Sunday, June 28, 2009

MEAC/SWAC/OVC Sports: This Week in Review

Jackson State University
Giles speed burns Alouettes in Montreal

The CFL Grey Cup Champs, Winnipeg Blue Bombers rookie RB Levarus Giles was impressive in his pre-season game at the Montreal Alouettes. The former JSU Tiger star ran for a 77-yard TD on a draw play. "He's a burner," said quarterback Stefan LeFors. "He's got speed to kill. I just saw a little crease in there, he hit it and he's gone and it's fun watching a back like that getting into the open field and outrun people."

Giles, by the way, comes by his speed honestly as he also ran track at Jackson State. "I ran the 100 and the 200 (metre races)," he said. "I ran a 10.4 100 and a 24.60 in the 200 ... I won the gold in the SWAC conference in the 100 and the 200." Giles also returned three kickoffs for 71 yards. "I did kickoff returns in college so I can do that, too," he said.

Lavarus Giles and Yvenson Bernard, both battling veteran Fred Reid for a job at running back, ran in TDs for the Bombers, while Alexis Serna kicked three field goals. The Montreal Alouettes downed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31-27 in pre-season play on Tuesday night. Winnipeg used three quarterbacks in a long grind of a game to watch for the 20,202 fans at sold-out Percival Molson Stadium.

AD's Contract Up On Tuesday

The contract for athletic director Bob Braddy is set to expire Tuesday. A former longtime JSU baseball coach, Braddy has led the JSU athletic department for three full athletic years and the program has won the SWAC Commissioner’s Cup for performance across all sports each of those years. Braddy wants to return and president Ronald Mason has said he expects to bring Braddy back. Still, if nothing changes, Braddy will not be under contract after Tuesday. “We are family, we’re on talking terms,” Braddy said.

Florida A&M University
Ferrell enrolls at FAMU

View Other Willie Ferrell Video:
Farrell on Ferrell
Five-star Academy: Willie Ferrell

Willie Farrell Highlights 1
AMP: Gainesville NIKE RB vs. LB

Former FAMU High football player Willie Ferrell has enrolled at Florida A&M University and intends to play for the football team, FAMU High head coach Ira Reynolds confirmed on Wednesday. Ferrell signed a letter-of-intent with Mississippi, but Reynolds said the linebacker has decided to remain home for personal reasons. A call to Ferrell was not returned. According to Reynolds, Ferrell indicated he would have to sit out one year before playing for the Rattlers because he had broken his contract with Ole Miss.

"He's excited about playing at FAMU," Reynolds said. "I know his mom is a season-ticket holder, so he grew up going to FAMU games. And I think he's excited about getting a chance to play with his brother (and sophomore defensive back), Jonathan, again." Originally, Ferrell had committed to Louisiana State, but when signing day came in February, Ferrell sided with the Rebels. Ferrell was a first-team selection to the Tallahassee Democrat All-Big Bend team as a junior and senior. During his senior year he finished with 174 tackles. Ferrell was the 33rd-ranked linebacker in the nation and the 75th-ranked player in Florida by ESPN analysts rated him the No. 6 inside linebacker in the country, and listed him as the 13th-ranked linebacker recruit. "What (Florida A&M) is getting is a four-star athlete that many teams in their division don't get, and he wants to be there," Reynolds said.

Willie Ferrell - College Football Recruiting 2009 - ESPN

Knight back for a 5th season at FAMU

Javares Knight had every reason not to come back to play a fifth year at receiver for FAMU. His right knee was so banged up last season that it required surgery. On top of that, he will have to compete against some receivers who had a solid spring to maintain his status as one of the Rattlers' go-to guys. Plus, he'll have graduate classes to concentrate on. All that, and Knight, who took a redshirt in his freshman year and graduated this spring, didn't agonize over whether he'll exercise his fifth-year option.

Counting the two years he played at Lincoln before finishing his high school career at FAMU High, he could have easily said farewell to football. "The decision wasn't hard to make because I felt like I have all my life to work (a career) but I only have four to five years to get that college experience," he said. "I also feel like we're going to have a special year this season so I want to be a part of that. I feel like everything is going to be an explosion for us."

Lincoln graduate transfers from Stanford to FAMU

Beads of sweat rolling down Padric Scott arms, neck and face said a lot about how much the defensive lineman wants to impress coaches at FAMU. He didn't waste much time either. Just a few weeks after transferring from Stanford University, the former Lincoln High School standout is already going hard during FAMU's conditioning drills. "I want to make the biggest contribution possible," Scott said. "I want to try my best, work the hardest that I can and get back in top shape to help the team out. I'm looking forward to being on the field and helping the Rattlers go 12-0."

Scott, a 6-foot-1, 286-pound Tallahassee native, redshirted his freshman season last year at Stanford and was expected to earn playing time this fall. But the distance from home and a strained relationship with his coaches prompted his move to FAMU, he said. "Sometimes me and my coach didn't see eye to eye," he said. "That was pretty much the gist of it." Playing at FAMU was a childhood dream, but the opportunity to go west and be part of a winning program weighed heavily in his decision. His admiration for co-defensive coordinator Earl Holmes and the influence of receiver Isaac West, a former Lincoln teammate, made the decision to come to FAMU easy, he said.

Padric Scott moves into his dormitory for summer school at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, June 21, 2008. The Tallahassee native is now a resident at Florida A&M, where the Rattlers, under Coach Joe Taylor are vying for the Division I FCS National Championship.

FAMU's Reed will get a chance to contribute

After every practice last season, defensive lineman Lymon Reed took a stroll up an incline path between FAMU's practice field and the field house. He was usually alone with a pensive look in his eyes. He had quite a bit to think about: He was projected to be a cog on the Rattlers defensive line, but instead he was ineligible to play. Those post-practice walks weren't always easy on the eve of a game. "It made me think about being a student first before being the athlete," Reed said. "It made me feel like I let my teammates down in terms of what we wanted to get done."

Reed, a senior, will get his chance to contribute this season. He said he found his in the classroom, regaining the scholarship he'd lost. He said he's spending less time in front of his television and avoiding other distractions. Having to sit out an entire season was a hard lesson, he said. "That whole process just reiterated to me that I've got to put it down in the classroom before I put it down on the field," he said. Indeed he put it down on the field in 2007. Reed recorded 45 tackles, 11.5 for loss. He made 10 tackles against Southern and in two other games had seven. "He is probably one of the quickest guys I've seen at that position," FAMU coach Joe Taylor said. "He doesn't stay blocked."

Delaware State University

DSU Women's Basketball Signs Four

Delaware State University head women’s basketball coach Ed Davis has announced four additions to the Lady Hornets for the 2009-10 season. Guard/forward Crystal Pitt (fr. - Ft. Washington, MD), forward Kianna D’Oliveira (fr. - Newport News , VA), guard Jamarra Robinson (jr. - Ft. Pierce , FL), and center Uchechi Ahaiwe (fr. - Riverdale, MD) recently signed the National Letter of Intent to attend Delaware State this fall. Pitt (5-7) averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 4.1 steals per-game as a senior at National Christian Academy (MD) last season.

D’Oliveria (5-10) was a Daily Press (VA) All-District Second Team selection after averaging 13.9 points and 8.0 rebounds-per-game during her senior year at Woodside High School last season. Robinson (5-8) joins the Lady Hornets after two seasons at Palm Beach Community College in Florida . During the 2008-09 season, she led PBCC in scoring (9.9 ppg), assists (4.2 pg) and steals (2.6 pg), and was second in rebounding (6.2 pg). She was a two-time All-Florida Southern Conference First Team selection and team MVP. Ahaiwe (6-3) was an All-Prince George’s County Second Team selection and Prince George's County Senior All-Star at Bladensburg High School last season.

