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.


Blair's Buzzer Beater Gives S.C. State Lady Bulldogs 60-58 Win Over Charleston Southern

CHARLESTON, South Carolina  – South Carolina State's Bryeasha Blair connected on a short bank shot at the buzzer to lift the Lady Bulldogs to a 60-58 nonconference win over Charleston Southern Monday afternoon.

Junior Dashanique Peterson, in her first start of the season, had 17 points and tied two other teammates for rebounding honors with eight boards in the win. With time running out, the 6-3 Kingstree native grabbed a missed by teammate Kerry Watson and got the ball to Blair for the winning basket as time expired. It was the fifth offensive rebound of the game for Peterson.

New comers Kyesha Lewis – who also got her first start of the season -- and Kemoni Jenkins, both juniors, had 15 points each and eight rebounds apiece for Coach Doug Robertson's team, which improved to 3-4 on the season. Blair, who was in foul trouble most of the game, finished with just six points, including the winning basket.

The host Buccaneers, who dipped to 2-5 with the loss, were paced by Njeri Nelms and Shelby Wilbanks with 20 points each. Wilbanks, who was 10-10 from the free throw line, tied the game 58-58 on a layup with 9.7 seconds left.

After a Lady Bulldog timeout, Watson took the end bounds pass, drove to the basket and put up a shot that was off the mark, and in a fight for the loose ball, Peterson grabbed it and got it to Blair while going out of bounds.

Blair got off the winning shot, however, Robertson and his team had to survive a review of the shot by the officials before coming away with the win.

"It's a good win for our team," Robertson noted. "We had to battle hard all game and were able to come away victorious at the end. I applaud my players for fighting hard all game. We got big games from two players who were starting for the first time, Peterson and Lewis."

Charleston Sothern got off to a 7-3 start and led 16-9 after one. The Lady Bulldogs started the second half with a 12-4 run to grab their first lead, 21-20, on a put back by Peterson with 4:07 left in the half but the host led 29-27 at the break.

The Buccaneers outscored SC State 19-16 in the third period for a 48-43 lead after three quarters, but a 15-6 spree to begin the final stanza staked the Lady Bulldogs to a 58-54 when Lewis canned a 3-pointer and was fouled, however, she missed the opportunity from the line, leaving the SC State lead at four.

Wilbanks got two free throws 2:32 to play and the tying field goal with 9.7 seconds left to tie the game at 58-all before Blair's buzz beater that gave the Lady Bulldogs their third win, all coming on the road.

SC State committed 23 turnovers to 18 for the Buccaneers, but enjoyed a 48-42 advantage on the boards. The Lady Bulldogs made 37.5 percent (24-64) of their shots from the field to 30.8 (20-65) for Charleston Southern which had a 14-21 to 9-15 edge at the charity stripe.

SC State returns to action Saturday when it hosts Western Carolina in the first game of a doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m.



S.C. State extending Pough contract by a year

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- South Carolina State University is extending head football coach Buddy Pough’s contract by one year, Athletic Director Stacy Danley announced Monday.

The future of Pough at the helm of Bulldog football was called into question after his team went a 3-7 in 2017, the coach’s worst season in 16 years at S.C. State. Danley said in October that a program evaluation was underway and a decision would be made after all games were complete.

“I believe this decision is best for the overall athletics program as we begin to focus on transitioning and move into rebuilding mode,” Danley said via press release from S.C. State Athletic Media Relations. “The nucleus of that rebuilding is our football program.

“Coach Pough holds the record as the second-winningest coach in school history. His winning tradition, extensive relationships throughout the state as well as his familiarity of the program and the MEAC conference all played a role in helping form the decision.”

Pough has agreed to continue as head coach and be part of the rebuilding process, Danley said.


Willie Simmons accepts offer to be FAMU's next head football coach

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Three weeks following the resignation of Alex Wood, Florida A&M on Monday officially named its new football coach.

Willie Simmons is set to take over for the Rattlers after he resigned from Prairie View A&M (Texas) on Saturday. Simmons takes over a program that in recent seasons has fallen on hard times.

The Rattlers haven't had a winning season since 2011 and were 3-8 last season. FAMU hasn't won more than four games since 2011.

Simmons arrived in Tallahassee over the weekend and was officially named head coach of the football team Monday morning. He'll be introduced at 11 a.m. on Tuesday during a press conference at the Lawson Center.

He met with the team’s existing staff of coaches Monday afternoon. Interim head coach Edwin Pata said the meetings were upbeat – he met with Simmons one-on-one after the staff meeting.


Two assistant coaches are leaving the JSU football staff

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Changes to the Jackson State football staff are on the way.

Co-offensive coordinator and lead recruiter Chad Germany confirmed to the Clarion Ledger Monday morning that he has moved on from JSU, and sources close to the situation say that tight ends coach Ricardo Grant is also leaving the program.

It is unclear whether the two coaches have left JSU for another job or whether they were relieved of their duties.

JSU head coach Tony Hughes declined to comment on the departures, including whether or not the search is currently underway to replace them.

Germany responded to a request for comment via text Monday. He said removing himself from the equation at Jackson State was the right thing to do.

"Coach Hughes is a great man with a great vision for JSU football," he said. "And in no way will I allow myself to hinder the progress of the program. Change is good."


Wheeler Brown out as JSU athletic director

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Wheeler Brown is out as Jackson State's director of athletics.

The university informed Brown of its decision to relieve him of his duties Friday afternoon, according to a source with direct knowledge of the events.

Brown was announced as director of athletics exactly two years ago and had one year remaining on a three-year contract.

He inherited a tumultuous situation after the departure of former athletic director Vivian Fuller and had a similarly tumultuous tenure in his two years on the job.

