Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reflections: Our Legacy...







North Carolina A&T Aggies earn MEAC title with win at Coppin State

Coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs has lead the Aggies to their third straight MEAC regular-season crown.

BALTIMORE, MD -- Senior guard TaWuana "Tweet" Cook scored a career-high 33 points as N.C. A&T overpowered Coppin State 72-53 on Saturday to clinch the MEAC regular-season women's basketball crown for the third consecutive season. The Aggies also won three straight regular-season titles from 1987-1990. "I know people picked us to win it, but we were hearing a lot through the grapevine that people thought we were vulnerable," said Patricia Cage-Bibbs, A&T's coach. "People really didn't believe we could pull this off because we didn't have our big guns coming back.

"I treasure all three titles, but I appreciate this one a little more because we've gone through a lot as a team this year. But the ladies hung tough and we got it done." The Aggies (20-8, 13-1) will open the MEAC tournament as the No. 1 seed March 10 when they face the No. 8 or No. 9 seed at 12:30 p.m. at Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem.

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Former NSU men's coach Mitchell dies at 74

Lucias T. Mitchell, who coached Norfolk State's men's basketball team after winning three national championships at Kentucky State, died Tuesday night after a lengthy illness. He was 74 and a graduate of Jackson State University. An important figure in college basketball in the 1970s at Kentucky State, Mitchell didn't find the same success at Norfolk State. Despite winning 61 games in three seasons, he was replaced in 1981. He never coached again.

Mitchell remained with the school until retiring in 2007 as a professor of health and safety and director of driver education. Until recently, he frequently could be found at local college games, where he assessed talent for the NBA.

Kentucky State's three straight Division II NAIA championships put Mitchell and the school on the basketball map. Two of Mitchell's players -
Elmore Smith and Travis Grant - became first-round NBA draft picks, a rarity for Division II players. At Alabama State, Kentucky State and NSU, Mitchell compiled a 325-103 record, a .759 winning percentage, making him the sixth winningest coach in NCAA Division II history.

In 2008, Kentucky State invited Mitchell for a ceremony in which the school named the basketball court after its all-time winningest coach. Mitchell was 1 of 3 coaches in college history to win three straight national titles, the others being UCLA's John Wooden and John McLendon of Tennessee State. "I've had a load of great memories in my career," he said before being honored by Kentucky State, "and I put this right on the top." Mitchell did not feel as warmly received at Norfolk State in 1978. "I probably shouldn't have come," Mitchell said years later. "They weren't ready for me."

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Intensity high for Southern Jaguars football practices

On Friday morning, as the first session of Southern’s spring football practice began, a walk-on got his gear and reported for duty, and he cautiously approached the field at Mumford Stadium, searching for his new position coach. Defensive coordinator O’Neill Gilbert told the player to sprint until he found the right spot. Why? Because at SU, under new coach Stump Mitchell, players won’t walk anywhere.

“I think they’re all getting an earful on the offensive side,” Mitchell said. “They’re probably all tired of me. But that’s the way it is because I’m the one installing the offense. I know what I want to see, and they’re still learning. But we’re not going to set (ourselves) up for mediocrity just because they don’t know.” Of course, the new-sheriff-in-town routine is nothing new when programs make a coaching change, but at Southern, under Mitchell, that notion has some meat to it. Monday morning, one veteran player showed up late for the team’s 5:30 a.m. practice. At the end, while the rest of the players returned to the field house, the late comer was treated to a series of bear crawls and barrel rolls.

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Black Athletes from North Carolina Transformed Sports



Althea Gibson was a trailblazing athlete who became the first African American to win championships at Grand Slam tournaments such as Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Doubles and the United States Open in the late 1950s. Gibson had a scintillating amateur career in spite of segregated offerings earlier in the decade. She won 56 singles and doubles titles during her amateur career in the 1950s before gaining international and national acclaim for her athletic prowess on the professional level in tennis. Gibson was a 1953 graduate of Florida A&M University.

North Carolina has long been fertile ground for pioneering African-Americans to make their mark in sports. As Black History Month continues and the CIAA Tournament kicks into high gear at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena, we take a look at 10 of these influential figures - athletes, coaches and administrators who were either born in North Carolina or arrived in the state later in life.

They share one characteristic: An influence on American sports and society that wasn't confined to North Carolina's borders, often reaching far beyond. Three of the 10 have direct ties to the CIAA: Winston-Salem State's Clarence "Big House" Gaines, N.C. Central's John McLendon and Dr. LeRoy Walker. Gaines, providing scholarships to players in a time when that advantage was rare for black athletes, guided Winston-Salem State to the 1967 NCAA Division II national championship - a first for a predominately black school.