“I believe we addressed some critical team needs with this incoming class,” said Davis, who is 156-115 in nine seasons as head coach of the Lady Hornets. “This group will bring much needed speed and athleticism to our squad.” Delaware State was 15-15 overall and finished third in the MEAC regular season with an 11-5 record in league play last season. The Lady Hornets must replace last year’s starting guards Keyhana Wakefield and Jameka Smith, along with center Thea Littlepage. Courtesy: DSU Athletic Media Relations

Mississippi Valley State University

MVSU signs four for 2010 softball campaign

The Mississippi Valley State women's softball team announces its initial four signees for the 2010 season. MVSU head coach Lee Smith hopes that the initial group of signees will become vital parts to the program as the Devilettes look to defend their six consecutive SWAC softball titles. “We were looking for ladies who fit our mold of aggressive players both at the plate and in the field,” said Smith. “We are continuing to build our program with the goal of having a successful 2010 season.”

Kimberly Spivey, a 5-foot-5 pitcher/utility from Dallas, Texas, comes to the Devilettes with an impressive resume. The Hillcrest High School product built an 84-17 overall record over her four seasons with Hillcrest. During her senior season, she was 18-1 with a 0.47 earned run average. She was Pitcher of the Year, first-team all-district and most valuable player for four consecutive seasons. Outstanding in the classroom, she also was a member of the A-B honor roll each academic high school year. Spivey currently plays travel softball for Texas Fusion Gold.

University of Arkansas Pine Bluff

UAPB Athletics Department Announces The Hiring of Shelton

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Director Athletic Louis "Skip" Perkins Jr. has announced the hiring of Cary Shelton to the position of head women's basketball coach. He will officially begin the post effective July 1st. "We're very excited to be able bring in a coach of the caliber of Coach Shelton," said Perkins. "We believe he will be able to take the women's basketball program to new and improved heights."

Shelton has been a member of the UAPB Athletics Department for the past four years serving as an assistant coach on both the men's and women's basketball teams. Last season he served as the number two assistant coach on a team that finished with a 10-8 conference record marking the first time in school history the program concluded the regular season with a winning mark in SWAC play. Shelton was also instrumental in the player development of Ciara Shields (2008-09 SWAC Defender of the Year) and Shay Holmes (2008-09 SWAC Newcomer of the Year). In addition he has played a vital role in the programs recruiting efforts as he helped the program land some of the top women's basketball recruits in the state and around the country. UAPB Sports Information

Coleman's Tournament Brings Celebrites to Pine Bluff

Many athletic celebrities will be flocking to Pine Bluff this weekend. The second installment of Arkansas-Pine Bluff football coach Monte Coleman’s celebrity golf tournament will bring about a dozen former professional athletes from both the NFL and NBA, UAPB athletic director Skip Perkins said. Coleman, who played 16 seasons with the NFL’s Washington Redskins and won three Super Bowls, has invited several of his former Washington teammates to Southeast Arkansas this weekend. Among those expected to attend are Tony Peters, who won multiple Super Bowl rings with the Redskins in a 10-year pro career; Vernon Dean, who was drafted by the Redskins in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft; and Ken Coffey. Perkins said Redskin Hall-of-Famers Art Monk and Darrell Green were also invited but unable to attend because of previous church commitments.

Other celebrities attending are Keith Jackson, a Little Rock-native who was a college All-American at Oklahoma and played nine seasons in the NFL, while winning a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers; Jackie Harris, a Pine Bluff-native who played 12 seasons in the NFL; Ceasar Belser, who played for UAPB when it was known as AM&N College and also played in the NFL; former NBA player Dennis Scott; and local television personality Matt Mosler.

“We have a stellar group of guys that are going to come and help support the Golden Lions,” Coleman said. Proceeds from the tournament will go to furnish new weight equipment for the J. Thomas May Fieldhouse, Perkins said, adding that after costs, the UAPB athletic department expected to raise a little more than $15,000.

RETROSPECT: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Marching Musicial Machine of the Mid South (M4) at President Barack Obama's Inauguration parade 1/20/2009, Washington, D.C.

The M4 students had an experience of a life time performing for President Obama and countless millions of viewers globally.

Alabama A&M University
A&M baseball coach resigns

Martin to focus on duties as football assistant coach ...
A month after helping Alabama A&M return to the Southwestern Athletic Conference baseball tournament for the first time since 2000, Jay Martin has resigned as the Bulldogs' baseball coach. Martin, who also doubled as the inside linebackers coach for the A&M football team, said he was eager to return to the football field on a full-time basis.

"I'm a football coach first and foremost, and that's where I belong," said Martin, who compiled a 31-99 record during his three seasons as the baseball coach. "I enjoyed my time working with the baseball team and the guys deserve a lot of credit for making the tournament, but they deserve a full-time coach. "They shouldn't have to share a coach, and I hope the administration will see that that won't happen again." The program made strides under Martin's guidance.

North Carolina Central University
The busy life of coach LeVelle Moton

LeVelle Moton has seen more chicken in the last three months than Colonel Sanders. The new men's basketball coach at N.C. Central is making the rounds of the chicken circuit from the Triangle to the Triad to the Piedmont. Everybody wants a piece of the Raleigh native since he was named coach on March 25. It's not hard to understand why. Moton is one of them. He's a 1992 graduate of Enloe High in Raleigh. He's a NCCU alum. He obviously loves his alma mater. He's young enough to relate to today's players but is still an old-school, no-nonsense disciplinarian. And he's a dedicated father and husband who's also deeply religious. What's not to like? "

"The is a very rounded individual. I kid him that he's an old man in a young body personality wise because he does have traditional views of discipline, and moral and ethical values in terms of being a student-athlete," NCCU Athletics Director Ingrid-Wicker McCree said. "He gives a lot of attention to really building these young men and preparing them for life after basketball. I don't know if everyone does that. They may say it, but LeVelle really means it."


Texas Southern University
Like father, like son in prep football

Melvin and Sean Spears One thing Sean Spears and his father Melvin Spears have in common is versatility, and they also know the importance of balancing family and football. Melvin Spears, a Hall of Fame inductee from Alcorn State, currently serves as the wide receivers coach for the Texas Southern University Tigers. While at Alcorn State, Melvin played both quarterback and wide receiver. However, his son, Sean, bares quite a different responsibility on the field where he was a four-year starter for the Clinton High School Eagles at defensive tackle/offensive guard.

"I am bigger than my dad was in high school," laughed Sean, who is 6 feet tall and 295 lbs. "But, he's my size now."However, just because Sean differs in comparison to his father's size coming out of high school, he said he often gets told that he shares certain character traits of his father's. "I'm told I have the same heart as he did when he played. For instance, if I get hurt, I keep playing," Sean explained. "I've seen old video footage of my dad playing, and I see how it's pretty similar to me. There's a competitive nature in us, and sometimes after games people would come up to me and say ‘you are your daddy's boy.

"Much like his father who played dual positions, Sean has proved that he is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball. In 2008, Sean was named the District 8-2A MVP, having made first team All District on both offense and defense, as well as being a member of the All Metro and All State teams. "Sean has transcended into being an outstanding player. He had the opportunity to play on both sides of the ball, and he has extremely long arms and huge hands, which are great strengths to have, and he loves the game," Melvin remarked. "He has passion, enthusiasm and plays full speed. I love to play, and I love the game. I see the same qualities in Sean."