The department was forced to shutter both its women's and men's golf programs, and the jury is still out on Brown's sole major hire — Tiger football coach Tony Hughes. Hughes was considered a major coup for JSU upon his arrival, considering his wealth of ONTINUE READINGcollege coaching experience (albeit as an assistant), but is 6-16 in two seasons.

According to multiple sources, Brown was offered an alternative job inside the athletic department that would have paid him less money and made him an at-will employee instead of him having a contract. He declined.


Bowl week for North Carolina A&T football: Three things to know

GREENSBORO, North Carolina — At last, it’s game week again for N.C. A&T.

The MEAC football champion Aggies (11-0) have started final preparations for their game against SWAC champ Grambling (11-1) at the Celebration Bowl at noon Saturday in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

A&T hasn’t played since closing an unbeaten regular season at home against N.C. Central on Nov. 18. That’s four weeks between games.

“It gave us an opportunity,” A&T coach Rod Broadway said last week, “to get guys healthy and rest up and focus on academics for a while. We had nine games in a row before we had an open date. So we needed a break, if only to get some guys back.”

Grambling, on the other hand, qualified for a second consecutive Celebration Bowl berth by beating Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship game. The Tigers have two weeks between games.

“I would rather have maybe a week in between, like we have,” Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said. “Because we're coaching 18- to 23-year-olds, and it is very difficult to keep them focused. It’s a fight to keep them focused on what really matters and what’s important.”


GSU QB DeVante Kincade's legs adds another dangerous element inside red zone

GRAMBLING, Louisiana – Under Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State redesigned a name for itself on offense as “home run hitters.”

Especially in 2017, his team’s lineup all possesses the ability to score from anywhere on the field, and arguably redshirt senior quarterback DeVante Kincade hits in the cleanup spot. In two seasons as the G-Men’s trigger man, he’s piled up more than 6,000 yards of total yards and accounted for 62 total touchdowns.

The ability has always been there, but late this season, Kincade and the offensive coaching staff has re-established the 6-foot-1, 190-pound quarterback’s knack for creating plays with his feet inside or around the red zone.

Three weeks ago against Grambling’s biggest rival Southern in the Bayou Classic, Kincade jumpstarted the Tigers with a 9-yard touchdown through an empty middle of the field to give his team the early advantage. In the SWAC Championship Game versus Alcorn State a week later, the Dallas native rushed for two touchdowns, scoring the first touchdown of the game again but the second one making the highlight reel and showing off his athleticism with a spin move before sprinting to the pylon on the 27-yard score, putting GSU ahead, 31-10 in the second quarter.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Virginia State's Cannon named Lanier Award winner

ETTRICK, Virginia -- Virginia State senior tailback Trenton Cannon was honored with the Lanier Award, given to the top Division II/III or NAIA player in the state, after leading the Trojans (10-1) to a CIAA championship and playoff appearance.

Following Meadowbrook graduate Bryant Frazier, Cannon is the second consecutive Trojan to win the Lanier Award. The award is named after Willie Lanier, who played for Maggie Walker High School, Morgan State University and the Kansas City Chiefs and who also was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Cannon helped do the same at Virginia State on his way to the Lanier Award. He produced 245 all-purpose yards per game in carrying the Trojans to their first 10-0 start in school history.

Averaging 7.7 yards per carry, Cannon compiled 1,638 yards on the ground to lead the CIAA and scored 22 total touchdowns. He became Virginia State’s all-time leading rusher this season with 4,030 career yards.


Coach James Hill Jr. Wins 200th Career Game

MANSFIELD, Pennsylvania (12/6/17) –  On the surface, Virginia State defeated the Mountaineers of Mansfield University 52-51 tonight at Marion Decker Gymnasium. However, the victory had much more meaning than usual. When the final horn sounded, James Hill Jr. found himself the winner of his 200th career game.

Coach Hill has been at the helm of the VSU women's basketball program for the past eleven seasons. Hill currently holds a 200-125 overall coaching record. Before taking over the program at VSU, Hill served as assistant women's basketball coach at Shaw University from 2003-2006.

James Hill Jr., has elevated the women's basketball program since arriving on campus at Virginia State University in 2006. He has secured five 20 plus winning seasons since arriving at VSU, the most in VSU women's basketball school history. In 2013-14, Hill was recognized for a year of excellence where the women's basketball program held the best start to the season (11-0 record) in school history, longest winning streak (15 games), best record since 1988 (24-1), highest National Collegiate Athletic Association Ranking in School History (#10), ranked first in Historically Black Colleg53e and University out of all the NCAA Divisions, made an NCAA appearance and had the best basketball overall record (25-3) in VSU's men's and women's basketball history. Coach Hill was named the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Associations (CIAA) Coach of the Year three times and HBCU Mid-Major Coach of the Year twice.

Under Hill's leadership, the 2013-14 team were CIAA Northern Division Champions, three of his players were selected to the First Team All-Conference, and the Trojans were ranked no.1 in defense and 5th in the regional ranking. Coach Hill also received the Big House Gaines Award during the 2014-15 season. In 2015, Trojan women's basketball team claimed the CIAA Championship Title, while most recently Hill was named Coach of the Year by SportsTalk 1450 WCLM for the 2016-2017 season. Hill ensures that the team is well rounded in academic success and community outreach.

Under the leadership of James Hill Jr., The VSU Trojans finished its 2017 season with an impressive 22-8 overall record. The CIAA Co-Northern Division Champs finished the final game of the regular season (19-7, 11-5 CIAA) with a 69-50 victory over the Lady Lions of Lincoln University on the road. The Virginia State University women's basketball team secured its twentieth win of the season with an impressive 73-40 win over St. Augustine's University in the first round of the 2017 CIAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Bojangles Coliseum on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. In addition to a very impressive season the Virginia State University women's basketball team secured the 10th spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Atlantic regional rankings.