Meadow "Meadowlark" Lemon is a professional basketball player, actor and minister. For 22 years, Lemon was known as the "Clown Prince" of the touring Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. He played in more than 16,000 games for the Globetrotters and is a 2003 inductee of the NBA Basketball Hall of Fame and received the NBA Lifetime Achievement – John Bunn Award in 2000. He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina and attended Florida A&M University. A born-again Christian, Lemon became an ordained minister in 1986 and received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Vision International University in Ramona, CA in 1998. He currently has his own comedic basketball team, the Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All Stars

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winston-Salem Rams flatten by Florida A&M Rattlers

Winston-Salem State took time on Saturday afternoon to honor the school's last two CIAA title teams in 1999 and 2000. Turns out, it could have used some of those players after falling flat against Florida A&M yesterday at the Gaines Center.

The Rams wound up losing 75-61, and had no answers for the Rattlers' effective zone. "We were just flat," said Coach Bobby Collins of the Rams. Perhaps suffering a hangover from last Monday's exciting victory over N.C. A&T in Greensboro the Rams never showed the same sense of urgency. Leading scorers Paul Davis and Brian Fisher, who were both averaging 11 points a game, combined for just seven points and eight turnovers and were non factors throughout.

The Rattlers (8-20) defended the Rams (11-16) with a man-to-man starting out but once the Rams ran to a 10-point lead Coach Eugene Harris switched to a zone. The Rams were never the same, and Harris stayed with the zone the rest of the way. "We couldn't penetrate the zone like you are supposed to do," said guard Lamar Monger. "We couldn't get the ball down low to Paul and it was just tough to get through it."

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SU Coach Mitchell's Contract Approved by Board

Southern University football coach Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell will be paid the same salary as his predecessor, Pete Richardson. Mitchell got a three-year contract at $200,000 per season with a fourth year as a mutual option, Southern Athletic Director Greg LaFleur said Wednesday. Richardson, who spent 17 years as Southern’s coach, was paid $200,000 for his final seasons. He retired after last season and was replaced by Mitchell, a former Washington Redskins assistant coach, in January.

Mitchell will have $400,000 available to pay his assistant coaches, LaFleur said. Richardson had $335,000 to spread among six assistant coaches last season.
An extra $15,000 one-time payment to Mitchell was added for moving expenses and incentives, such as $10,000 bonus for winning the Bayou Classic and an identical $10,000 bonus for winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. The contract also offers another $10,000 annual bonus for having a 75 percent graduation rate among football players. The Southern University Board of Supervisors on Friday officially approved the three-year contract for Mitchell, the former Washington Redskins assistant coach.

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Maryland - Eastern Shore's Coach Brummell named to NCAA Bowling Committee

Maryland-Eastern Shore head women's bowling coach Sharon Brummell was named to the NCAA's Women's Bowling Committee Thursday. She will serve a four-year term beginning September 1, the NCAA said. Brummell, who has coached at UMES for 12 years and led the school to the 2008 national championship, will replace Tara Wuorinen from St. Peter's College at the Division I representative. She will join Dean Lee (AD at Arkansas State), Jeff McCorvey (head coach, Alabama A&M), Bob Cincotta (head coach, Adelphi) and a representative who will replace outgoing member Frank Parisi, head coach of New Jersey City.

Brummell will be the only woman on the committee, at least until 2011 when two more vacancies open up. As part of the committee, Brummell will serve as regional chairperson, serve on the national committee, serve as an NCAA representative at the NCAA Bowling Championship and participate in the annual committee meeting.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Louisiana Tech and Grambling State Tigers Football Has a Date

SHREVEPORT, LA — Shreveport Mayor Cecil B. Glover couldn’t keep from using a New Orleans Saints’ analogy when speaking about the historic football game announced by Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State here Tuesday. “Hell has refrozen and the pigs are starting to sing again,” laughed Glover. “And Louisiana Tech and Grambling are going to be playing a football game.” Not just any football game, mind you, but the very first one between two schools located five miles from each other.

It’s set at the very site where Glover and other city and university representatives made it official with a late morning press conference — at Independence Stadium, where the Tigers and Bulldogs will collide on Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. “It’s 2010 and it’s been a long time in coming,” said former GSU head baseball coach Wlbert Ellis. “This is such a great opportunity for two great institutions to continue their relationship.

“We’re going to have a great game, we’re going to have fun and we’re going to fill the stands. But when it’s all over, we are going to continue the great relationship that we’ve had for so many years. What better way to continue this relationship than to have these two teams meet on the football field for the first time this September.” Grambling will serve as the host school for a game that will actually be the first in a series called “Port City Classic,” one in which the Tigers are scheduled to play several regional schools in upcoming years.