Tennessee State University
New TSU coach plans to build up basketball brand

While an assistant at Auburn, Oregon and South Carolina, John Cooper learned a thing or two about what a top-tier college basketball program looks like. And 12 weeks into his tenure as the new head coach at Tennessee State, Cooper hopes to start seeing some of those things here.
From buying new uniforms to renovating the locker room and other parts of the facility, Cooper said he's focused on transforming the men's basketball brand both on and off the court. But, he added, he understands that a tough economy and the budget of a mid-major university means the off-the-court changes could take awhile.

"This is completely different," Cooper said. "You're talking about a BCS school. You're talking about the SEC. You're looking at money from basketball, the bowls, the TV deals and all that. There are other streams of revenue that are coming in. You're looking at schools with 26,000, 27,000 students with alumni bases all over the world and big booster clubs that are raising money and putting money into the program. "There are very few mid-majors that open up the pocketbook and say 'go get it,' and have the means to do that. Still, there have been coaches at mid-major programs that have found a way and been creative in making sure to get what they need."

Already, Cooper said he's been surprised by the community enthusiasm for TSU athletics. He sees his challenge as turning that excitement into financial support. "We've got one of the bigger facilities (in the Ohio Valley Conference) on campus," Cooper said of the 10,500-seat Gentry Center. "Our hope is to get to the point of doing something to the locker room. Update it. Make it a showpiece as it pertains to our level."

Ex-TSU star views NFL career as a reality

Despite an injury-plagued, lackluster football career at Tennessee State University, Ahmaad Smith never doubted he could play at the next level. That self-confidence has taken him to lower-level arena ball, the Canadian Football League — and to 4th And Long, with a chance for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys' 80-man training camp roster. As the Spike TV reality show premiered May 18, Smith was one of 12 players set to go through weeks of meetings, drills and one-on-one competitions under the scrutiny of NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, former Cowboy safety and special teamer Bill Bates and ex-Dallas assistant Joe Avezzano.

"When I first got there, I was like, 'this is going to be a joke,' " Smith said recently. "But Mike, Coach Avezzano and Coach Bates set the tone from Day One. We had to do those 110s and 40s (sprints) and all the special-teams drills. I'm looking at guys throw up. I was like, 'this is the real deal.' "Mike told us, 'Jerry (Cowboys owner Jones) told me to find a ballplayer, and that's what I'm going to do. If you want that spot, you've got to go through me.' The look on his face, you knew you were going to have to endure some pain and suffering so you could appreciate it at the end."

Players are eliminated over the course of the 10 episodes, until the final player emerges with his chance to go into preseason with the Cowboys. None of the 12 — six receivers, six defensive backs — have ever been on an NFL roster.

RETROSPECT: FAMU Coach Joe Taylor, Sermon on the Rattlers

"Coach Taylor was hired with expectations of winning championships...not just winning games"

The dialogue from FAMU's press conference on December 31, 2007 with the presentation of Florida A&M University new head football coach Joe Taylor quickly became an ole fashioned revival of Rattler Pride and an awaking of the Jake Gaither mystique.

Coach Taylor, like FAMU President Dr. James Ammons and director of athletics William "Bill" Hayes vowed to return Florida A&M University to its former greatness on the gridiron. The synergies of these three leaders are remarkable and Rattler Nation finally has the leadership and commitment necessary for us to work collectively together to accomplish these lofty goals.

As you read the transcript of Coach Taylor's remarks, you will have no doubts that this is all part of the master's plan or the master plans of the Ammons Administration.

Joe Taylor is now the highest paid football coach in Black College Football and is predestined to take the mighty Rattlers to their traditional place of football supremacy in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Here are the remarks made by Coach Joe Taylor.

Thank you so much.

I didn’t have a prepared speech. I guess when you’ve been here and done some things for a while, it’s kind of here what you do. [Taylor points to his heart.] I do want to thank Dr. Ammons and let him know that really he’s the reason I’m here. I’ve researched. I’ve looked around. Everywhere I looked, everything I heard said this is a guy you really want to work for. That’s why I’m here.

When you look at Eddie Robinson, certainly he did a great job of molding and building and sending men forward. Then there is another guy I had the real fortunate occasion to meet. That’s the great Jake Gaither. He had built, in my mind, one of the most storied programs ever. I tell the story all the time when Eddie and Jake got together in the Orange Blossom Classic. Bob Hayes was one of the great receivers out of here.

This story I always share with my players because it sends a message. Bob was running down the sideline. He had caught a pass and he was about to score. One of the Grambling corner-backs was in pursuit and about to make the tackle. The fans from FAMU started to yell, ‘Go Bob Hayes. Go Bob Hayes.’

The corner-back stopped running. He was about to make the tackle. When he got back to the sideline, Eddie said, ‘Son, what happened? You could have made the tackle.’ The corner-back responded,‘I didn’t know that was Bob Hayes. I’m not supposed to be able to catch him.’ So I use that often because that’s a mystique.

You want that kind of tradition. You want people to know that what you stand for they can’t compete against. I would think that spirit can return. That spirit can still be here. With that in mind, what I intend to bring here is no magic. There’s no mystery.

In my mind, coaching is a ministry. Whenever you are trying to improve the lives of young people, it’s a ministry. We’re not going to be concerned with what happens on Saturday; we’re going to be concerned with what happens all week. You can not be a champion all week and expect to be one on Saturday.

I think that every Sunday everybody should start off in some-body's church. Find a man’s spirit, there also you find him. When his spirit is right, then everything else follows. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – class. You’ve got to go to class. That’s what champions do. You can’t get smarter turning in someone else’s homework. You’ve got to do it for yourself.

In the weight room, it’s not osmosis. You lift to get smarter. That’s what champions do. On the track, again you’ve got to run to get faster. If you could lay under a shade tree and drink kool-aid to get in shape, then we’d do that. But we know that doesn’t work.

Study hall – we’ve got to be there. Whatever responsibility there is, you have to manage. If you do that, the only thing that changes on Saturday is the atmosphere because you are already a champion.

In my mind there are four numbers that we all have. Those four numbers we have nothing to do with. That’s the year we were born. There will be, at some other time, four other numbers. Those will represent expiration. We really have nothing to do with that. But in between those numbers is a dash. That’s the only thing we have control over – that’s your dash.

How do you control your dash? Let’s spell it out.

Now, I’m letting you know that the players are going to hear this a little more intensely but I want you to hear the philosophy.

The ‘D’ is for discipline. I don’t care what you try to get done in life, it must start with discipline. You’ve got to do the right thing. There is no short cut. You’ve got to do the right thing.

‘A’ is attitude. We will never accept invitations to pity parties. Attitude. Attitude. We’re not concerned about what the naysayers are saying. We’re not concerned about what people say you can’t do.

We’ll find a way to reach inside and flush all of that negative programming because it’s about your attitude. And your attitude can get derailed by what I call noise. We’ve got to rise above the noise. Attitude. Attitude. You have to control your attitude.

KR #7 LeRoy Vann made believers out of MEAC opponents on his way to achieving All-American honors during the '08 season. With great blocking, Vann takes another punt 60 yards to the house for another Rattler score.

‘S’ is for sacrifice. You were not put here on this earth to be served. You were put here to serve. It’s about sacrifice. When you put forth the necessary effort to be the best person that you can be, that’s a sacrifice. But look at how many people it serves and who can sit there and feel great about what’s happening on that field or in that classroom. It’s a sacrifice. You need to think about that.

We are ambassadors for all the great things that ever happen here. We have to connect that. We need to understand that. Others made great sacrifices so that you could be here. How dare you think you don’t need to be of that same nature. You must sacrifice.

Then the ‘H.’ The ‘H’ is for habits. Man does not decide his future. Man decides his habits. And his habits decide his future.