Virginia State University Head Women's Basketball Coach was inducted into the Shaw University's Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 2, 2017. Coach Hill continues to add on to his long list of accomplishment with the start of the 2017-18 season as the Trojans remains undefeated!

Congratulations to Coach Hill on his monumental win!


History repeats itself as Delaware downs Delaware State in women's basketball

NEWARK, Delaware -- Meeting for the first time in 10 years, Delaware and Delaware State followed a familiar pattern, despite the long layover, in their women’s basketball encounter Sunday.

Delaware was dominant, putting together a 17-point first-quarter run that removed any mystery en route to an 84-49 victory in front of 1,311 at the Carpenter Center.

“That’s a good in-state win,” said first-year Delaware coach Natasha Adair.

Delaware has won all 10 meetings between the state’s lone Division I programs, and Sunday was the 25th anniversary of their first get-together on Dec. 10, 1992, in Dover.

Sophomore Samone DeFreese scored a game-high 19 points for Delaware. Nicole Enabosi’s 17 points and 11 rebounds comprised the junior’s eighth double-double this year and 29th of her career.

The Blue Hens (6-4) have won four of their last five and feel like they’ve found a groove.


Texas Southern Lady Tigers turn away Northwestern State Demons for third straight win

ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana – The Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University jumped out to an insurmountable lead in the first quarter Saturday and never looked back as claimed a 56-43 win over Northwestern State.

Joyce Kennerson maintained her place as the nation's second-leading scorer after pouring in a game-high 28 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The junior from Port Arthur drained four out of her five 3-point tries and handed out a career-best eight steals.

Kaitlyn Palmer and Catherine Okwilagwe scored 10 points apiece for the Lady Tigers (4-4), who won their third straight game, and second over a Southland Conference opponent in as many contests. Okwilagwe's 10 points marked a career high, while Palmer matched a career high with three blocked shots.

Cheyenne Brown scored 15 points to lead Northwestern State (4-4).

The Lady Tigers return to action Sunday, Dec. 17, when they host Paul Quinn College at TSU's H&PE Arena. Tipoff has moved from its original start time to 7 p.m. to accommodate a Houston Cougars men's basketball game earlier that afternoon.

The Lady Tigers needed only one quarter to seize control of the game as they outscored Northwestern State 26-9 over the first 10 minutes. Palmer's 3-pointer with 8:43 remaining in the period broke a 2-2 tie and gave TSU a lead it would not relinquish for the duration of the game.

A 13-2 TSU run between the 7:14 and 2:10 marks of the opening period gave the Lady Tigers a commanding 21-6 lead. After NSU's Jocelyn Scott knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining to cut the deficit to 21-9, the Lady Tigers finished by scoring the final five points of the first quarter.

The Lady Demons simply had no answer for Kennerson and Palmer in the first 10 minutes, as each player scored 10 points while shooting perfect from the field. Palmer was 4-of-4 from the field, while Kennerson shot 3-of-3; both players made both of their first-quarter 3-point tries.

A defensive struggle ensued in the second period as each team managed only four points apiece while combining to shoot 3-of-27 from the field. The second period was scoreless for more than four minutes until Kennerson's layup with 5:42 remaining gave the Lady Tigers their largest lead of the game at 28-9.

Northwestern State would close the gap to 10 points in the third quarter, only to see TSU pull away. A 6-0 run in the fourth quarter pulled the Lady Demons to within eight with 5:43 left in the final period, only to see the Lady Tigers again respond with four consecutive points of their own.

• The Lady Tigers won their sixth consecutive neutral-court game dating back to the 2016 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament.
• Isis Lane pulled in a career-high 15 rebounds for the Lady Tigers, while guard Camille Mills hauled in 10 rebounds.
• The Lady Tigers shot 10-of-12 (83 percent) from the floor in the first period, and 10-of-39 (26 percent) for the remainder of the game.
• The win was the TSU's first-ever triumph over Northwestern State, which had won the three previous meetings between the two teams.
• The matchup marked the first time the Lady Tigers had faced Northwestern State since the 1986-87 season. The Lady Demons also swept a home-and-home series from TSU during the 1983-84 season.
• Kennerson pushed her career point total to 1,073 points. She is only 71 points away from tying Darlene Hale (1978-82) for seventh place on the TSU's all-time scoring list.
• The game was played at Alexandria's Rapides Parish Coliseum, approximately 50 miles from the Northwestern State campus, as part of the men's and women's basketball teams' CenLa Showdown. The NSU men hosted nearby Division III opponent Louisiana College.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

ASU Hornets got 'that guy' they wanted in Hill-Eley

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The day before Alabama State officially removed his interim tag Thursday, Donald Hill-Eley found out just how much the Hornets wanted him to stay.

“I learned that the players had got together and did a petition on my behalf, and I didn’t know about it,” Hill-Eley said.

The Hornets have the guy who brought them together after an 0-5 start and the firing of Brian Jenkins.

“He’s got everything a head coach should have,” said ASU senior left guard Edward Sanders, who is graduating Friday with a degree in criminal justice. “He’s that guy.”

Alabama State has the guy who went 5-1 as an interim with the loss coming to repeat SWAC champion Grambling. Now ASU believes it has a coach who can lead it to a conference championship sooner than later.

“It just warms your heart when you right by people and people stand up to do right by you,” Hill-Eley continued. “Those guys, I love each one of them and they love me and through that, we’ll work and do everything we can to lead this place to victories."


