Saturday, July 30, 2016

Family and Discipline – Former HU's Brandon Jones to represent Belize in Rio

HAMPTON, Virginia -- As the 2016 Summer Olympics are fast approaching in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, so is the preparation deadline for Belizean athlete Brandon Jones. Jones, along with colleague Katy Sealy will be representing the Jewel at the tournament in less than a month, after they were both selected as ‘wildcards’ based on their performance over the years of competition.

28-year-old Jones was born in the state of Virginia in the United States of America (USA). His father, Kent Smith is a Belizean and a resident of Belize City, who met his mother Carmen Jones-Smith while living in the USA. From a very young age, Jones became active in sports, excelling in track and field, long jump and triple jump. He holds the record for indoor triple jump at the Hampton University in Virginia, and surpassed expectations in the 60m indoor dash and 200m outdoor dash at the said institution.

In 2011, he qualified for his first USA indoor championship, and that same year he qualified for his jumps after excelling in the triple jump with 15.62m. Even though his performance at this first championship did not go as expected, Jones did not give up and continued working hard. That paid off as the following year, he was called by the Belize Athletic Association (BAA) to represent Belize in Nicaragua at the Senior Central American Championships.


Minor Sports Getting Squeezed Out at HBCUs

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When Clark Atlanta University announced this summer that it was suspending its men’s track and field program, alarms were sounded in some corners of the historically black colleges and universities landscape — as well in the community at large.

Here is a school in Atlanta, which hosted the Summer Olympics just 20 years ago. Those games featured gold medal-winning sprinter Michael Johnson and long jumper Carl Lewis.

Was there not sufficient momentum built to sustain a viable track and field program for at least a couple of generations?

Isn’t there an almost unlimited number of potential men in the Atlanta area alone who can run and jump?

As it turns out, the truth is much more complicated, according to commissioners and athletic directors responsible for managing the musical chairs known as HBCU athletics.


Kentucky State Hall of Famer William Graham named Director of Athletics

FRANKFORT, Kentucky -- Kentucky State University has announced former men's basketball head coach, KSU Athletic Hall of Famer and current director of the William Exum Center, William Graham, as the new director of athletics.

"This is a program I'm very familiar with, and it's one I'm a product of," said Graham. "I'm looking forward to making a difference in our student-athletes lives', adding to the program, and raising the bar of expectations."

Graham has served three stints at KSU totaling more than 30 years. In 1967, he was a student athlete playing basketball under Lucias Mitchell. During his time as a student-athlete, Graham was a part of two NAIA National Championship teams in 1970 and 1971, serving as captain and the team's "Most Inspirational Player" in 1971. He would later be drafted by both the Denver Rockets of the ABA and the Phoenix Suns of the NBA in 1971, to sign eventually with the Suns.

In 1976, Graham returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach for men's basketball and baseball. Following his two-year coaching stint with the Thorobreds, Graham served as an assistant men's basketball coach at Alabama State until 1989. While at ASU, he assisted James Oliver, helping lead the Hornets to a #1 NAIA National team ranking and runner-up in the NAIA National Championship tournament in 1980.

He returned to KSU in 1989 to serve as the head coach of men's basketball, a position he held until 1996. Following his time at the helm of the Thorobreds, he was named as the assistant director of the William Exum Center. In 2004, Graham was appointed the director of the William Exum Center, a position he held for more than 12 years.

Graham currently serves on numerous boards and committees including the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches, Kentucky State University Alumni Association, Kentucky State University K-Club Vice President, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (Shape America), and National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association.

"I'm a part of the Frankfort community and have been for a long time," said Graham. "I think KSU is a valuable asset to this community. As we move forward, we want our programs to be more involved with the city of Frankfort."

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he is married to Lillian Graham, and they are the parents of daughters Erica and Courtney, and son William III.


HU faces uncertainty at the quarterback position

HU has as many as four candidates for the QB1 job, including senior J.J. Williamson and FBS transfer Malik Wat

NORFOLK, Virginia — Following its best finish since 2011, Hampton University went into the offseason with momentum. But with their opener just five weeks away, the Pirates have uncertainty at the worst possible position.

Asked about the quarterback situation during the MEAC's media day Friday, HU coach Connell Maynor acknowledged there is still no set starter. He also suggested he might need to observe the first two games of the season — Old Dominion and William and Mary, both non-conference — before knowing.

