Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gateway Classic founder Earl Wilson Jr. passes torch to son

In a bustling kitchen, Earl Wilson Jr. searched for a little elbow room to cut the cakes for his community Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday. One of the women in the kitchen looked at him and said, “Don’t mess with the cake, Earl.” She shooed him out back to the barbeque pit. According to his apron, which read “Earl, BBQ King,” that’s where he belonged. The St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation, which Wilson founded, hosts a dinner for the needy every November. That’s in addition to investing $2.6 million in scholarship funds to send more than a hundred students to college during the organization’s 16 years.

The foundation has invested even more in assisting youth-related programs. Throughout the year, it sponsors its namesake HBCU football game, an amateur boxing tournament, high school basketball match-ups, a scholarship golf tournament, the Miss Gateway Classic Scholarship pageant and a local Walk of Fame inauguration. “If you asked me what Gateway Classic is about, I’d say it’s about giving back,” Wilson said. The foundation doesn’t receive grants, he said. About 80 percent of the funding is raised through ticket sales at the sporting events. He runs the foundation by a mantra of self-sufficiency and integrity. “Don’t sell out, don’t cop out, stay the course,” he said. “The course needs people with commitment.”


Welcome to the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation

Alabama-Birmingham 90, Florida A&M 59

Howard Crawford leads UAB to win over Florida A&M

UAB spent the early part of the basketball season sharing the role of go-to guy. On Saturday night, it was Howard Crawford’s turn again. The 6-foot-8 senior scored a career-high 26 points and added a team­high eight rebounds to lead UAB to a 90-59 non-confer­ence victory over Florida A&M before a Bartow Arena crowd of 3,860. It was the second con­secutive Saturday that Crawford set a career high in points. Last Saturday, he scored 21 points in a 72-56 win over Georgia. He fol­lowed that by making only 3-of-9 shots from the field against Troy and finishing with nine points.

Eugene Harris may have inherited a mess when he accepted the position of head basketball coach at Florida A&M on the eve of the 2007-08 season. But, Harris is seven games into his third season and sports a 0-7 record and 25-45 career mark in 70 games. Coach Harris is proving to be unable to recruit blue chip players, especially a mobile 6'-10"+ center --with a brand new 10,000 seat facility with three practice courts, that is second to none in the Southeast. The question of the day--when will FAMU President James Ammons get the message that the Rattler fans wants a winner and Harris is unable to deliver!

“It’s the first time in his career to be the guy,” said UAB head coach Mike Da­vis. “He’s going to have his good nights and bad nights while he adjusts. I just told him to keep playing.” It was a good night for Crawford against a Florida A&M team that was consid­erably smaller than the Blazers. Crawford shot 4-of-5 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line on his way to 14 first­half points. He added five rebounds as UAB (6-1) built a 38-23 halftime lead. In the second half, Craw­ford was 4-of-5 from the field again and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. He tied a season high with eight re­bounds overall, matching his total against Troy.

The Alfred Lawson Multipurpose Center may not see a victory until Division II Albany State (Ga.) visits on 12/19/09. The Rattlers are expected to be 0-11 by then, with losses at Florida, FIU, at BCU and Georgia State. For sure, the Rattlers will not be returning to the big dance under this coaching staff nor will they finish with a .500 record under Coach Harris.


The Harris File:
15-17 (2007-08)
10-21 (2008-09)
0-7 (2009-10)


Florida A&M reached the NCAA tournament in 2006-07, but has been in a state of disarray ever since due to what Coach Eugene Harris indicates was a poor job of recruiting during that championship season. Harris personally recruited every player on the Rattlers roster that is being blown out by Mid-Major teams that FAMU should be competitive. Even with the mess, Harris was able to win 15 games with Coach Mike Gillespie's players. What's his excuse for going 10-28 with his own recruits?

Florida A&M - Team Notes -

Appalachian State 20, South Carolina State 13

Is ASU's dominance at an end?

The Appalachian State football dynasty has been built on several factors, including the decision of coach Jerry Moore and his staff several years ago to commit to the spread offense, the successful recruiting of athletes who can play that style, a loyal, talented coaching staff that provides continuity and the full backing of an administration that has figured out how vital a successful football program can be for the entire university. Since 2006 the Mountaineers are 62-11, won three consecutive national championships (2006-08), four Southern Conference titles (stretching that domination to five straight league crowns) and have posted a 14-1 record in the playoffs.

Will Ford's college career comes to a sudden, crashing halt

BOONE, N.C. — The end came sooner for Will Ford than it ultimately did for South Carolina State Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. It came with 2:04 remaining and the Bulldogs trying to drive downfield for the go-ahead score against Appalachian State. With the Mountaineers’ defense shutting down the Bulldogs’ rushing game, Ford looked to catch a short pass from quarterback Malcolm Long for a first down. Ford was tackled two yards shy of the first down and began to favor his left knee.