HBCU Football Head Coach and Conference Changes

December 9, 2017

COLLEGE                        NEW COACH          FORMER COACH
Alabama State                   Donald Hill-Eley        Brian Jenkins
Alabama A&M                                                      James Spady
Arkansas - Pine Bluff                                            Monte Coleman
Florida A&M                      Willie Simmons*         Alex Wood
Delaware State                                                       Kenny Carter                   
Hampton                             Robert Prunty            Connell Maynor
Mississippi Valley State                                        Rick Comegy
North Carolina Central      Granville Eastman$   Jerry Mack
Prairie View A&M             Bubba McDowell**     Willie Simmons 
Lincoln (Pa.)                                                          Reginald Byarse Jr. 
Edward Waters                                                      Alvin Wyatt
Virginia Union                                                       Mark James                                                                 
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC)


COLLEGES                NEW CONFERENCE         OLD CONF.

Hampton                       Big South                                 MEAC
Savannah State             SIAC                                        MEAC
Langston                        SAC                                         RRAC
Texas College                SAC                                         RRAC

*Awaiting official announcement by FAMU Administration
$ Interim for 2018

Howard defeats St. Francis-Brooklyn in overtime, 72-69

WASHINGTON, D.C.  –  Coach Ty Grace and the Howard University Women's Basketball team earned its third straight win with a 72-69 overtime victory over St. Francis-Brooklyn (SFC) inside Burr Gymnasium.

Four Bison reached double-figures, led by sophomore Ayonna Williams. The D.C. native had a game-high 19 points, five boards, and two dimes in the win.

SFC's Alex Delaney connected on two freebies and gave the Terriers a slim advantage with 3:43 remaining in the third, 47-46. HU responded and closed the period an 11-3 run to take a seven-point lead into the fourth, 57-50.

St. Francis opened the fourth with a 7-0 spurt and tied the contest after layup from Abby Anderson, 57-57. Howard regained the upper hand and held a five-point advantage with less than 90 ticks remaining. SFC battled back as Dana Direnzo scored the final five points of the period, including the layup that sent the game into overtime, 63-63.

Sophomore Jayla Myles tied the contest with a layup at the 2:13 mark in OT. Then, spilt a pair of free throws and gave the Bison its first lead in the fifth period. From then on, HU never relinquished the lead.

Myles, senior Tajzhane Dopson, and freshman Tariah Johnson each had 10 points. Sophomore Imani Bryant racked up 10 rebounds, five points, and three rejections in the victory.

St. Francis took a double-digit lead after one, 25-15. After shooting 50-percent (10-of-20) in the first period, SFC could not duplicate in the second period as they shot under 40-percent (3-of-8); thus, the Bison capitalized and scored 14 unanswered to take the lead with more than five minutes before intermission, 29-25.

SFC went 7-of-8 at the foul line and kept themselves in the game. HU took the lead late in the second, but a layup from Delaney tied the contest at intermission, 38-38.

For SFC (3-6), Jade Johnson recorded a team-best 14 points while Delaney and Direnzo combined for 23 points in a losing effort.

HU begins a three-game road trip at Cincinnati (Dec. 14). Game-time is set for 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Bison Athletics website at



Delaware State Rise to #6, Maryland Eastern Shore #8 in National Bowling Poll

BROOKLYN, New York -- University of Nebraska receives 36 first place votes to climb back to the top of the National Tenpin Coaches Association December Poll. The Cornhuskers started the season 33 and 5, with two first place finishes in three tournament appearances. McKendree University also received a first place vote and is No.2 to wrap up the Fall semester.

Arkansas State University, Vanderbilt University, and Sam Houston State University keep the same ranking from the 2017-2018 NTCA Preseason Poll. Arkansas State won the 2017 Warhawk Classic for the second straight season. Vanderbilt University finished third at the 2017 Warhawk Classic and finished with a top four appearance at the 2017 Hawk Classic Invitational. Sam Houston State University was victorious at the same 2017 Hawk Classic Invitational.

Delaware State University breaks into the top 10, holding strong at No. 6. The Hornets are leading the Northern Division of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore round out the top 8.

Other top 10 teams include, Tulane University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tulane University makes the biggest jump from the last poll, going from 17th to 10th to complete the top ten of the 2017-2018 NTCA December Poll.

NCAA bowling competes as a National Collegiate sport, in which all three divisions compete for one National Championship. This year’s National Championship will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. It will be the first year that automatic qualifiers will take place in the sport of bowling; the six established conference winners will be added to the four schools selected at-large, who will compete for eight spots at the championship.

The National Tenpin Coaches Association 2017-2018 December Poll

UAPB releases names of football coach applicants

PINE BLUFF, Arkansas -- Following a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Commercial last week, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has released the names of 37 applicants who have applied to be the next head football coach for the Golden Lions.

A search committee has been in place to help aid the university in making the hire.

Shortly after former head coach Monte Coleman was fired last month, UAPB Athletic Director Lonza Hardy Jr. ensured that the goal is to name a coach before the Christmas break on Dec. 14.

“An ideal situation is that we can name a new coach before we depart for the Christmas holidays,” Hardy said in a previous interview. “We would like to have someone in place by then. We will proceed quickly, but at the same time we’ll make sure we handle things correctly.”

Hardy has not returned recent calls by the Commercial on the issue.


Still Undefeated: Georgetown Rides A Hot Start To Victory Over North Carolina A&T

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Georgetown men’s basketball team (8-0, Big East) remains undefeated after beating North Carolina A&T (5-4, MEAC) by a score of 83-74. Junior center Jessie Govan led the Hoyas with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while freshman guard Jamorko Pickett and junior guard/forward Kaleb Johnson also scored in double digits. Aggies junior guard Milik Gantz led NC A&T with 21 points.