"We have three or four capable guys that can go out and win football games for us," Maynor said. "But we want to narrow it down to one, and we want to have a backup ready to play. We've got two non-conference games against two good opponents, and that'll tell me a lot. They'll be playing against some good competition, and that'll tell me a lot about their maturity, their pocket presence, their leadership, and whether they'll quit when they get behind. … A quarterback is tough to find, and a lot of times you don't know until he gets in a game."


Feggins Earns Preseason Status as VSU Predicted to Finish Fourth

DURHAM, North Carolina – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and its Football Coaches Association announces the 2016 CIAA Football Predicted Order of Finish and the Preseason All-CIAA Team.

Under the leadership of new head football coach, Reggie Barlow, the Virginia State University (VSU) Trojans are predicted to finish fourth in the conference, third in the Northern Division.

"I am glad to be kicking off the 2016 season with my new Trojan Family and with the CIAA," said Coach Barlow. "Although predicted to finish fourth in the conference and third in the division, we will stay focused on our "One Team, One Dream" motto and not focus on preseason rankings."

Last season, VSU finished the season with a 6-4 overall record, 4-3 in the conference.

Representing the Trojans on the Preseason All-CIAA Team is senior linebacker George "Geo" Feggins. The South Hill, VA native collected 73 total tackles, 55 unassisted, during the 2015 season. In the close 2015 win over the Elizabeth City State Vikings, Feggins earned a season single game high of 14 total tackles.

The CIAA Football Media Day kicked off  on Thursday, July 21, 2016 in Durham, NC with interviews from all twelve CIAA institutions. Catch all the action by following the CIAA on Facebook (The CIAA), Twitter (@CIAAForLife), and Instagram (@CIAASports).

The Trojans will kick off the 2016 season on the road in Hickory, NC to take on Lenior-Rhyne. Game time is set for 2pm.
Looking ahead, the CIAA Football Championship is scheduled for November 12, 2016 in Durham, NC. The nationally televised championship game will be played at Durham County Memorial Stadium and feature the CIAA Northern and Southern Division champions.

For more information on VSU Trojans football, follow Trojans Athletics on Twitter @VSUsports, or call 804-524-5030.

2016 Predicted Order of Finish
Winston-Salem State University
Bowie State University
Virginia Union University
Virginia State University
Fayetteville State University
Chowan University
Livingstone College
Elizabeth City State University
Johnson C. Smith University
Shaw University
Lincoln (Pa.) University
Saint Augustine's University

Predicted Divisional Order of Finish
Northern Division
Bowie State University
Virginia Union University
Virginia State University
Chowan University
Elizabeth City State University
Lincoln (Pa.) University

Southern Division
Winston-Salem State University
Fayetteville State University
Livingstone College
Johnson C. Smith University
Shaw University
Saint Augustine's University

2016 Preseason All-CIAA Football Team
TE #17 Victor Tabbs* ECSU 6-4 230 Sr. Sutland, MD
OL #62 Jac'que Polite* WSSU 6-5 300 Sr. Ridgeland, SC
OL #70 Tim Samuels WSSU 6-3 240 Jr. Charlotte, NC
OL #75 Justin Nester* BSU 6-3 276 Sr. Dayton, MD
OL #78 Abraham Garcia VUU 6-6 340 Sr. Fort Lauderdale, FL
OL #78 Victor Tamba BSU 6-5 335 Jr. District Heights, MD
WR #8 Nyme Manns* BSU 6-4 212 Sr. Baltimore, MD
WR #16 Jordan Garrison BSU 6-2 229 Sr. Baltimore, MD
QB #12 Shawheem Dowdy VUU 6-4 218 Sr. Baltimore, MD
RB #5 Stephen Scott* LUPA 5-8 205 Sr. Baltimore, MD
RB #9 Hakeem Holland* VUU 5-10 180 So. Baltimore, MD
PK #47 William Johnson WSSU 5-11 175 Sr. High Point, NC
KR #9 Hakeem Holland VUU 5-10 180 So. Baltimore, MD

DL #7 Miles Pace VUU 6-2 250 Sr. Miami, FL
DL #46 Armond Cox LC 6-3 240 So. Teaneck, NJ
DL #53 Paulin Miano* VUU 6-6 265 Sr. Washington, DC
DL #99 Sean Copeland BSU 6-0 325 Sr. Baltimore, MD
LB #20 Demetrius Newberry CU 5-11 225 Sr. Brunswick, GA
LB #34 Geo Feggins VSU 6-1 210 Sr. South Hill, VA
LB #44 Kevaugn Townsend* BSU 5-8 203 Sr. Ft. Washington, MD
DB #8 Carlo Thomas* JCSU 6-2 185 Jr. East Orange, NJ
DB #21 Rodeshawn Joseph VUU 6-1 185 Sr. Pompano Beach, FL
DB #26 Travis Scales FSU 6-0 200 Sr. North Carolina
DB #37 Eric Henderson* FSU 5-8 170 Sr. Charlotte, NC
P #57 Christopher Palmer BSU 6-2 274 Sr. St. Mary's, MD
PR #12 Robert Chesson BSU 5-10 179 So. Annapolis, MD *2015 All-CIAA First Team Members