A player comes into me and says, ‘Coach, I want to be a doctor.’ ‘That sounds good, son, but I heard you were out drinking last night.’ ‘Yeah, but I want to be a doctor.’ ‘No, you want to be an alcoholic.’ Let’s get that straight.

When you can get that D-A-S-H, when you can control that, then you’ve got a chance. The program has a chance. The people around you have a chance. More importantly, you will have a life that is full of quality. That’s what the Lord wants. He wants you to have a great life. But you’ve got to control the dash.

In a nutshell, that’s really the key to success.

Certainly, this profession has been great to me. Really, I was called for this. It’s not like you came out of the womb and said that’s what you wanted to do. As my life went on in terms of going on to college with a scholarship and graduating within four years and having all kinds of opportunities, my high school coach kept calling me back. It just evolved. I’m just being obedient.

Someone says, ‘Wow, 16 years and 13 championships and you want to move?’ I’m being obedient. I told them I wasn’t moving. I’m expanding the neighborhood.

This is another opportunity to come and to minister and to let young men understand why they are on this earth. We want the Jake Gaither spirit to rise. We want all of Rattler Nation to be proud of what’s going on and we want to be a part of that.

As I said, Dr. Ammons is the biggest reason but Bill Hayes and I go back a long ways. We faced each other across the field. I don’t know who got the record over the other one. I’m just saying let’s put both records together. Then, too, we all know this place has so much potential. Let’s let people know we were sleeping for a little while but we’re back.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity. I vow to you my best. My wife already knows that football is 13 months a year. It’s non-stop. It’s something you can always do because you enjoy. It’s not a job. It’s an opportunity and it’s something we look forward to doing in this community.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

MEAC/SWAC/OVC Sports: This Week in Review

Southwestern Athletic Conference
SWAC to return to 9-game league schedule in '10 The Southwestern Athletic Conference will revert to using a nine-game league schedule starting in the 2010 football season, one of several changes announced Friday. The SWAC council of presidents voted to add the extra conference games through at least the 2013 season. “Overall, some teams were finding it difficult to fill out the rest of the schedule,” SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said. “It was hard for some of our teams. Either people didn’t want to play them, or the payout wasn’t what they thought it would be.”

Since the SWAC expanded to 10 teams in 1999, the conference has flip-flopped between playing seven league games and nine league games. That first year, in ’99, then-commissioner Rudy Washington decided in August that only a team’s four divisional games would count. From 2000-04, seven games counted, but some SWAC teams opted to play each other in extra games that did not count in the conference standings. Then, from 2005-07, all nine games counted. Last season, the SWAC switched back to seven. “That’s the other advantage (of going to nine games),” Sharp said. “You can get a true champion.”

South Carolina State University
SCSU men's hoops loses assistant coach Kyle Perry Brandon (Kyle) Perry was more than just South Carolina State men’s basketball coach Tim Carter’s top assistant. The Gallatin, Tennessee native’s recruiting skills in luring the likes of former Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year guard Carrio Bennett, Defensive Player of the Year Jason Johnson and College of Charleston transfer Josh Jackson helped turn around the program’s fortunes in two years. As Carter looks to improve on S.C. State’s first winning season in three years, he now finds himself having to replace the lone remaining assistant from his arrival.

On Monday, University of South Carolina-Upstate head coach Eddie Payne announced Perry’s hiring to a similar position. Perry, 31, will serve as Upstate’s recruiting coordinator and will serve in all aspects of the program, including scouting and floor coaching. “Kyle Perry is an outstanding person,” Payne said. “He has a lot of the things you look for in an assistant coach. He has great character and work ethic as well as the results. He’s an exceptionally good recruiter and he has proven that on a number of different jobs, including his last one at S.C. State. Carter would only cite “personal reasons” for the reason of Perry’s departure. During his two seasons with the Bulldogs, Perry’s responsibilities included recruiting, scheduling, scouting and on-the-floor coaching. After the Bulldogs went 13-20 during Perry’s first year, they posted a 17-13 overall record last year and finished second in the league with a 10-6 record. S.C. State would advance to the MEAC Tournament semifinals for the first time in four years before losing to Norfolk State.

Howard University
Homecoming Change: Georgetown University officials have rescheduled the 70th Homecoming Game, which will now take place Sept. 26 versus Howard Bison. Due to a series of academic conflicts, Homecoming was originally scheduled late in the season (Nov. 14) against Richmond, which would not only have pitted the Hoyas against the pre-season #1 ranked team in I-AA but would likely involve much colder temperatures and the possibility of a conflict with an early season basketball game. The earlier date, which coincides with Alumni Association events that weekend, should serve to bring more fans to Washington in September, as well as the possibility of a significant turnout from Howard fans across town.

The game should also be considerably more competitive than Richmond. The Bison were 1-10 last season and will play games with Rutgers and Florida A&M on the road before the Sept. 26 game at the Multi-Sport Field. In the first meeting between the schools, Georgetown upset Howard in the 2008 season opener, 12-7.

Savannah State University
SSU Ready For MEAC Visit: Walter Moore--As Savannah State University gears up for a visit from officials from the Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), this writer sat down with Dr. Earl Yarbrough (SSU president), Dr. Claud Flythe (SSU vice president of administration) and Bart Bellairs (SSU athletics director) last week to ask questions about SSU's preparation for the upcoming visit.

1- What will conference affiliation do for SSU? YARBROUGH- “Rivalries will be developed and teams will have a chance to compete for conference championships. It also gives SSU a chance to support the program. It’s hard to get motivated with no title to play for.” FLYTHE- “It helps level the student playing field. It gives students the opportunity to compete with peer institutions. Being independent does not offer the same opportunity. It also helps the alumni base connect with their peers. Many SSU alumni work with and socialize with alumni from FAMU, Bethune and SC State. It will also help with the traveling costs and will allow our students to stay close to home.” BELLAIRS- “It puts you in line with great academic institutions.”...

Delaware State University
When Football Goes Green We've all seen it, we've definitely all heard it. The latest trend these days is to "go green." It's a campaign that is simply inescapable. We're all supposed to live green, breathe green, drive green, eat green ... you get the picture. However, to "go green" in college football is to go for the dollar signs. One idea, playing neutral site games to get a large payout, aren't entirely a bad idea. For example, Alabama/Virginia Tech in Atlanta is a great way to kick off the football year. But what happens when a school chooses to lose a game, a conference game, for money?

Delaware State has done just that, agreeing to actually forfeit their MEAC matchup with North Carolina A&T for a trip to the Big House to play Michigan on Oct. 17th. This is when "going green" goes horribly wrong. We've entered a dangerous stage in collegiate athletics. The goal (or what used to be the goal, anyways) for collegiate athletes was to compete for championships. It wasn't about the money, it was about the trophies at the end of the season. Money was left out of the picture. With Delaware State's move, the new goal has been set. It's all about getting as much money as possible. Forget title banners and trophies; just send the Hornets up to Ann Arbor as a rent-a-win (let's face it, App. State isn't the norm), get the check, and if the team doesn't make the FCS playoffs, oh well! How sad is this?

I understand why Delaware State wants to go to Ann Arbor. Located in Dover, DSU is a small school with an enrollment of just over 3,000. The Hornets drew 6,000 fans just twice last season, and in a 27-26 lost to Winston-Salem State, drew just 891 fans. Playing in front of over 100,000 in maize and blue would be quite the experience for DSU. But forfeit a conference game? That's where things just get messy.

Florida A&M University
Lincoln's Aaron Smith signs to play baseball at FAMU For recent Lincoln High alum Aaron Smith, signing a baseball scholarship with Florida A&M University meant more than just pitching on the Division I level. In attending FAMU, the 6-foot-1 right-hander is following in the footsteps of his parents, grandparents and aunts.