The Hoyas came blazing out of the gates and took a quick 10-0 lead before the under-16 media timeout. However, the scoring slowed from there, as Georgetown only provided four more points in the next four minutes despite stifling the Aggies offense with their length and physicality.

“We’ve been doing a good job of going out to leads, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re up,’” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said. “We’re letting teams back in, and that’s something that we can’t do, especially when we start playing much better teams.”

Gantz scored the first Aggies points from the free throw line after more than eight minutes of play, and, from there, NC A&T was able to keep up with Georgetown’s offense. The Aggies scored 10 points in the next four minutes while Govan made use of his size advantage down low, approaching yet another double-double by the under-8 timeout in the first half.

Aggies junior guard Aaren Edmead hit the first three-pointer of the game for either team to cut the Georgetown lead to 10 with 7:26 remaining in the half. The Hoyas owed much of their early defensive success to junior forward Marcus Derrickson, who had two first-half blocks and took two charges.


The Mike Prince Radio Show: Coach Willie Simmons

Looking for immediate help, JSU set to host 'Juco Weekend' for recruits

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Tony Hughes wants to build a developmental program. A program based on recruiting good high school players who project as eventual starters at the FCS level.

His first two classes have been a step towards rebuilding the roster from the ground up. Jackson State has 41 freshmen and sophomores that will be sophomores and juniors next year.

But circumstances being what they are — JSU currently has just 10 rising seniors with major playing experience coming back — the Tigers are going to need to land some immediate help this recruiting cycle.

That's why this weekend, Hughes and his staff are hoping to land a few high-profile junior college transfers by hosting as many as a dozen prospects on campus for a "juco recruiting weekend."

"If we started tomorrow we would have 10 seniors and 16 juniors," Hughes said. "That gives us roughly 25 players in our junior and senior class, and that means we'd be playing in excess of 50 freshmen and sophomores. We need some older kids to balance our team and our program."


Official Statement On Prairie View A&M Football

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- After three seasons as head coach, Willie Simmons has left the Prairie View A&M University football program.
"We want to thank Coach Simmons and his family for their contributions to Prairie View A&M University," said Vice President/Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson. "He led Panther football through an exciting period with the opening of our new football stadium and helped Prairie View A&M to again become a contender in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. We wish him success in his future endeavors."
Assistant head coach Bubba McDowell has been named Interim Head Coach. He and quarterbacks coach K.J. Black will lead the program during this transition.
Dr. Corey Bradford, Senior Vice President of Fiscal Affairs, will chair the committee and the national search for the next football coach at Prairie View A&M University.



Ram Ramblings: Buck Joyner's funeral will be Friday in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Ed “Buck” Joyner’s funeral will be held Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the United Metropolitan Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Joyner, a former CIAA head coach at St. Paul’s and Livingstone, died on Dec. 6 at the age of 68.

Joyner, a Winston-Salem native, was a Parkland High School graduate who spent more than 45 years coaching basketball. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Johnson C. Smith with his brother, Steve, who is the longtime coach of the Golden Bulls.


Hampton University Introduces Prunty as New Football Coach

HAMPTON, Virginia — Robert Prunty was introduced as the 21st head coach of the Hampton Pirates at a news conference Dec. 8 at Hampton University’s Student Center Theater.

“I am up for the challenge,” Prunty said.

Eugene Marshall Jr., Director of Athletics at Hampton University, welcomed Prunty, a Hamptonian with more than 30 years of football experience as a player and coach and a four-time conference recruiter-of-the-year honoree with two different Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs.

“Coach Prunty’s record speaks for itself,” Marshall said. “He’s from Virginia. He played for Hampton. It was very refreshing to hear him say ‘I want to come back to Hampton.’”

Prunty served last season as East Carolina University’s associate head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Prior to that, he served four years as the University of Cincinnati’s associate head coach and defensive ends coach and three years as co-defensive coordinator. Before impacting the Bearcat program, Prunty spent three seasons under Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, 2010-2012, directing the Red Raiders’ defensive ends.

“You have no idea how great it is to be back at Hampton,” Prunty said. “This is not my team. It belongs to the university, the alumni, the fans and I want to make that clear.”

Prunty is up to the challenge of taking a winning Pirate team into the bigger spotlight of the Big South Conference, which Hampton University joins next July.

“We will be fundamental and disciplined,” he said. “I didn’t come to Hampton to lose!”

Prunty has been part of five bowl appearances, a conference co-championship and has been recognized by as the Big 12 Conference Recruiter-of-the-Year in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before earning similar honors as the American Athletic Conference’s (AAC) top recruiter in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

His player evaluation and relationship cultivation skills produced Texas Tech’s second-highest rated class in school history in 2012 and his efforts were saluted by both and Fox Sports. Prunty plans on putting that skill to work on tapping the Hampton Roads rich high school talent pool for the Pirates.

“The 757 area: it will be our bloodline,” Prunty said. “Every coach on my team will be looking for 757 talent.”

Prunty is a Chatham, Va., native and a 1983 Hargrave Military Academy graduate. Prunty split his collegiate career between Hampton University and Alabama A&M, where he graduated in 1988.

For more information on Hampton University football, contact the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5757, or visit the official Pirates website at


Savannah State moves to Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- Savannah State University (SSU) President Cheryl Davenport Dozier today announced intentions to pursue membership in the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), pending NCAA approval. SSU’s application to begin the official transition to NCAA Division II will be submitted by February 1, 2018.

SSU competed in the SIAC from 1968 until 2000 when the university was approved for Division I membership as an independent. Savannah State was accepted into the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) as a provisional member in 2010 and attained full membership a year later.