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PVAMU band a legacy to Edwards

Late Professor George W. Edwards, architect of the highly acclaimed PVAMU Marching Storm and the Black Foxes.

For more than a decade, the 80-game losing streak of Prairie View A&M's football team ranked the Panthers among the worst college football teams of all time. It wasn't until 2009 that Prairie View A&M football started showing some success and the historically black college clinched its first SWAC Western Division championship in 45 years. The conference title was a fitting tribute to Prairie View A&M's legendary band director, George Edwards, who died May 28, 2009, after a car accident in Houston, Texas.

For much of Edwards' 31 years at the school, the Marching Storm was the only reason to come out and see the football team. "During the halftime of an HBCU game, people don't go get hot dogs and cokes," said William McQueen, who took over after his friend's death. "You do that some other time. You want to be in the stands at halftime to see the show. Football people think fans come to football games to see football. With HBCU bands, we can have all bands and still fill up a stadium."



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NOTE TO MEAC/SWAC FANS:

The world-renowned Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm Band is under the very capable leadership of Dr. William F. McQueen, III. McQueen is a native of West Palm Beach, Florida. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida A&M University with honors and a Master of Music Degree in Trumpet Performance from Florida State University. Dr. McQueen completed course work and recital requirements for the Ph.D. in Trumpet Performance at Michigan State University and earned the Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Houston.

Dr. McQueen's teaching career includes teaching and serving as Assistant Band Director at Florida A&M University, under the baton of the legendary Dr. William P. Foster (founder and conductor of the world-famous FAMU Marching 100); graduate teaching assistance at Florida State University and Michigan State University and adjunct instructor of trumpet at Lansing Community College. He studied trumpet with Dr. Lenard C. Bowie at Florida A&M University, Don Hazzard at Florida State University and Byron Autrey at Michigan State University.

Dr. McQueen became a member of the faculty at Prairie View A&M University in 1978 as an Associate Professor of Music, Director of the University Marching Band and the ROTC Band (1978-1984). During his tenure at Prairie View he has had the honor of serving as interim Head of the Department of Music and Drama. Additionally he has taught in the College of Business (1989-1998) and the Division of Social Work, Behavioral and Political Science (1987- 2004).

He now serves as the Director of Bands and Director of the Trumpet Ensemble. His teaching course load includes Applied Trumpet, Instrumental Conducting, Afro American Music and Music Appreciation. The assistant directors of the Marching Storm are Larry Jones and Mark Gordon. Dr. McQueen is focusing on building a motivating force to exemplify a higher level of talent, class and intellect among band students. The Marching Storm will forever thrive and never weaken.

S.C. State's Blackwell’s departure due to health, financial opportunity

Joe Blackwell stopped himself near mid-sentence. “I hate to use my health (as an excuse) because of Urban Meyer,” he said referencing the head football coach of the Florida Gators, who made national headlines recently by announcing he was stepping away due to health problems only to not step away at all. The newly former offensive line coach and offensive coordinator of the South Carolina State Bulldogs was doing his best Wednesday to explain why he is no longer a member of the team’s coaching staff. Health was a key factor in making the decision.

“I’m at the point, I’m 40, and I missed some time last spring with a heart catheterization,” he said. “The spring before that, I missed some time during recruiting with some health issues.” A look at the family tree dictates maybe it is time to take a step back. “My father died of a heart attack when he was 47,” Blackwell said. “My grandfather died when he was 39. We have five generations that haven’t lived past 47.”

Needless to say, Blackwell has a good cardiologist on call. But, the man who called the plays for an offense that ranked first in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in scoring (30.4 ppg) and second total offense (365.8 ypg) a season ago, didn’t step away just because of his health. Blackwell said he is not a “money guy.” But, he stepped away, in part, because of money.

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Plenty of slots to fill at A&M

Today's practice starts process of finding new stars. When Alabama A&M takes the field today, it will begin arguably the most important spring football practice of Anthony Jones' tenure. The Bulldogs, who have thrived during Jones' eight seasons, averaging almost eight wins a year, have some huge holes to fill if they hope to defend their Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division title next season.

Running back Ulysses Banks, receiver Thomas Harris and place-kicker Jeremy Licea - who combined for more than 9,000 all-purpose yards and almost 600 points during their record-setting careers - are all gone along with defensive end Jeremy Maddox, who finished second to Indianapolis Colts star Robert Mathis in career sacks and tackles for loss at A&M. "Our goal is to try to establish some guys that can help us replace some of the guys we lost," Jones said. "We lost a lot on the offensive side of the ball. We lost a lot of points and yards, but we've got to find somebody that's going to believe in themselves and somebody that the team is going to believe in.