"The university is very important to my family," Smith said. "Everyone in my family went there, and I wanted to be a part of that." Smith moved to Tallahassee from Pensacola in 2007. As a junior, he maintained a 2.28 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 29 innings. This past spring, Smith was used mostly in late-inning relief, posting a 2.89 ERA in 261/3 innings. Smith's arsenal includes a fastball, curveball, changeup and slider.

RETROSPECT: FAMU Marching 100 Continues to Raise the Bar on Musicianship. What's amazing about the FAMU Marching 100 is they are several graduate school thesis within themselves. The more you study them, the more you realize they are in a class by themselves when it comes to musicianship. Regardless of the type of music played, the Marching 100 plays it to perfection with power, in both musical style and interpretation. Take for example the old standard marches--who does it better? View in HQ and enjoy the enthusiam of this great band--414 musicians strong playing the Thunder and Blazes March and Bennetts Triumphant March at the Florida Classic. Then, view the Hundred at work on the Patch under the baton of conductor, Dr. Julian E. White.

Winston Salem State University
Football Schedule Change: Winston-Salem State's football game against Florida A&M at Bowman Gray Stadium has been added to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference television package and rescheduled for Thursday, Sept. 10. Kickoff will be at 7:30, with coverage on ESPNU. The game originally was scheduled Sept. 12. It will be the first live broadcast of a WSSU game from Bowman Gray since Oct. 25, 2003, when the Rams defeated N.C. Central 47-0.

Alabama A&M University
New A&M assistant no stranger to SWAC John McKenzie had great success as a player in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. He starred at quarterback at Jackson State in the 1980s, leading the Tigers to three conference titles while throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 43 touchdowns en route to earning All-SWAC honors on two occasions. He later had success as a coach in the league, first at Alabama State - helping the Hornets not only win the SWAC, but also a black college national championship - and also was successful at his alma mater and Alcorn State. So when he was let go at North Carolina A&T last season, McKenzie looked for an opportunity to return to the conference.

He found it at Alabama A&M, where he was recently named the Bulldogs' receivers coach. McKenzie replaces Roger Totten, who left to become an assistant at Alabama State in January.
"I'm familiar with the SWAC," McKenzie said Tuesday. "I played in the league and coached in the league. I know the players and the different areas. It's a little easier for me to adapt. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was a great experience, but there's a different philosophy there as far as what they're trying to get done football-wise.

Southern University

Services today for Southern's Thomas Funeral services for Southern track and field coach Johnny Thomas are today. Viewing is at 9 a.m. today at the Living Faith Christian Center, 6375 Winbourne Ave. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Thomas, 68, died June 13. Thomas, who coached the men’s and women’s track and cross country teams, won 45 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships at SU.

Read Related Articles: Keys: Thomas' way made impact at Southern

The Mets signed pitcher Emary Frederick out of Southern University prior to the 2007 season. Frederick is a native of Deltona, Florida.

Paying debts with Mets Daytona Beach, FL--Emary Frederick plays professional baseball for a living. While Class A doesn't provide much of a living, the DeLand High graduate realizes things could be worse. "I'm very content with my situation right now. Things could be better or they could be a lot worse. Not very many guys that I played with have this opportunity," said Frederick, a relief pitcher for the St. Lucie Mets, who is in town playing the Daytona Cubs this week. "It's a choice. I could talk about settling, but the reason I'm here is it's a choice. If I put in my time now, hopefully I can relax later."

Frederick, a side-arming right-hander, pitched in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Monday night and will be on the mound again Thursday night when the two teams close out a four-game series.
Despite a 2-4 record, the reliever is having his best professional season to date with a 3.45 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20 games (28 2/3 innings). "To me he's made some good progress," said Phil Regan, pitching coach for the St. Lucie Mets. "He's got tremendous sink on the ball and I think, in my opinion, he's got a good major-league sinker. It sinks that well."

At 25, it's hard for Frederick to not get a little anxious. Younger players are drafted with huge signing bonuses that move up the ladder quicker. "I feel like it's going kind of slow thus far. It's only my third year as a professional, but I'm 25. I definitely thought I'd be farther along by now," Frederick said. "It's tough. It's definitely a jump up from college and the SWAC conference.

"The fact that Frederick is playing pro ball is a blessing in and of itself. After a good, but not great, college career at Southern University, Frederick signed a free-agent contract in his home dugout after being seen at Scout Day on the Baton Rouge, La., campus. Two years ago he was sent to the Class A Savannah Sand Gnats, where he posted a 2-0 record and struck out 50 in 32 games despite sitting out 45 days with a impingement in his throwing shoulder. Last year he moved up to high Class A St. Lucie, where he went 2-5 and struck out 52 batters, while improving his ERA to 4.47.

Norfolk State University
Miller signs with NSU through June 2014 Marty Miller has signed on for another five years as Norfolk State's athletic director, agreeing to a contract extension through June 2014, the school announced Thursday. Miller has been AD since December 2004. A 1969 graduate, he's been a coach or administrator at his alma mater since 1972. He coached the Spartans' baseball team to 718 wins in 32 years. NSU has won the past five MEAC men's all-sports awards. "We have made significant accomplishments in enabling our athletic programs to become more competitive," Miller said. "But we are seeking to become major players on a national level."

North Carolina A&T State University

Hill adds regional, national honors North Carolina A&T softball standout Ryanne Hill added a pair of honors to her resume. The sophomore from Charlotte (Independence High) was named third-team all-America by Easton Sports Inc. and the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association voted her to the all-state team. Hill was named MEAC player of the year last month and all-Southeast Region by the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association. “She has a very good work ethic and her academics are excellent,’’ said A&T head softball coach Mamie Jones. “She is a true student-athlete. She is constantly in the books, and she works tirelessly in making herself an excellent softball player.”

Hill led the MEAC in runs batted in and doubles (15). She also ranked second in the MEAC in hits (60) and total bases (96). In two years at A&T, Hill has a .340 batting average with 83 RBIs and 11 home runs in 94 games.

Jackson State University
ULL's Rogers fill out staff University Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Errol Rogers has added former Jackson State University recruiting coordinator and assistant Tomekia Reed. She will replace Paula Lee, who resigned to pursue other opportunities after a 3-27 season. Reed had coached at Jackson State for the past three seasons. She worked with the team's post players, including the 2006-07 Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year in forward Shelita Burns, and was its academic liaison. In 2006-07, JSU won the SWAC regular season championship and earned a WNIT berth. The following season the Tigers clinched the SWAC Tournament crown for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Reed received an associate degree from Hinds (Miss.) Community College before going to Southern Miss and Georgia Southwestern State University. She earned her bachelor's degree from GSSU. "She carries herself the right way, has a great knowledge of the game and is an intelligent young lady," Rogers said. "She's recruited in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Jackson State recruited across the country, so she has plenty of experience in recruiting.
"I think she's going to be a very good recruiter, someone who can relate with the kids and someone who knows her X's and O's."

CIAA/SIAC Special Feature
ARIZONA CARDINALS Reels in Fourth-Rounder from Saint Paul's College (Va.)
The Arizona Cardinals have signed fourth-round pick CB Greg Toler to a three-year, $1.5 million deal which includes a signing bonus of $316,000, a league source told

"I never took my grades seriously like I should have." "My coaches kept telling me that education's first, that you'll never be a student-athlete unless you're a good student." At the end of his senior high school season, Toler was ineligible to attend high school all-star games.

Toler (6-0, 193) earned All-CIAA and Little All-American first-team honors as well as being named Virginia small school Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2008 after collecting a career-high 51 tackles (37 solos), seven interceptions, and three blocked kicks. The first player from Saint Paul’s ever to be drafted, Toler set school records with 16 interceptions and 38 passes defensed during his four seasons.