“With the input of the athletics transition taskforce and the athletics department, it was determined that the SIAC was the best fit for SSU and its students,” said Dozier. “I look forward to renewing old SIAC rivalries and establishing new ones that will engage SSU Tiger fans.”

SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore stated: “Welcoming Savannah State University to the SIAC not only adds a 15th outstanding institution, but also restores important historic and geographic rivalries, which I’m certain SIAC alumni, students and fans will enjoy.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Savannah State University back to the SIAC,” stated Council of Presidents Chairman and Miles College President George T. French Jr. “The historical ties shared by Savannah State and the SIAC, coupled with a shared commitment to academic and athletic excellence, makes them a perfect fit for our great conference.”

Savannah State will become the 15th member of the SIAC, joining other Georgia colleges and universities including Albany State, Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Morehouse and Paine, in conjunction with its other member institutions: Benedict, Central State, Claflin, Kentucky State, Lane, LeMoyne-Owen, Miles, Spring Hill, and Tuskegee.

Earlier this year, SSU announced its intent to leave MEAC at the end of the 2018-19 academic school year and to return to NCAA Division II Athletics. Following the announcement, an athletics transition taskforce was established to explore Division II conference options.

The SIAC, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., was established in 1913 and is the largest HBCU Conference in the United States. In addition to football, the SIAC sponsors baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's golf, women's golf, softball, women's track & field, men's track & field, men's tennis, women's tennis and women's volleyball.

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The university's 4,900 students select majors from 30 undergraduate and six graduate programs in three colleges ‐ Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Sciences and Technology ‐ and the School of Teacher Education.


Cheyney University finally fumbles its football program

THORNBURY, Pennsylvania -- It’s been the subject of speculation and rumor for years, but it’s now official: Cheyney University is dropping football due to worsening financial constraints.

Head coach Chris Roulhac confirmed that Wednesday evening after meeting with Cheyney President Aaron Walton, the coaching staff and players.

“We were invited to a meeting with the president on Wednesday and told that due to budgetary restraints, the football program was being discontinued,” said Roulhac, who returned for his second stint as head coach at CU in 2015. “It’s been a very sad last 24 hours, but there is really nothing we can do about it. You hear rumors, but we always held out hope that the program could be saved.”

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference sent out a release Thursday about the move. Calls to the Walton’s office and Cheyney’s interim Athletic Director Sue Kilian were not returned. Nothing about the move was mentioned on the school’s main website or athletic website as of Thursday evening.



LOCK HAVEN, Pennsylvania --- The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is aware of Cheyney University’s announcement of dropping football from its sports sponsorship menu.

We have been in contact with Cheyney University President Aaron Walton as he and his staff deliberated potential actions. The communications between the Conference and President Walton have been objective and forthright on both sides.

These are very difficult times financially for many institutions of higher education in the country and the Commonwealth. Cheyney’s decision is a result of that.

The Conference Office will work with its member institutions to find potential opponents in the 10 now open dates in mandated league schedules.

SWAC issues go beyond figuring out football future

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Last week’s SWAC championship game was supposed to be the conference’s last one.

Back in June, the conference announced plans to “suspended” its title game to place more emphasis on the Celebration Bowl between SWAC and MEAC champions in Atlanta to kick off the bowl season.

“We are pleased with the commitment demonstrated by both conference commissioners, their council of presidents and chancellors,” said John Grant, the bowl game’s executive director, back in June. “This is great news for HBCU football fans, and reflects a greater understanding of the opportunity that the bowl game presents.”

The SWAC looked to eliminate divisions as part of eliminating the conference title game, but both may stay in intact for the 2018 season.

“I got an email yesterday that they’re going back to the divisions,” Alabama State coach Donald Hill-Eley said Thursday. “We’ll be prepared either way because the bottom line is we have to take it one game at a time.”


2017 Celebration Bowl tickets on sale now

ATLANTA, Georgia -- With the college football postseason fast approaching, tickets are now on sale for the third annual Celebration Bowl. As the Bowl season’s opening game, the Celebration Bowl is a championship-style game between the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champions. The game will be broadcast live on ABC at noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 16, from the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. SportsCenter on the Road will once again air live from the Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.

Establishing itself as a premier bowl game, the Celebration Bowl celebrates the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. ESPN works with 100 Black Men of Atlanta to organize the game’s ancillary events which include a youth symposium, robotics showcase, fan experience and more. Each conference has claimed a victory in the event’s first two years, with MEAC Champion North Carolina A&T defeating Alcorn State 2015 and SWAC Champion Grambling State beating North Carolina Central in 2016. Two bowl champions were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft: 2015 Offensive MVP Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears) and 2016 First Team All-SWAC member Chad Williams (Arizona Cardinals).

Fans can purchase tickets to the Celebration Bowl online at or, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Prices range from $50 to $175. A full list of events surrounding the game are available on the event’s website.

For more information, visit, and follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.


NCCU Promotes Eastman to Interim Head Football Coach for 2018

DURHAM, North Carolina -- North Carolina Central University promoted Granville Eastman to serve as interim head football coach for the 2018 season on Friday, as Jerry Mack departs NCCU for another coaching position.

"North Carolina Central University is excited about Coach Jerry Mack's new appointment and salute his contributions to our student-athletes and athletics program," said NCCU Chancellor Dr. Johnson Akinleye. "Over the past four years, our football program has experienced tremendous success, including capturing three championships under the leadership of Coach Mack. He and his staff's dedication to our student-athletes and this university has built a nationally-ranked program that has garnered increased exposure for NCCU throughout North Carolina and around the country.