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South Carolina State Releases 2010 Football Schedule

ORANGEBURG, SC – South Carolina State, Thursday, announced its 2010 football schedule, which includes five home games for a second straight year, one Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent and two new teams. The two teams on the 2010 slate that were not on last year’s schedule are Mississippi Valley of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and intrastate rival Benedict. SC State will host Mississippi Valley Sept. 11, renewing a rivalry that has been dormant since 1961, and meet Benedict a week later – Sept. 18 – in Columbia. The Tigers return to the schedule after a one-year hiatus.

The Bulldogs, two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, open the 2010 campaign Sept. 4 at Georgia Tech, marking the fourth straight year Coach Buddy Pough’s squad will face an FBS team. In addition to Mississippi Valley State, other home games are Norfolk State (Oct. 9), Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 16), Hampton, the homecoming contest (Oct. 23), and Howard (Nov. 6).

SCSU Bulldogs Coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough opens the 2010 schedule at Georgia Tech, 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions

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2010 SCSU Bulldogs Football Schedule
9/4 at Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA TBD
9/11 Mississippi Valley State Orangeburg, SC TBD
(Hall of Fame)
9/18 at Benedict Columbia, SC TBD
9/25 Open
10/2 at Florida A&M* Tallahassee, FL TBD
10/9 Norfolk State* Orangeburg, SC TBD
(Youth/ROTC Day)
10/16 Bethune-Cookman * Orangeburg, SC TBD
(Community Day)
10/23 Hampton* Orangeburg, SC TBD
(Homecoming)
10/30 at Delaware State* Dover, DE TBD
11/6 Howard* Orangeburg, SC TBD
(Senior Day)
11/13 at Morgan State* Baltimore, MD TBD
11/20 at North Carolina A&T* Greensboro, NC TDB

11/27 NCAA FCS Division I Playoffs
*MEAC Contest

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Former Alcorn State coach Whitney selected for NABC Hall of Fame

For 31 years, Coach Davey Whitney paced the hardwood at Alcorn State and Texas Southern winning with a career record of 550-337. The legendary coach led ASU to the first win by an HBCU in the NCAA Tournament. Whitney also defeated Mississippi State in the 1979 NIT Tournament and won 12 SWAC Championships.

Former Alcorn State coach Whitney selected for NABC Hall of Fame

Davey Whitney transformed Alcorn State University basketball into a consistent winner and charmed contemporaries, sportswriters and just about everyone else along the way. Then again, it might have taken awhile with his players. Whitney, 80, was a demanding coach. He suffered no fools. He had a sense of humor, sure, but only after the work had been done. On Tuesday, Whitney learned he had been elected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Whitney has lived in Biloxi for several years and tends to his ailing wife, Bernice. He also lends a hand as a marshal at Sunkist Country Club, although he insists his handicap is nothing to write home about. On the basketball court, however, the diminutive Whitney always stood tall. "You never really expect anything like that, a call from someone's Hall of Fame," Whitney said. "I never got into the game for that. I got into the game because I wanted to help kids, and I wanted to win." And win he did.
Whitney inducted into college hoops hall of fame

Longtime Alcorn State basketball coach Davey Whitney will be enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Whitney, 80, posted a 550-337 record in 31 years as head coach, including two stops at Alcorn State. He guided the Braves to the 1979 National Invitation Tournament, where his team defeated Mississippi State, and in 1980 he led Alcorn to the NCAA Tournament and a victory over South Alabama to become the first historically black university to win a tournament game. His Alcorn teams won 495 games and 12 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships. The ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 21 in Kansas City, Mo.

Fitting tribute: Alcorn's 'Wiz' worthy of shrine
Excerpt: Modest Rewards

So it was that Whitney's highest-ever salary was $67,000, and that right at the end of his career. For most of his career, he made less than half that and lived in campus housing. He recruited smalltown Mississippi kids who could run and jump - and he taught them to play basketball. He taught them to win. He just won and won and won. His teams won 550 games, while losing only 337. His Alcorn teams won 495 games and 12 SWAC titles. He could, as Jake Gaither, the late Florida A&M football coach famously said, "Take his'n and beat your'n, or take your'n and beat his'n."

His 1978-79 Alcorn State team defeated Mississippi State at Starkville in the NIT and then almost beat Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers in their next game. Knight was so impressed he later appointed Whitney to his U.S. Olympic team staff. Whitney's 1979-80 team became the first historically black college to win an NCAA Tournament game.

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Reprint: From the United States Congressional Record: TRIBUTE TO COACH DAVEY WHITNEY, ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY -- (U.S. Senate - July 19, 1999)
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Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, today I honor a Mississippian who made numerous contributions to Alcorn State University, to countless young student athletes and to the community. Coach Davey L. Whitney, Head Coach of the Men's Basketball team at Alcorn State University, has served as a leader at this educational institution, a professor of championship athletics and a mentor for many of his players.