The team trainers rushed to the field and helped carry the all-time Bulldog and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rushing leader to the sidelines. As Ford cheered the team from the training table with his sprained knee wrapped in ice, little did he realize it was the last time he would carry the football in college. For the Travelers Rest native, how the Bulldogs lost 20-13 to Appalachian State was less important than seeing his prolific college career abruptly end.

South Carolina State Bulldogs Quarterback Malcolm Long was 18 of 36 for 189 yards and a season-high three interceptions against Appalachian State.

Mountaineers benefit from SC State error to break tie

BOONE, N.C. - As S.C. State was lining up for a fourth-quarter field-goal attempt that could have put the continuation of Appalachian State's football season in grave danger, Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore was studying his notes in preparation for one, maybe two more possessions. The score was tied, the Bulldogs were staring at a 41-yard field-goal attempt and the Mountaineers were in trouble.

When Moore looked up, the ball was loose, Appalachian State's Dominique McDuffie was scooping it up and on his way to a 50-yard touchdown run with 7minutes, 42seconds remaining that proved to be the difference in the Mountaineers' tough 20-13 victory Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. In a game littered with 10 turnovers - five by each team - Appalachian State (10-2) was able to advance to a quarterfinal game next Saturday at Richmond. "When you're in a playoff run, you've got to be good enough, some would say lucky enough, to win a ballgame like today," Moore said.

Attendance: 12,216 (56% of Capacity) @ Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, N.C. (Capacity: 21,650).

Richmond, Appalachian State meet again

Again, they meet. For the third time in three years, the University of Richmond will face Appalachian State in the FCS playoffs. The Mountaineers visit UR Stadium on Saturday in the FCS quarterfinals (time to be determined). The teams combined to win the past four FCS titles. The Mountaineers captured national championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007. UR won last season. "I think it's going to be an incredible physical battle," said Elon coach Pete Lembo, whose Phoenix fell 27-10 to Appalachian two weeks ago, and to the Spiders 16-13 yesterday.

"These are two big, strong, physical teams. I think they're two teams with corners that can really cover and obviously quarterbacks that are winners. [ASU's Armanti Edwards and UR's Eric Ward] just find a way to make plays." Richmond (11-1) gets home-field advantage as the fourth seed in the FCS tournament. Unseeded Appalachian (10-2) has won 10 straight after opening with losses to East Carolina (29-24) and McNeese State (40-35). ASU hasn't played a playoff game on the road since 2001.

Bulldogs await next group of leaders

BOONE, N.C. - Another year, another difficult loss at the hands of perennial FCS power Appalachian State. S.C. State coach Buddy Pough wasn't ready to look ahead after Saturday's 20-13 loss to the Mountaineers, but he realizes the Bulldogs have established themselves as a power as well. The two-time defending MEAC champions just haven't quite been able to get past ASU. He's losing two great offensive players in running back Will Ford and receiver Tre Young, the leading rusher and pass catcher, respectively, in school history. But he isn't concerned about a big drop-off in talent in Orangeburg. "We'll be OK," Pough said. "The good thing about being a decent program is you'll lose good players every year, but as you lose them, other guys are waiting in the wings to take those responsibilities."


Appalachian begins playoffs with 20-13 win over SC State
It's a tough way to lose a football game
Key turnover lifts ASU past South Carolina State
Area players keep SC State on top
Bulldogs no easy mark for ASU
A playoff win means stopping Edwards
Bulldogs fall to Mountaineers 20-13 in FCS playoffs

2009 Bayou Classic: Battle of the Bands - Grambling State vs. Southern University

Bayou Classic: Grambling State 31, Southern 13

Coach Rod Broadway is 2-1 in Bayou Classic wins.

Grambling grounds Southern

NEW ORLEANS — Grambling ran its way to a second Bayou Classic victory in as many years — and fifth since 2000. Frank Warren led all GSU rushers with 166 yards and two touchdowns in an eventual 31-13 win over Southern, its in-state Southwestern Athletic Conference rival. "That was the plan, to give it to Frank and (fellow junior running back) Cornelius (Walker), and let them take it over," said junior GSU quarterback Greg Dillon. Grambling's 53 rush attempts were most all year; its 308 yards were also a season high. Every GSU touchdown came on the ground. "Our offensive line really did an outstanding job," said Grambling coach Rod Broadway, now 2-1 against Southern. "Any time you rush for that many yards, you're doing something right." A game featuring teams tied at 18-18 all time in the Dome — and 4-4 in the 2000s — played as scripted, with Grambling and Southern trading pairs of touchdowns in the first half.