"Granville Eastman is an accomplished coach who has been part of our championship-winning coaching staff," Johnson added. "We are thrilled he accepted our offer to serve in this new role and look forward to the continuity his leadership will bring."

With 24 years of collegiate coaching experience to his credit, Eastman has been an integral part of the Eagles' success during the past four years as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and safeties coach.

"Coach Mack and his staff have achieved significant accomplishments over the past four seasons and have created a championship brand of FCS football at NCCU. I am proud that our student-athletes have developed academically and athletically under the leadership of this group of coaches," said Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree, NCCU Director of Athletics. "I am confident in Coach Eastman's ability to continue leading our program, further our winning culture and ensure the academic and athletic success of our student-athletes at NCCU."

Since joining NCCU in 2014, Eastman has engineered one of the nation's top defensive units. Under his tutelage, the Eagles have ranked among the NCAA Division I-FCS top-10 statistical leaders in tackles for loss, fumbles recovered, red zone defense, turnovers gained, and third-down and fourth-down conversion percentage defense.

"I am so proud and happy for my friend Jerry Mack. I wish him and his family all the best in this next chapter of their journey," said Eastman. "I am most proud of what we have established here at North Carolina Central University. Coach Mack was the architect for designing a football program for success both on and off the field. I consider it an honor and a privilege to carry on the tradition of excellence in his footsteps."

Prior to joining NCCU, Eastman spent nine seasons as the defensive coordinator at Austin Peay State University in Clarkesville, Tennessee. During his 11 total seasons at APSU, he coached defensive backs and linebackers, and also served as special teams coordinator and interim head coach.

Eastman coached four seasons (1999-2002) at Tiffin University in Ohio, including the last three seasons as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, while working with defensive backs and defensive line during his tenure.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Eastman secured his first coaching position at York University in his hometown, where he spent two seasons (1994-95) working with defensive backs.

He then served as a defensive graduate assistant for three seasons (1996-98) at Arkansas State University, earning a master's degree in sociology in 1999.

He has interned with five NFL teams since 2002, lending his services to the Detroit Lions (2002), Arizona Cardinals (2004), Tennessee Titans (2006), Indianapolis Colts (2011) and Minnesota Vikings (2012).

Eastman was a two-time all-city defensive back at Stephen Leacock High School in Toronto before attending Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he was a three-year letterman as a defensive back. Twice Saint Mary's played in national title games while he was there. Eastman earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Mary's University in 1992.

Eastman also volunteers as a coach and mentor with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He is married to the former Lynnette Armstrong. They are the proud parents of two sons - J.R. and Brandon.

The Granville Eastman File

Saint Mary's University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), 1992, bachelor's degree/criminology certificate
Arkansas State University, 1999, master's degree in sociology

Collegiate Playing Experience:
Saint Mary's University, defensive back (1989-92)

Coaching Experience:
York University (Toronto, Canada), assistant coach (defensive backs), 1994-95
Arkansas State University, graduate assistant (defense), 1996-98
Tiffin University
- assistant coach (defensive backs/recruiting coordinator), 1999
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/defensive line/recruiting coordinator), 2000
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/defensive backs/recruiting coordinator), 2001-02
Austin Peay State University
- assistant coach (defensive backs/special teams coordinator), 2003-04
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/special teams/outside linebackers/safeties), 2005-06
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/special teams/defensive backs), 2007-09
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/special teams/linebackers), 2010
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/safeties), 2011-12
- interim head coach, January-March 2013
- assistant head coach (defensive coordinator/secondary), 2013
North Carolina Central University
- assistant head coach (defensive coordinator/safeties), 2014-17
- interim head coach, 2018

NCAA Division I-FCS Statistical Rankings – NCCU Team Defense under Defensive Coordinator Granville Eastman
2017: 2nd Third-Down Conversion Percentage Defense, 17th Sacks, 17th Red Zone Defense, 19th Rushing Defense, 19th Defensive Touchdowns
2016: 6th Tackles for Loss, 14th Sacks, 17th Fumbles Recovered
2015: 1st Fourth-Down Conversion Percentage Defense, 3rd Tackles for Loss, 8th Red Zone Defense, 10th Fumbles Recovered, 17th Sacks
2014: 2nd Fumbles Recovered, 5th Turnovers Gained, 7th Third-Down Conversion Percentage Defense, 19th Passing Yards Allowed


Coach Jerry Mack leaving NC Central for offensive coordinator job at Rice

DURHAM, North Carolina -- N.C. Central football coach Jerry Mack is leaving Durham to become the next offensive coordinator at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Mack said Friday.

The Owls earlier this week named former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren as their new head coach replacing David Bailiff, who was fired in November after 10 years of leading the program.

Bloomgren and Mack have history, both serving on the staff at Delta State when Mack was a graduate assistant there in 2004-2005. Bloomgren was the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and special teams coach from March 2005 to February 2007. A chance to coach at the highest level and to coach with his good friend Bloomgren was a chance Mack jumped at.

“I just couldn’t turn down this opportunity for me and my family,” Mack said.

Mack, 37, was named the Eagles 22nd head football coach in 2013. The Memphis, Tenn. native was the third-youngest active Division I coach. In four years in Durham, Mack led the Eagles to a 31-15 record and three consecutive MEAC championships. During the 2016 season, N.C. Central cracked the FCS Top 25 poll for the first time since making the jump to Division I, earning a trip to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.


Alabama State Names Donald Hill-Ely Head Football Coach

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Alabama State University and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that the interim tag will be removed from Donald Hill-Eley Thursday afternoon, and he will become the 29th head coach in school history.