Nearly 30 years ago, Coach Whitney first arrived on the Lorman, Mississippi, campus. From the beginning, Davey's tenure at Alcorn was destined for greatness. Within ten years, the Alcorn State Men's Basketball team went from little notoriety to groundbreaking achievement. His list of accomplishments is exemplary. His determination is heroic.

He was the first coach to lead an historically black college team to wins in both NCAA and NIT tournaments. His teams also won nine Southwestern Athletic Conference titles. In 1979, Alcorn accomplished something that no previous historically black college had done--winning a National Invitational Tournament game--when they defeated Mississippi State University.

Coach Whitney has been a mentor to many young men. Many of his players have become successful businessmen. Several of his players even had successful professional athletic careers in the National Basketball Association. Larry Smith, who was drafted by the Golden State Warriors, is now an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets. He is reproducing Coach Whitney's approach of discipline coupled with a warm personal devotion for the players.

Coach Whitney's career has not been one without trials. In 1989 he was fired after losing three successive seasons. Still Coach Whitney stayed involved in basketball by coaching in the Continental Basketball Association and the United States Basketball League.

Coach Whitney also remained close to Alcorn State for the next eight years, while the Braves struggled and in 1997 Alcorn asked him to return. After much thought, Coach Whitney returned to the Alcorn State University Family as head coach. Within two years, he took the struggling Braves to the 1999 Southwestern Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship where they not only won, they triumphed. This tournament championship earned the Braves a berth in the NCAA Tournament. This marked the first time since the 1986 season that the Braves have won the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season title. This was also the first time since 1984 that the Braves have won the tournament title and appeared in the NCAA tournament.

Coach Whitney's 442 wins in 28 years--with 10 regular season titles, four consecutive titles between 1978-82, twelve post season tourneys and five NAIA district titles--earned him nine Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors. It is a fitting tribute to Coach Whitney's accomplishments that he coaches in the complex named after him. Various groups have recognized Coach Whitney for his renowned success. USA Today's Reporter Jack Carey wrote, ``At Alcorn State Coach Davey Whitney is proving not only that you can go home again, but you also can be darned successful once you get there.'' Whitney is surely a man worthy of recognition.

Coach Whitney is not only a successful coach but an accomplished family man. He and his wife of more than 40 years have reared a fine family of four daughters and one son, all of whom attended Alcorn State University. He is a member of the National Association of Coaches, the Mississippi Association of Coaches, the National Black Association of Coaches, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., just to name a few.

Mr. President, it is a great honor to pay tribute to Coach Davey L. Whitney for his athletic accomplishments and his dedication to the students of Alcorn State University. His efforts are both uplifting and encouraging. I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing Davey Whitney many more years of success.

S.C. State: 'Marshall Plan' goes into effect with return of McFadden

Sixth year senior line backer McFadden (206 tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, one blocked field goal in his career) re-joins a Bulldog unit which returns intact with David Erby, Julius Wilkerson, La’Taris Douglas and Donovan Richard.

South Carolina State may have the best linebacker corps in the entire Football Championship Subdivision.


Marshall McFadden sent a message following the opening of spring practice Monday night at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium. Sauntering through the locker room, the South Carolina State linebacker sported a sleek, black Jordan T-shirt with “Welcome Back!” inscribed in small, white letters across his chest. For McFadden, who missed the entire 2009 campaign with a torn UCL wrist ligament suffered in an accidental collision during an August preseason practice drill, it was his subtle yet resonating way of re-introducing himself to the team and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

“I got this shirt to let everybody know that I’m back, back in action and I’m ready to prove a point in my leadership,” McFadden said. Aside from the T-shirt, McFadden’s return after receiving clearance for a sixth year of eligibility was treated in a quiet, low-key manner. While the rest of the players participated in practice drills following warm-ups, “The Natural” worked on conditioning and stretching exercises on the sidelines under the watch of new strength and conditioning coach Torre Becton.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bears Avoid Upset, Capture 3rd Consecutive MEAC Regular Season Title

Morgan State University Coach Todd Bozeman has done the impossible--re-making the Bears into a Mid-major powerhouse in a three year span.

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Kevin Thompson had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Ameer Ali added 10 points to help the Bears pull out a come-from-behind 65-61 victory over MD-Eastern Shore on Monday night. Reggie Holmes, one of the leading scorers in the nation, was held well below his average of 22 point per game, however he hit critical free throws in the final seconds to help the Bears clinch their third consecutive regular season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship. The Bears, who improved to 21-9 overall and 12-1 in the conference, got a lot of help down the stretch as the Hawks wasted away opportunities from the free throw line.