ASU 2016 Football Prospectus Available Online

LORMAN, Mississippi --  The 2016 Alcorn State University football prospectus is available for online viewing.

Click here to be redirected to the prospectus.



Sept. 4 at Bethune-Cookman Daytona Beach, Fla.
Sept. 10 Alabama State* Lorman, Miss.
Sept. 15 Arkansas Pine-Bluff* Lorman, Miss.
Sept. 24 at Grambling State* Grambling, La.
Oct. 1 at Arkansas Little Rock, Ark.
Oct. 8 at Alabama A&M* Huntsville, Ala.
Oct. 15 Texas Southern* (Homecoming) Lorman, Miss.
Oct. 29 Southern* Lorman, Miss.
Nov. 5 at Prairie View A&M* Prairie View, Texas
Nov. 12 at Mississippi Valley State* Itta Bena, Miss.
Nov. 19 Jackson State* Lorman, Miss.
Dec. 3 Toyota SWAC Championship Game Houston, Texas


Alcorn Athletics Director Derek Horne Signs Contract Extension

LORMAN, Mississippi -- Alcorn State University Athletics Director Derek Horne has received a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the helm of Alcorn Athletics through 2019. Horne was hired in August 2014.

The Alcorn Braves have won conference championships in football and tennis under Horne's watch. And a Black College National Championship in football and made an appearance in the 2015 inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

President Alfred Rankins Jr. acknowledged Horne's commitment to Alcorn and its student athletes.
"Derek has brought stable leadership to our athletics program. He has raised expectations for our athletics staff and has our athletics department functioning at a higher level, which has resulted in gains in the overall student athlete experience at Alcorn," Rankins said.

In 2014, the football team successfully won the Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division and their first SWAC Championship in 20 years. Shortly after claiming the SWAC title, the team was named the 2014 Black College Football National Champions. The following year, the Braves would dominate the conference again by repeating as SWAC East Division Champions and reclaiming the SWAC Championship for a consecutive year.

Under Horne's leadership, Alcorn State University National Alumni President and Alcornite of the Year Neddie Winters '72, has witnessed the success of Alcorn Athletics firsthand.

"It's a huge responsibility to lead any athletics program in this 'win now' mentality present in our society," Winters said. "Horne hit the ground running, hiring staff and coordinating the efforts of various sports. His ability to listen calmly and address challenges while focusing on our student athletes' success on and off the field at the highest level is substantial."

The Lady Braves tennis team earned a trip to the 2015 Women's NCAA Tennis Tournament, a monumental feat for the team. The Lady Braves returned to the tournament in 2016 after securing the SWAC Championship in April. Tennis coach Anthony Dodgen was named SWAC Coach of the Year. The basketball and softball programs have also flourished. The Braves men's basketball team finished in second place during the regular season. The softball team also completed their season in second place of the East Division. Softball Coach Josef Rankin was named SWAC Coach of the Year.

Under Horne, 91 student athletes received SWAC honors for making the honor roll in 2014. The accomplishment helped Alcorn athletics win the 2014 Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic Progress Rate (APR) Award for the SWAC. The next year, the number of scholars increased to 123 students who received SWAC honors for their commitment to their studies.

Alcorn quarterback Lenorris Footman respects the accountability that Alcorn Athletics demands of its students. "I work hard to achieve academic honors. Other than my professors, I know my coaches, academic advisors and even AD Horne will monitor my progress. When AD sees you, he wants to know 'how you are doing in the classroom?' All of the concern and family support, motivates me to do my best work."

Horne credits his team and President Rankins for a successful two years. "I would like to thank Dr. Rankins for the opportunity to continue serving as Alcorn's director of athletics," Horne said. "The past two years have been a rewarding experience. I look forward to working with a dedicated team as we serve our student athletes, staff and alumni.

Horne, a former University of Mississippi student athlete, came to Alcorn after leading the athletics program at Florida A&M and an impressive 15-year tenure at his alma mater in athletics administration.