Grambling attack well-grounded

NEW ORLEANS — Grambling played a game of keep-away in its 31-13 victory against Southern in the Bayou Classic on Saturday afternoon in the Superdome. The Tigers ran for 308 yards and all four of their touchdowns as they exceeded even their league-leading rushing standards. Grambling, which came in averaging 178.4 rushing yards per game, had more running plays (58) than the Jaguars had total plays (56), enabling it to possess the ball for 37:01 while running 85 total plays. “We wanted to keep their offense on the sideline because they’re explosive and are capable of making big plays,” Grambling coach Rob Broadway said of Southern. “Any time you rush for 308 yards, your offensive line is doing a great job.” The offensive line sprung Frank Warren, the SWAC’s third-leading rusher, for 166 yards and touchdown runs of 13 and 1 yards on 24 carries. Cornelius Walker, the SWAC’s fifth-leading rusher, ran for 57 yards on 11 carries.

Photos: Grambling 31, Southern 13

Bayou domination

NEW ORLEANS — With 1:06 remaining in the biggest game of the season, just after the final timeout of the Bayou Classic, Grambling’s offense emerged from the west sideline of the Superdome, full of life and sure of its fate. A crowd of 53,618 fans had looked on as the Tigers spent much of their Saturday pounding Southern University at the line of scrimmage. They sensed victory. In a 31-13 win, all that remained was the final blow. Behind the west sideline, Grambling fans waved their arms in celebration, and the World Famed Band screamed right along. Offensive lineman Keir Boyd skipped and danced his way to the Jaguars’ 1-yard line, ready for more. A few feet behind the line of scrimmage, tailback Frank Warren prepared for his last handoff.

Attendance: 53,618@Louisiana Super Dome, New Orleans, LA


SU injuries, GSU defense slow Jaguars
GSU wins inside battle
How They Scored: Southern-Grambling
Jaguars squander shot at first win
SU women succumb to deeper Cal team
Wofford trips up Southern men
SU women lose guard Aerica Hicks
Reliant no longer option for SU-Texas Southern
Pride main thing on the line for Bayou Classic

Appalachian State 93, Morgan State 92

Photo Album
Final Stats (.html)
Final Stats (.pdf)

Appalachian State beats Morgan State 93-92 in OT

BOONE, N.C. — Andre Williamson sank a free throw with 18 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Appalachian State to a 93-92 win over Morgan State on Saturday night. Williamson, who went 9-for-10 from the free throw line, was fouled after grabbing a defensive rebound. He missed the first attempt, then sank the second for the game-winner. Williamson finished with 13 points. Donald Sims, who led the Mountaineers (2-3) with 19 points, hit two free throws to tie the game 90-90.

Booth, Williamson lift Mountaineers over Morgan State

Appalachian State had been down the road of overtime before, but could not beat Arkansas. Faced with overtime again, the Mountaineers beat a team that beat Arkansas. Appalachian State got a clutch 3-point shot from Jeremi Booth to tie Morgan State, and then nailed 8-of-10 foul shots in the overtime period to beat the Bears 93-92 in front of 1,576 fans at the Holmes Center Saturday night. Morgan State (4-2), which beat Arkansas 97-94 on Nov. 24, held an 80-75 lead with 38.7 seconds left after Reggie Holmes hit one of two free throws. But Appalachian State (3-3) responded with a 3-pointer from Donald Sims, and a foul shot by Sims on the Mountaineers' next two possessions to close to within 80-79.

After Troy Smith canned two free throws for Morgan State, Jeremi Booth nailed a 3-pointer from the left side of the court to tie the game at 82-82 with .7 seconds left in regulation. "Sims got me the ball and I was open," Booth said. "I let it go and fortunately it went in." Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman blamed a mental breakdown on defense as the reason Booth was open along the perimeter. The Bears guarded Sims, but backed off of Booth when he got the ball. "We were backing off the guy at the end there," Bozeman said. "We generally are pretty good at guarding the 3-point line. But to be backing off the guy, it's like a sin in our book. We backed off and that's a mental breakdown. Basically we relaxed."



Mountaineers benefit from SC State error to break tie
App State Advances to 2nd Round of NCAA Playoffs
Key turnover lifts ASU past South Carolina State
Lack of mobility limits Edwards
QB Edwards Enters ASU a Leader, Leaves a Legend
Edwards earns socon award
Bulldogs await next group of leaders
It's a tough way to lose a football game

2009 Lonestar Classic: Texas Southern vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff M4

Seminole Classic: Auburn 69, Florida A&M 45

AU Tigers own second half in win over FAMU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Auburn outscored Florida A&M in the second half, extending a 4-point halftime lead to a 69-45 rout in the second game of the 2009 Seminole Classic, hosted by Florida State. Auburn senior KeKe Carrier tallied the team’s first double-double of the season, scoring 17 points while pulling down 12 rebounds, to lead the Tigers against the Rattlers. The game was Auburn’s second in as many days after its 82-67 loss to host Florida State on Friday. Auburn scored the first 10 points of the game and extended it to a 14-point lead at 22-8 with 10:53 left to play in the opening period.