The Washington, DC native finished his collegiate career with 161 tackles (101 solos), 16 interceptions, 38 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in 40 starts at Saint Paul’s. Despite being only a Division II standout and also not being invited to the NFL combine, Toler gained buzz around the NFL before the draft after making a bunch of visits to various teams and conducting strong personal workouts. Toler should have a good chance to make the team as a fourth cornerback or better based on the lack of current depth at the position.

The Cardinals have released WR Justin Brown. Brown signed with the team as a rookie free agent out of Hampton University on April 27.

National Football League: NFL Draft 2009 - Greg Toler
From Small St. Paul's, Greg Toler's Big Draft-Day Dream Comes True ...
How super is this sleeper? Toler says watch on Sundays - NFL ...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bill Laimbeer quits Shock gig; Rick Mahorn (Hamptonite) named new coach

Head Coach, Rick Mahorn, WNBA Detroit Shock

Former Pistons star Bill Laimbeer resigned as the head coach and general manager of the defending WNBA champion Shock this afternoon, following an immensely successful 6 1/2-year run. Rick Mahorn (Hampton University) was promoted to head coach and Cheryl Reeve was promoted to assistant coach/general manager. It is believed that Laimbeer’s long-term aspiration is to become an NBA head coach. The Shock is 1-2 this season.

“It’s disappointing that Bill has decided to step down as head coach and general manager of the Detroit Shock,” Shock president Tom Wilson said in a released statement. “But at the same time, Bill led the Shock to three WNBA championships and a league-record 27 postseason victories during his seven-year tenure. We thank him for his guidance and dedication to the franchise and our organization.”


The Rick Mahorn Story...

  • Derrick (Rick) Allen Mahorn, born 9/21/1958 in Hartford, Connecticut.
  • Played high school ball at Weaver H.S. in Hartford, CT., but didn't start for the basketball team until his senior year. Received more scholarship offers as a tightend and defensive end playing for the Weaver football team.
  • Played college basketball at Hampton University as a 6'10 center/power forward.
  • Rick graduated with a degree in business administration and became the most successful basketball player in the history of Hampton University.
  • First player from Hampton University ever drafted by the NBA.
  • Drafted in 2nd round, 35th overall, 1980Washington Bullets (Washington Wizards).
  • Pro career --1980–1999; Played for: Washington Bullets (19801985); Detroit Pistons (19851989); Philadelphia 76ers (19891991); Virtus Roma (1991–1992); New Jersey Nets (19921996); Detroit Pistons (19961998); and Philadelphia 76ers (1999).
  • In 1981, Mahorn picked up his first NBA nickname playing for the Washington Bullets. Teamed with Jeff Ruland 6'11", 275-pound, they formed an intimidating inside tandem; one that Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most dubbed "McFilthy" [Ruland] and "McNasty" [Mahorn].
  • Mahorn won his only NBA championship (1989) with the Pistons and served as one of the team leaders of the Detroit Bad Boys teams of the late 1980s.
  • Known as the master of intimidation, Mahorn shelled out $11,000 in fines for rough play in 1989 and was the baddest of the Bad Boys in NBA Detroit.
  • 1989-91-- teamed with superstar Charles Barkley to form the top-rebounding duo of "Thump N' Bump."
  • Served as assistant coach under former teammate Bill Laimbeer with the WNBA's Detroit Shock for five seasons.
  • Won WNBA titles in 2006 and 2008 as an assistant coach to Bill Laimbeer, with Cheryl Reeve, former George Washington University women assistant coach.
  • 6/15/2009, Mahorn became head coach of the WNBA's Detroit Shock with a head coaching resume limited to 22 games in the CBA.

Bill Laimbeer resigns as Shock coach; Mahorn takes over
Laimbeer shocks the Detroit Shock
Laimbeer resigns, Mahorn ascends - and more WNBA news
Shock coach Bill Laimbeer steps down, Rick Mahorn takes over
Shock coach/GM Laimbeer resigns

Pennsylvania All-star game stretching

Now in its ninth year, the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East West All-Star Game continually broadens its horizons. Game alumni like Mike Cox, Bruce Gradkowski and Shaheer McBride (Delaware State - Philadephia Eagles) have gone on to play in the NFL. Ray Ventrone even made a tackle in the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots.

Strong Vincent's Deonte Flemings (red/black in photo) lost only one game in his senior season-- at the PIAA Class AAA semifinals. The 5-10/170 Vincent is a triple threat athlete--running QB, WR and lock down cornerback. Flemings is a Grambling State Tiger signee.

Unless there is a change in plans in the next few months, Erie Strong Vincent's Deonte Flemings will expand the game's scope to a new frontier: Louisiana. Flemings, one of 68 high school seniors who arrived at the Blair County Convention Center Sunday morning to begin preparations for this year's East West Game, has signed a letter-of-intent with the legendary Grambling State Tigers. Although he'll spend a few months at North Carolina Tech Preparatory School in Charlotte, should he fulfill his commitment to Grambling, he'd be the first player from the game to play his college ball in Louisiana and the Southwestern Athletic Conference. He'd also be making one of the farthest trips to a college of anyone to have competed in the game. This year's contest will be held at Mansion Park on Friday at 6 p.m.

That its talent would now be reaching the SWAC is a feather in the cap of the game and the talent in Pennsylvania. SWAC schools have produced Walter Payton (Jackson State) and Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State), the NFL's former all-time leading rusher and all-time leading receiver. Grambling is the most-storied football power in the conference, turning out four Pro Football Hall of Famers under the late Eddie Robinson, whom Penn State's Joe Paterno surpassed to become Division I college football's all-time winningest coach. That list doesn't even include No. 1 overall draft pick and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Doug Williams.


Strong Vincent players getting set for college - Western PA ...
Deonte Flemings Strong Vincent High School Football Stats 08-09 ...
Deonte Flemings - College Football Recruiting 2009 - ESPN

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It’ll take more than coaching to keep S.C. State ahead

Florida A&M’s new $26 million Teaching Gymnasium, which will hold 9,639 fans: "There’s been plenty of talk in recruiting circles that FAMU’s new building helped dissuade potential Bulldog men’s basketball recruits from coming to Orangeburg."

There’s one common belief among all college head coaches, regardless of the sport.

When trying to recruit a high school prospect, a winning tradition and geography are high selling points. However, the quality of the facilities is more than often the deal maker or deal breaker. Take a look at the most successful Division I college football programs this decade (Florida, Southern Cal, Ohio State). In almost all cases, the facilities are second to none. The same is true even in the lower divisions in which former three-time defending Football Championship Subdivision champion Appalachian State can raise $32 million toward an athletic-enhancement campaign that already has produced three facilities.

Truly, the adage “if you build it, (they) will come” is as true in college sports as it was in the movie “Field of Dreams.” In the case of South Carolina State head coaches like Oliver “Buddy” Pough (football) and Hardeep Judge (tennis), renovations to their facilities have only further bolstered their proven ability to produce winning teams without the advantages of state-of-the-art athletics facilities.

FAMU's Teaching Gym Basketball Court

It’s no secret that S.C. State has managed to overcome a distinct disadvantage among its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference brethren when it comes to location and facilities. Out of the nine conference schools competing in football (not including Winston-Salem State, which remains non-eligible for MEAC title play), S.C. State has the smallest population and most rural setting:


S.C. State football season tickets now available to public
Economic downturn affecting S.C. State athletics
Former employee files lawsuit against South Carolina State University
South Carolina football to pay out more than $1.2M

MEAC/SWAC/OVC Sports: This Week in Review

Morgan State University
Sriking Fear - By Jeff Glatzer, Coaches love a defensive lineman with a nasty streak. That's exactly what defensive end Justin Lawrence from Morgan State of the MEAC conference play's with. This quick, powerful fifth-year senior has the mental make-up to be a fierce competitor. At 6-1, 280 pounds, Lawrence displays tremendous athleticism, earning him a selection to the All-MEAC first team in 2008. He also led the team in tackles for loss (17 for 82 yards), in sacks (8 for 60 yards lost), and forced fumbles (four).

