only other player in double-figures for Claflin was Jordan Jones with 12 points that included a pair of three-point baskets.

Austin Lawton and Jaleel Charles contributed eight points each. Charles also led the Panthers in rebounds with eight rebounds before fouling out with 2:57 left in the game.

Kenny Hairston led Limestone with a game-high 30 points.

It was "Tre" Williams' three-pointer with 1:41 left in the game that broke a 64-64. Hairston tied the contest (67-67) just19 seconds later with his eighth three-point basket of the game.

"Tre' Williams later gave Claflin the lead for good, hitting a pair of free throws with 45 seasons for a 69-67 lead.

After Hairston missed three-pointer, "Tre" Williams rebound the shot and was fouled with 17 seconds left.

He hit 1-of-2 free three throws as Claflin held on and remained perfect on the road at 8-0.

The Panthers had to fight back from 11 down with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half, that saw two ties and two lead changes. The Panthers took its first lead since the opening basket with just 55 seconds remaining in the half, 32-31.

Neither team would score in the remaining seconds with the Panthers owning the one-point lead at the half.

Claflin will return to SIAC action Saturday at home against Spring Hill College. The contest will follow the women's contest at 3:30 p.m.



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New FAMU football coach Willie Simmons: 'I'm home'

Simmons’ contract is a five-year deal worth $300,000 annually.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The Willie Simmons era at Florida A&M is officially underway.

It started Tuesday with as much fanfare as a homecoming rally. Simmons was introduced in front of a group of FAMU supporters, athletes, coaches and busloads of people from his home town of Quincy.

With the eyes of dozens of FAMU fans on him, Simmons didn't flinch. He took a deep breath, and after greeting the orange and green-clad fans, simply said, "I'm home."

Simmons, head coach at Prairie View A&M from 2015-2017, has a 21-11 record as a head coach. He’s built a reputation for offensive excellence – the Panthers were third in the SWAC in scoring last season.

FAMU hasn’t had a winning season since 2011 and went 3-8 last season.

“It takes a process to build a program back,” Simmons said. “We have good players here. We have good resources here. We’re working tireless to improve the resources, working tirelessly to recruit the best student athletes we can possibly bring to the Hill.”

Interim Athletic John Eason said Simmons was the top choice of search committee chairman Spurgeon McWilliams, so they two decided to vigorously pursue PVAMU's now-former head coach.


Culver: New head coach Willie Simmons embraces FAMU family

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- For Willie Simmons, coming back to Florida A&M University was simply coming home. Simmons has always been a Rattler. Tuesday's press conference just made it official.

His wife, Shaia, is a Rattler.

His son Tre is a Rattler – freshman class president, actually.

His mother, Phyllis, who died in 2005, was a Rattler. Simmons said his grandmother sent seven of her nine children to FAMU.

Orange and green are in his blood. After he greeted fans at his introductory press conference, he said he was home.

The pull of returning home was too much to resist for Simmons. It was enough to get him to leave Prairie A&M, where A) he was winning and B) the facilities were top-of-the-line.

Shaia, a major force in nudging Simmons back to Tallahassee, was easy to spot Tuesday – she was the one dancing alongside Venom while the Marching 100 played “S.O.S.”

“That reaction hasn’t stopped,” Simmons said with a laugh. “She’s a lifetime Rattler. She bleeds orange and green. She has the utmost respect for this university, for what it’s given her. She’s gotten two degrees from here and she’s working on a third.


Monday, December 11, 2017

WSSU parts ways with assistant coach Thabiti Davis

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Thabiti Davis, who spent four years as the wide receivers and special teams coach at Winston-Salem State, has not been retained.

Davis, a former Wake Forest star, received the news through an e-mail from athletics director Tonia Walker last week.

“I got the news the other day via e-mail but there was no reason given for why they let me go,” said Davis, who is a former NFL player from Charlotte. “I definitely don’t understand how or what I did wrong, but like anything else I have to move on and see what’s out there.”

Davis, 42, joined the Rams before the 2014 season, which was Kienus Boulware’s first season as head coach. Boulware moved from defensive coordinator to head coach after the 2013 season.\

Davis said the only contact he’s had from anybody at WSSU was the e-mail from Walker.