With the score knotted 56-56 with 1:27 remaining on the clock, the Hawks went 1-for-5 from the stripe. Meanwhile the Bears went 4-for- 7 from the stripe, including three by Holmes, which turned out to be the difference in the ballgame. Tim Burns finished with a game-high 23 points (7-10 FG) for MD-Eastern Shore (9-19, 7-7 MEAC), which has not beaten Morgan State in four seasons. Kevin White added 16 points with seven assists and Neal Pitt recorded 11 points with 14 points off of the bench for the Hawks. The Hawks led 34-27 at halftime, but they were facing the best team in the league and the second half proved to be the difference.

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Morris: FCS playoffs should be prize for South Carolina State

South Carolina State University highly talented quarterback Malcolm Long may have never played for the Bulldogs, if they were a none FCS Playoff participating program. The 2007 titled, "Mr. South Carolina" star player had may Division IA school choices available when coming out of Gaffney High School (S.C.) three seasons ago.

Worse ideas have come along in college football. It's just difficult to remember one. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is contemplating a requirement that its regular-season champion play against the champion from the Southwestern Athletic Conference for the historically black college national championship. It would be the revival of the Heritage Bowl, which died a slow death in the late 1990s when fans realized the game held little or no significance.

Such a game makes sense for one reason only - money. With a TV deal and a healthy gate at a neutral site, the black national title game could be a financial boom to both leagues. The problem is that by playing in the game, representatives from the MEAC and SWAC would forfeit any chance of playing in the FCS playoffs, which bring with it much national exposure for the participating team and its league. The SWAC already suffers from an inferiority complex and does not participate in the FCS playoffs.

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Andrew Jackson lifts WSSU past A&T

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- President's Day was last week, right? Winston-Salem State's Andrew Jackson apparently felt like celebrating again Monday. Jackson, nicknamed "The Prez" for sharing the name and birthplace of the nation's seventh chief executive, scored 13 points in the final 7:05 to spearhead the Rams' comeback from a 15-point second-half deficit and a 79-74 win over N.C. A&T before 5,038 in the Greensboro Coliseum.

In earning its first sweep over the Aggies since Jimmy Carter was in the White House (1980), WSSU nearly duplicated its effort in the Twin City last month. The Rams wiped out a 14-point disadvantage in that one. Jackson, a junior from Wilmington, conspired with Brian Fisher's 25-point effort as WSSU made its sudden and shocking comeback. Winston-Salem State finished 12-for-20 from downtown. Or, to be more precise, from Kernersville or so it seemed. "This is the battle of I-40, and we're the champions right now," Jackson said.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Rivalry Night: WSSU will take on A&T at the Greensboro Coliseum

Round 2 of one the state's best rivalries will be tonight, when Winston-Salem State and N.C. A&T meet in a basketball doubleheader at the Greensboro Coliseum. The games were moved from A&T's campus arena, the Corbett Center, in order to allow more fans to attend. The women's game will begin at 6, the men's game at 8. "We've got a lot of interest in moving the game because the coliseum can seat around 10,000, and the Corbett Center can seat around 5,000, so this will hopefully give fans a chance to come out," said Wheeler Brown, the athletics director at N.C. A&T.

Last year's game at the Corbett Center was a sellout, and it was estimated that about 500 fans were turned away at the door. "I'm not sure how many people were turned away last year, but I do know we had a ticket lottery for the students and all of that, but this year we don't have to do that," Brown said. The rivalry between the schools goes back a long way, but with WSSU returning to the CIAA next season, there have been questions about whether WSSU and A&T will ever meet in basketball again.

Bill Hayes, the athletics director at WSSU, has been the football coach at both schools, and he knows how important it is that the schools continue to compete against each other. "I'd like to play A&T in football, basketball, marbles, checkers, whatever sport we are playing, we need to play each other," Hayes said.

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Gonzalez, Wright lift Bethune-Cookman over Southern University

Coach Mervyl Melendez and Bethune-Cookman ends MLB Urban League Invitational with only one win--over Southern, dropping games against Cal State Northridge and UCLA.

COMPTON, Calif. -- Ryan Gonzalez pitched six strong innings and Matt Wright homered and had five RBIs to lead Bethune Cookman to a 13-8 victory over Southern University on Sunday at the Major League Baseball Urban Classic. Gonzalez (1-0) gave up three runs on three hits and struck out six for the Wildcats (1-2). Joey Sharkey and Justin Dahl combined to pitch the final three innings to secure the win.

Wright's three-run homer, his second of the weekend, sparked an eight-run fifth inning that propelled B-CU to a 12-1 lead. Justin Hoyte had two hits, including a two-run triple in the Wildcats' four-run third inning. Ryan Durrence had three hits and Emmanuel Castro went deep for the Wildcats. "We needed to win this game after losing the first two," said Gonzalez, a sophomore form Arecibo, Puerto Rico. "My fastball and curveball were working well and I felt like I was attacking the zone. I was motivated today to help my team win."