Justin Lawrence #36 of the Morgan State Bears has the quickness and power to take over tackles and harass quarterbacks, especially cross-town rival Towson State.

Already a feared pass rusher, his strength has made him an excellent run stuffer at the nose position in 3-4 alignments. He has a tremendous motor in the trenches and is a very intelligent football player. He reads and defines his keys quickly as he reacts to the ball carrier and the quarterback. Off the field, Lawrence is a soft-spoken, friendly guy. He has a calm demeanor which translates well onto the field in pressure situations. When he peers across the line, anticipating what the tackles are going to do, he does so with a calm confidence. Film study is very important part of his game, helping to maintain his edge over the opponents.

Grambling State University
The First Annual Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame Induction
: Grambling State University (GSU) has spawned many great athletes who have made a significant impact on the world of sports. These extraordinary sports legends have set many records that still stand to this day. The Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame spearheaded by James “Shack” Harris (former NFL Pro Bowl MVP) and Doug Williams (former Super Bowl MVP) is committed to ensuring that these legends, their memories and accomplishments are cemented into historical posterity.

On July 18th 2009, the first group of 25 legends will be inducted into the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana. The 25 inductees are; Willis Reed (Basketball), Tommy Agee (Baseball), Ernie Ladd (Football/Wrestling), Henry Dyer (Football), Ralph Garr (Baseball), Charlie Hardnett (Basketball), Robert Hopkins (Basketball), Lane Howell (Football), Stone Johnson (Football/Track), Willie Joseph (Football), Leglian “Boots” Moore (Football), Bo Murray (Football), Helen Richards-Smith (Basketball), Richard Stebbins (Track), Hershell West (Basketball), Willie Young (Football), Tank Younger (Football), Ralph W.E. Jones (College President and Coach), Eddie G. Robinson (Coach), Collie Nicholson (Sports Information Officer), Fred C. Hobdy (Coach), Willie Brown (Football), Buck Buchanan (Football), Willie Davis (Football) and Charlie Joiner (Football).

James "Shack" Harris and Doug Williams

The induction ceremonies will also be broadcast live and will be available to fans and alumni worldwide on Pay per View. For details visit

Delaware State University
DSU's Murray, Holmes earn All-American honors: Delaware State University freshman Leslie Murray has earned All-America recognition after finishing sixth in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2009 NCAA National Track & Field Championships. Murray was clocked at 49.91 seconds in the championship race of the NCAA 400-meter hurdles Friday evening at the University of Arkansas. A native of Beltsville, Md., and U.S. Virgin Islands, Murray set a DSU record in the 400 hurdles with a time of 49.83 seconds in the NCAA championship semi-finals on Thursday.

All-American MEAC 400 meter hurdles champion, Leslie Murray

The 2009 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion in the 400-meter hurdles, Murray is Delaware State's first track & field All-America since the NCAA adopted its current championship format in 2000. Murray's sixth place finish in the 400-meter hurdle final also earned three points for Delaware State in the NCAA team standings, the first for the Hornets in the national championship competition.

Donte Holmes also attained All-America status for his performance at the 2009 NCAA National Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Holmes, a sophomore, was 11th in the semi-finals of the NCAA championship 800-meter run with a time of 1:47.61 last Thursday. He reached the semi-finals with a time of 1:48.05 in the preliminaries the day before. The 2009 MEAC 800-meter champion, Holmes has competed in the NCAA nationals in each of the last two years.

Southern University
Ex-Southern track coach Thomas dies: Johnny Thomas, whose SU men’s and women’s teams won 45 Southwestern Athletic Conference titles in 23 years, died Friday morning after a battle with prostate cancer, leaving many of his former athletes to recall how many lives he had impacted. Funeral arrangements for Thomas are pending, SU sports information director Kevin Manns said.

Pin Tales: Dartmouth High (Mass.) senior heading South on bowling scholarship: It's official. Kate McConnell signed her letter of intent to attend Southern University next fall. She will be attending on a partial bowling scholarship that will pay at least three quarters of her tuition. She's excited. "I"ve been e-mailing every NCAA Division I college bowling coach for the past year," she said, "and got a reply from Southern."

She met the coach last year in Detroit when she bowled (she later dropped out due to an injury) for the Junior Gold Team USA. "I was invited down to Baton Rouge (where the university is located)," she said, "and I liked what I saw." In the meantime, the 18-year-old Dartmouth High School (Massachusetts) senior is looking forward to her second trip to Junior Gold Nationals this July in Indianapolis.

"I have higher hopes this year," said McConnell, "I should be healthy and I'm more mature and I'll give it my best shot." She's been bowling since she was five years old and now bowls in the Wonderbowl Classic Junior League, the A.M. Junior League and the Junior Travel League. She carries a 180 average and has a career-high 268 game and 660 series. Once past the nationals, she can look forward to her trip down to her new school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Savannah State University
SSU names offensive coordinator: Eddie Johnson, who coached Savannah State's wide receivers last season, has been promoted to offensive coordinator, SSU head coach Robby Wells said. Johnson, 40, is in his second season with the program. He also served as the Tigers' strength and conditioning coach last season. In addition to being the offensive coordinator, Johnson will be the quarterbacks coach. He fills the void left by Alan Hall, who resigned in March to become Winston-Salem (N.C.) State's offensive coordinator. Johnson is a native of Cincinnati and a 1993 graduate of Georgetown (Ky.) University. He came to SSU from NCAA Division II Newberry (S.C.) College, where he was the defensive backs coach from 2005-07.

SSU 2009 Football Game Canceled: Because of a scheduling conflict, the football game between Savannah State and North Greenville has been canceled. The teams were supposed to have met October 10 in Savannah. North Greenville will play Samford in a Thursday night game Oct. 8. SSU will not schedule another opponent and will play a 10-game schedule.

Denver Broncos To Honor Shannon Sharpe: The Denver Broncos will honor former tight end Shannon Sharpe by placing him in the Ring of Honor. The ceremony will take place September 20 at halftime of the Denver 2009 home opener against the Cleveland Browns. The Savannah State grad played 12 seasons with the Broncos.

Jenkins' Mahany signs to SSU Baseball: Jenkins senior Chris Mahany wanted to play college baseball and he also wanted to stay close to home. Wednesday he got his wish granted on both fronts as he signed a national letter of intent to continue his career at the next level at Savannah State. "I would say that's probably their best athletic program, their baseball program," Mahany said. "I got a chance to meet the coach and he seems like a pretty cool guy and I should have a fun time over there." In his senior season, the 5-foot-9 Mahany hit .413 with 21 RBIs with five doubles, a triple and a home run in helping the Warriors to a 22-5 record and a Region 3-AAAAA championship. "My strengths, this year, I would say my hitting," Mahany said. "My hitting was real good and my arm, throwing from the outfield, is probably my strong point."