"Coach Hill-Eley is a veteran who has already proven his ability to provide the kind of leadership that is needed for the University's football program," said Alabama State University President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr. "I would like to thank Interim Athletics Director, Jennifer Williams, and the search committee for their due diligence and thoughtful deliberation in sending the recommendation of Donald Hill-Eley as ASU's next head football coach. In making this announcement, the University's leadership is affirming our commitment to the continued success of ASU's athletics program."

Eley was named to the interim role on October 6 after an 0-5 start to the season, and guided the Hornets to five wins in their final six games including a victory in the Magic City Classic over Alabama A&M and pair of wins on opponents' homecoming weekends. He also guided the Hornets to four road wins to close the season, all in conference play.

He joined the program in 2015 after a one-year stint as the wide receivers coach at Norfolk State and has served in the role of Associate Head Coach during that time. The longtime Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) coach spent 13 seasons at Morgan State (2001-13). After his first season as offensive coordinator, Eley spent the final 12 as head coach and was named 2002 MEAC Coach of the Year. His 59 wins rank third all-time in Bears' history, and he turned around a program who had not had a winning season in 23 consecutive seasons by going 7-5 in his first year at the helm.

Eley also spent four seasons at Hampton (1997-2000) as offensive coordinator and pro liaison, helping the Pirates win an HBCU National Championship, two MEAC titles and the 1999 Heritage Bowl.

He spent four seasons in professional football in the Canadian Football League, first with the Baltimore Stallions (1994-95) as receivers coach before two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts as a guest coach (1996-97). Hill was on the staff of three straight Grey Cup championship teams (1995-97) during his time in the CFL.

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FAMU set to hire Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons to lead football program under a 5-year deal

Willie Simmons, the Panthers’ coach for the past three season, was offered and has accepted the same position at Florida A&M and is reportedly expected to officially be announced sometime this weekend.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- A source close to Florida A&M's athletic department confirmed to the Tallahassee Democrat the football team's next head coach will be Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons.

Simmons, 37, has been at the helm of Prairie View A&M for the last three seasons and has compiled a 21-11 record with the Panthers. Praised for overseeing strong offenses, Simmons has put together winning seasons in each of his three years as a head coach.

Before being hired at Prairie View, he was the offensive coordinator at Alcorn State. In 2014, Alcorn State won the Southwestern Athletic Conference title and were No. 2 in the FCS in scoring (44 points per game) with Simmons as the team's offensive coordinator.

The Panthers went 6-5 last season. The Panther's were third in the SWAC in scoring offense (30 points per game) and second in total offense (424.2 yards per game).

Simmons was born in Tallahassee and attended James A. Shanks in Quincy.


Grambling State OC considered for 2 SWAC head coaching vacancies

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- When an offense has built the type of product and manufactured the recent results Grambling State’s has the last couple of seasons, naturally other schools in need of a coach will come calling.

As football season has entered the lull before the bowl season officially starting next Saturday with the Celebration Bowl between GSU, the reigning SWAC champions, and North Carolina A&T, the MEAC champs, kicking things off at 11 a.m. for the HBCU national title, the Tigers' offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Eric Dooley has surfaced as a candidate for two SWAC head coaching openings.

Reported by The Pine Bluff Commercial earlier Friday following a Freedom of Information Act request, Dooley was listed as one of 37 applicants for the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff head coaching job. Former coach Monte Coleman was fired from his post Nov. 20 and at the time, UAPB Athletic Director Lonza Hardy Jr. told reporters that he’d like to have his new coach in place before Dec. 14, when the school breaks for the holidays.

Dooley served as offensive coordinator of the Golden Lions under Coleman from 2011-13, playing a part in the team winning the SWAC title during his first season, before joining GSU head coach Broderick Fobbs’ staff in the same position before the 2014 season.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Raynard, Leonard Names 2017 MEAC Offensive, Defensive Player

NEW YORK CITY - North Carolina A&T State quarterback Lamar Raynard and South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard were named the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. The players were named officially at the 60th annual National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame press conference on Tuesday morning in New York City live on ESPN3.

This marks the fourth consecutive year a player from North Carolina A&T State has been named offensive player of the year as Raynard passed for a MEAC-best 2,707 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to a 11-0 regular season mark and a berth in the Celebration Bowl. The redshirt junior from High Point, N.C. leads the MEAC in eight (8) statistical categories and shattered the Aggie record books as he broke the North Carolina A&T State single-season school records for touchdowns responsible, passing, total offense, touchdown passes and completions in a season.

Nationally, Raynard ranks third in passing efficiency and yards per pass attempt while ranking 17th in passing yards and second in total offense en route to a 26-0 record as a starter.

Leonard keeps the defensive player of the year trophy in Orangeburg for the fifth straight year as SC State defenders have won the award every year since 2013. The redshirt senior from Lake View, S.C. currently ranks fourth in the FCS with 113 tackles (11.3 per game) and second in solo tackles (7.3 pg). He also picked off two passes and had seven (7) sacks while finishing his career as the all-time leading tackler in SC State football history with 393 tackles. Leonard had six games in 2017 with 12-plus tackles highlighted by a high of 18 versus Morgan State.


Martin's 25 points, tying 3-pointer help Towson men beat Morgan State in OT, 82-78

TOWSON, Maryland -- Over its first nine games this season, the Towson men’s basketball team had played on Florida’s Gulf Coast and Northern Ireland’s East Coast. It had won in blowouts and on last-second jumpers, as in Saturday’s Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic final.

But what happened in Belfast — the seventh and eighth wins of the program’s best-ever start in Division I — would be moot if business were not taken care of in Baltimore. The Tigers have been workmanlike under coach Pat Skerry in that respect, having won eight straight games against Baltimore-area teams coming into the “Battle for Greater Baltimore” against Morgan State.