This weekend marked the third consecutive season that B-CU has opened its campaign at the MLB Urban Classic on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The third annual three-day event, which also featured No. 23 ranked UCLA, Southern University and Cal-State Northridge, helps spotlight Historically Black Colleges and Universities by giving them national exposure.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Legendary Coach from Illinois Blazed a Football Trail

The legendary Fred "Pops" Long overall record in 45 years as a head coach was 227-151-31. He wrote: "Race prejudice exists not only in the heart of the white man, but in the heart of the black man as well. It is due, on either side, to a misunderstanding of the other, and there is only one reasonable and hopeful way to get rid of this, and this is through education."

DECATUR, Ill. -- Millikin University recently uncovered even more reason to be proud of 1918 alumnus Fred Long, the school's first African-American graduate. During Millikin's Black History Month closing ceremonies next week, the Black Student Union will share with the rest of campus the newly found accomplishments of Long's historic life. The discovery started in November, when Millikin's archive and research associate, Todd Rudat, stumbled upon an announcement from the American Football Coaches Association.

Forty-three years after his death, the organization bestowed Long with the 2009 Trailblazers Award, an honor given once a year to the early leaders in football coaching at historically black colleges and universities.

Long's coaching career spanned five decades at four Texas colleges from 1921 until he suffered a heart attack in 1965. A second heart attack took his life in 1966. By then, he had become a national icon in the black community, earning him obituaries in national black publications including the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier.

Long was a highly esteemed football coach who spent most of his career at Wiley College in Marshall, where his team won the Black College Football Championship four times. He also coached at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas College in Tyler and Paul Quinn College in Dallas. "In his contemporary time, people recognized him as a legendary coach," Rudat said.

According to the NCAA, he was a part of the first recorded contest between two college coaches with 200 victories each. His Wiley team defeated a Southern University team coached by Arnett Mumford on Nov. 11, 1961.

"That was sort of a historical moment," Rudat said, pointing to one of many instances when Long set the bar for those who would come after him.

Through his research, Rudat was able to connect Long to those who were legends themselves, like Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson and poet and educator Melvin B. Tolson. Tolson was a professor at Wiley who was portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 2007 film, "The Great Debaters."

Millikin's history always has included Long's coaching career, but as Rudat dug deeper into Long's life, he discovered an entirely different accomplishment that stands on its own.

Long was one of the original members of the Negro National Baseball League in 1920.

Two years after graduating from Millikin, Long played professional baseball for the Detroit Stars during the league's first season. He also spent 1921 and 1926 with the Lions and 1925 with the Indianapolis ABCs. "He's constantly breaking down barriers that he recognizes as a young man, and sets about trying to bring about that change," Rudat said.

While at Millikin, Long played football and baseball and was a shot putter for the track team. According to Long's obituary from the Herald & Review, Millikin's 1916 football team was the first to go undefeated and the first to be called Big Blue, with the help of the 6-foot-2 Long playing center.

In additional to being a star athlete, Long was a commerce and finance student who earned a bachelor's degree after writing a thesis that took a sociological survey of the black population in his hometown, Decatur.

In his paper, he linked the idea of racial prejudice to a person's level of education. He wrote: "Race prejudice exists not only in the heart of the white man, but in the heart of the black man as well. It is due, on either side, to a misunderstanding of the other, and there is only one reasonable and hopeful way to get rid of this, and this is through education."

Millikin's effect on Long's development as a leader in the fight for equality was apparent in his life after college.

Long's first experience in the South came once he joined the Army after graduation. While stationed at Camp Greenleaf in Chickamaugua Park, Ga., he wrote to his brother Harry, who still was a Millikin student. He explained how he almost stopped to join in with a group of white men playing football but stopped when he realized he wouldn't be welcomed to join the game.

He asked his brother to give his regards to their white teammates still at Millikin who, he said, "made me feel as though I was a real man, and I'll remember that part they all played in my life."

Students accepted into Millikin's Long-Vanderberg scholar program, named after the school's first male and female African-American graduates, get a copy of that letter as part of their orientation each year.

"Millikin was progressive in many ways," said Latrina Denson, director of the Center for Multicultural Student Affairs. "And he saw that.

"Though I'm sure there was racism (at Millikin), I'm sure there were people here who were true supporters of Fred Long."

Jasmin Benavides, a sophomore and president of Millikin's Black Student Union, has learned a lot about Long while preparing for the closing ceremonies of Black History Month. "I appreciate everything that he's done before, during and after his time at Millikin," she said. "He just leaves a legacy at Millikin for us to follow."