Prairie View A&M University
Cooper-Dyke to be inducted: Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is among the six 2009 inductees to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. An exhibit honoring Sonja Hogg, Jennifer Azzi, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Jennifer Gillom, Jill Hutchison and Ora Washington was unveiled Friday. The class was to be celebrated at a ceremony Saturday night in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Cooper-Dyke won a gold medal in the 1988 Olympics. She was a national champion at Southern California in 1983 and 1984 and a four-time WNBA champion with the Houston Comets. She was the first WNBA player to reach 2,500 points. Cooper-Dyke now coaches at Prairie View A&M. "The players of today don't necessarily see the game the way I saw it," Cooper-Dyke said. "The opportunities that we have now -- 20, 30, 40 years ago they just weren't there."

Bethune Cookman University
Simpson named to NCAA Div. 1 All-American Freshman Team: Courier-Islander, Canada --Campbell River's Ali Simpson, from Bethune Cookman University Wildcats, was honoured last week being named to Louisville Slugger Baseball America - 2009 NCAA Division 1 "All-American" Freshman Team. Last month Simpson was named Rookie of The Year in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference and to the first team All-MEAC honour squad. Simpson and his teammates won their fourth straight MEAC championship ending the year 32-28 with two heart-breaking 8-7 losses in the Gainesville NCAA Division 1 Regional tournament.

The game highlight of the season for Simpson was a 5-2 win over the Miami Hurricanes. The No. 15 Nationally ranked Hurricanes were limited to four hits in 8 1/3 innings by Simpson. On the season, Simpson was 9-2 with a 3.23 ERA, striking out 79 batters in 75 1/3 innings. Simpson allowed 68 hits and only 14 extra base hits through the season ending with seven straight wins and a no-decision at NCAA Regional's last month.

Interview with Bethune-Cookman University All-American and 110 Meter Hurdles NATIONAL CHAMPION, Ronnie Ash at5th Pepsi Florida Relays4/3-4/09.

NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship: The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats men were tied for 23rd with Arizona in the final team standings as the four-day meet concluded Saturday on the John McDonnell Field at the University of Arkansas. The 'cats sophomore sensation All-American, Ronnie Ash smoked the field in the 110-meters hurdles for a first place finish and the national title at a personal best 13.27 seconds at Saturday's finals. Ash also won the indoor title in the event in March. Ash's indoor-outdoor sprint hurdle sweep is just the 14th in NCAA history, the last time coming in 2006 by Tennessee's Aries Merritt.

As a freshman, Ash finished third in the 110 hurdles at last year's outdoor championships behind Jason Richardson, the winner from South Carolina. On Saturday, Ash blew away the Gamecock with his personal-best 13.27 seconds, which also eclipsed Richardson's NCAA-best time of the season. Jason Richardson came in second in 13.49.

In the 200 meters, senior Joel Redhead finished in 8th place with a time of 21.15, ahead of Florida's Jeremy Hall 9th place finish at 21.30 seconds. His semifinal time of 20.49 would have been good enough to beat the 20.55 Charles Clark of Florida State put up to win the final. Redhead accomplishments on the national stage earned him All-American honors on Saturday.

South Carolina State University
South Carolina football to pay out more than $1.2M: South Carolina will pay out more than $1.2 million in guarantees to home football opponents this season, including $800,000 to Florida Atlantic. The payouts were detailed in the athletic department's 2009-10 budget Thursday. South Carolina will pay South Carolina State $230,000 for its Oct. 3 visit this fall. The Gamecock athletic department will also pay $250,000 to Clemson for its annual rivalry game on Nov. 28. South Carolina receives a similar amount when the game is played at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. A season ago, South Carolina paid out $1.18 million in such guarantees.

Alabama State University
RETROSPECT: The Alabama State University Marching Hornets and Stingettes:
Rivalry weekend took on a new meaning when the Alabama State University Marching Hornets came to Tallahassee, Florida to open the 2008 season at Bragg Memorial Stadium and re-new its long time rivalry with FAMU. With the electrifying performance of the Stingettes, this was one of the best performances by a visiting band in Bragg Stadium history. The FAMU Marching 100... as usual, won the half-time competition, but the event overall was worth the price of admission for the fans of HBCU football and bands. Alabama State went on to stomp their SWAC band competition with one of the best ASU bands of the decade. Check those Honey Bees! A-S-U! A-S-U! Go Hornets!

SPECIAL FEATURE: Saint Augustine College Wins D-II Men's National Track Championship.

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Saint Augustine’s College claimed the 4x400 relay in the last event to knock off seven-time defending champion Abilene Christian University and win the men’s national crown Saturday, May 23 at the 2009 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Angelo State University.

The Falcons scored 94 points to beat Abilene Christian, which scored 86. Adams State University was third with 75 and Lincoln (Mo.) University was fourth with 53. In the women’s division, the Lady Falcons placed fifth with 38 points. Lincoln (Mo.) gained the women’s crown with 85, edging Angelo State University with 82. The Falcons won their 10th outdoor men’s title and 31st overall under acclaimed head coach George Williams. This is their first outdoor men’s crown since 2001 when they beat Abilene Christian. Either Saint Augustine’s College or Abilene Christian has won the men’s championship since 1982.

The legendary and Olympic icon, George "Pup" Williams has won 25 NCAA Division II titles during his tenure and has received 90 Coach of the Year honors. His scholarship athletes at St. Augustine's have achieved a 95 percent graduation rate with his CIAA dynasty.

The Falcons, who practiced without a track on campus this season, also won the 2009 Division II national indoor men’s championship in March. They swept both indoor and outdoor men’s national crowns for the first time since 2001. “This is one of the most amazing championships that we’ve won,” Williams said. “We didn’t have a track and the talent pool wasn’t there like in the past but everything paid off.”

Both teams were tied at 84 points heading into the last event, setting the stage for a dramatic finish similar to 1994 when the Falcons won by one point over ACU, 118-117. But the Falcons outran the Wildcats in the 4x400 relay to take the crown. The foursome of Alvin Miles (Sr./Kingsville, Texas), Randy Curry (Sr./Atlanta, Ga.), Antonio Abney (Soph./Willingboro, N.J.) and Rashaud Johnston (Sr./St. Louis, Mo.) finished first in 3:06.90 while the Wildcats were seventh.

Miles replaced an injured Scott, who along with the other Falcon trio set the Division II national mark in the 4x400 (3:02.10) at the Penn Relays in April. Saint Augustine’s College also produced three individual national champions at the championship meet. Scott became the first Falcon since 1998 to win the men’s 400 dash. Scott beat Dane Hyatt of Lincoln (Mo.) University 45.41 to 45.77 Saturday for his first outdoor 400 title. Ledford Green of Johnson C. Smith University was third in 46.26.

Angelique Smith (Fr./Union City, Calif.) won her first outdoor title when she defeated Kim Prather of Abilene Christian in the women’s 400 dash Saturday. Smith edged Prather across the finish line 54.43 to 54.44.

On Thursday, Joe Kindred (Sr./Fuquay-Varina, N.C.) became a two-time winner in the men’s high jump. Kindred leaped 7-2.25 to defeat Oliver Harsanyi of Western State, who jumped 7-1. Chris Copeland (Fr./Suffolk, Va.) of the Falcons took third at 6-11.75. Kindred, named Division II national and regional outdoor male field athlete of the year, also placed second in the men’s triple jump and third in the men’s long jump.

Barbara Pierre (Jr./Winter Haven, Fla.) placed second Saturday in the women’s 100 dash, snapping her two-year title run in the event. Samoy Hackett of Lincoln (Mo.) was the winner, tying the Division II national record of 11.18 Saturday which Pierre set two days ago in the qualifying round. Pierre ran a time of 11.22 in the finals. She also placed second in the 200. Ramon Gittens (Soph./St. Michael, Barbados) was second Saturday in the men’s 100 dash, finishing in 10.18. Kawayne Fisher of Lincoln (Mo.) won the race in 10.15.

--Courtesy of Saint Augustine Athletics