Current Long-Vanderberg scholars have been recruited to help look through microfilm from articles about Long so the university can build a more complete history of his life.

"It's important to me to feel that even back then, Millikin had this family and welcoming atmosphere," Benavides said. "Even he could feel welcome at a university that was predominantly white."

- (Decatur) Herald & Review
LINK:http://www.herald-review.com


Fred "Pops" Long, Coaching Bio:

Long began his coaching career in 1921 at Paul Quinn (Texas) College. After recording just one victory in his inaugural campaign, Long guided Paul Quinn to a Southwestern Athletics Conference (SWAC) title in 1922. He was then hired away from Paul Quinn to take over the head coaching duties at Wiley College in 1923, which began his first of two stints as head coach at the Marshall, Texas, school. Long guided the Wildcats to nine SWAC titles from 1923-47, including four in a row from 1927 to 1930. He also led Wiley to four Black College National Championships in 1924, 1928, 1932 and 1945.

Long moved on to Prairie View A&M University in 1948 for one season, then spent the next seven years as head coach at Texas College (1949-55). He returned to Wiley College in 1956 and remained head coach until his retirement in 1965. He guided the Wildcats to another SWAC title in 1957, going 6-0 in league play. His overall record in 45 years as a head coach was 227-151-31. Long’s teams also played in three post-season bowl games, the Angel Bowl, the International Bowl and the Orange Blossom Classic, and 27 of his players were selected First Team All-America. He also coached basketball, baseball, track, tennis and golf at Wiley and won conference crowns in each sport.

In 1925, Long helped inaugurate the "State Fair Classic" matching his Wiley Wildcat team against Langston University each year until 1929 when Langston was replaced by Prairie View. The game was always on Negro Day of the state fair and soon was drawing in excess of 20,000 fans to the Cotton Bowl (stadium). During that same period he also served as Athletic Director for the colleges he worked for and often coached every sport those schools offered including track, baseball, basketball, tennis, and golf. He was elected to the presidency of the Southwestern Athletic Conference on three occasions.

On November 11, 1961, Long, with 215 coaching victories at the time, coached Wiley College against Southern University, coached by
Ace Mumford who had 232 coaching victories, in the first known college football match-up in which both coaches had over 200 victories. Long's Wiley team won, 21-19. During his long tenure at Wiley College, Long also served as Athletic Director and the Fred Thomas Long Student Union building there is named in his honor.

In addition to receiving the 2009 Trailblazer award, Long has been inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame (1962), the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in Dallas (1996), and the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame (2001). The Trailblazer Award was presented posthumously to Long at the AFCA Kickoff Luncheon on January 11, at the 2010 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) convention in Orlando, Florida. Long passed away in 1966.

The AFCA Trailblazer Award was created to honor early leaders in the football coaching profession who coached at historically black colleges and universities. Past Trailblazer Award winners include
Charles Williams of Hampton (2004), Cleve Abbott of Tuskegee (2005), Arnett Mumford of Southern (2006), Billy Nicks of Prairie View A&M University (2007) and Alonzo “Jake” Gaither of Florida A&M University (2008). The award is given each year to a person that coached in a particular decade ranging from 1920-1970.

In an article appearing in T
he Marshall News Messenger on November 30, 2001, about Long’s induction into the SWAC Hall of Fame, the late, great Eddie Robinson was quoted as saying, “Coach Long did some great things. Long is a legend in this sport and it is imperative that he and the other nominees are enshrined for their outstanding contributions to their schools and to the community that they represent.”

From: AFCA.com and other sources

Grambling State Baseball to Start Cooper Era

James Cooper is about to begin his first season as a Division I baseball coach, but he'll have plenty of experience within the Grambling Tigers to draw from. The Tigers return nine of the 12 players who started at least 20 games last season. Despite a 17-37 record last season, Grambling did come within one win of playing for the SWAC Tournament title. Cooper, a native of Cullen (La.) and Grambling graduate, replaced former coach Barret Rey. Although he'll have plenty of help in the lineup, including 2009 leading hitter Steve Kletke, Cooper will look for some new help on the mound as the season begins at Stephen F. Austin on Friday.

Coach Cooper started season at 0-2, dropping games on the road at Stephen F. Austin, 4-0 and 9-4. The Tigers play this afternoon to end the series.

Gone are starting pitchers Baron Hinton and Manny Kumar, who combined for eight of the Tigers' 17 victories last season and finished 1-2 in innings pitched. Hinton led the team (players who pitched more than 10 innings) with a 4.59 ERA. The Tigers lose 30 starts from five departing pitchers, but retain Adrian Turner. The Kenosha, Wis., product tied for the team lead with seven starts as a sophomore in 2009.

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