Florida A&M rallied back to cut it to 2 in the final minute, but a Pascale West jumper with 25 seconds left game Auburn the 31-27 lead at halftime. Auburn shot just 36.1 percent from the field in the game. The Tigers also hit 54.3 percent of their free throws. Deidra Jones led Florida A&M with 16 points while Antonia Bennett and Christian Rateree added seven points each. Qiana Donald posted a team-high 12 rebounds. The Tigers held the Rattlers to 26.9 shooting in the game and only six field goals in the second half. Auburn also out-rebounded Florida A&M, 56-42.

Next Game: Tuesday - Auburn at North Carolina A&T, Corbett Sports Complex, 6 p.m., Greensboro, N.C.

Auburn takes care of FAMU women

If LeDawn Gibson needed an explanation for the offensive shortcomings of her FAMU women's basketball team, she had plenty after Saturday's 69-45 loss to Auburn. For one, she could have pointed to the Rattlers' tenacious effort in the Seminole Classic a day earlier against Missouri to explain why they were flat-footed all night at the Civic Center. Then, there was Auburn's 6-foot-7 senior Keke Carrier for FAMU to contend with in the post. Considering Carrier scored the Tigers' first double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) of the season, it certainly wouldn't have been a reach to say she was too much for FAMU.

Instead, Gibson chose to look at the first-half comeback by FAMU (3-2) as a good sign. The second half? Well, that segment of the game film will be reviewed plenty of times. "We are not going to use being tired as an excuse," said Gibson, whose team's next assignment is against the Florida Gators on Tuesday. "We just have to dig deep within ourselves and figure out what it's going to take to push through."

Next Game: Tuesday - FAMU at Florida, 4:30 p.m., Gainesville, FL

Missouri women's basketball sneaks in a road win

The Thanksgiving dinner the Missouri women’s basketball team enjoyed Wednesday evening at coach Cindy Stein's house before traveling to to Tallahassee, Fla., to play in the Seminole Classic at Florida State might have slowed down the Tigers in their game Friday. Stein said her team looked sluggish against Florida A&M, but the Tigers still sneaked past the Rattlers 69-65 to improve to 3-1. “Not a very impressive victory,” Stein said on a radio broadcast after the game.

The Tigers committed 19 turnovers, while forcing 16. Stein pointed out that her team has been working rigorously on its defense and free-throw shooting, but that it didn’t show in the game. Missouri shot just 53.8 percent from the line. “We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas,” Stein said. Missouri led by as many as 11 in the first half, but the Rattlers were able to make a game of it, tying at 53 with just over 10 minutes left. The Rattlers never were able to take the lead.

The Rattlers' Deidra Jones frustrated the Tigers all game long, scoring a game-high 33 points, while shooting 15-for-17 from the line. The Tigers' Amanda Hanneman continued her three-point shooting prowess, connecting on four from behind the arc and finishing with 13 points. “We want her to have the green light. We don’t expect her to miss much,” Stein said of Hanneman.

FAMU turnovers give Missouri 69-65 win

Just before FAMU took the floor at the Civic Center, coach LeDawn Gibson reminded senior guard Deidra Jones of the kind of practice she had the day before. She was pounding the ball up the middle, hounding it whenever it wasn't in her hand and knocking down her shots from the free-throw line. Jones did all that and scored a career-high 33 points Friday night. In the end, though, four turnovers during the closing minutes and the Tigers' accuracy at the free-throw line were too much as the Rattlers fell 69-65.

They tried hard to avert their first loss of the season, hanging around all night with Missouri, which had its biggest lead of 11 points late in the first half. Jones scored 21 points in the second half, including a jumper with 9:24 left to force the last of five ties, 55-55. "She just put the team on her back," said Gibson. "I knew what she is capable of doing but I never saw her do it. She just stepped out."


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Day Classic: Tuskegee 21, Alabama State 0

Tuskegee University's Willie Slater is 45-5 as a head coach, has won a black college national title and four SIAC conference titles in his four-year tenure as a head coach. Prior, Slater had been named the national assistant coach of the year in D-II five times and won five D-II national titles at North Alabama (3) and Troy (2). In Slater 29 year career, he has served as an offensive coordinator at the I-A, I-AA and D-II levels at Temple, Jacksonville State, North Alabama, West Alabama and Troy University.

Photo Galleries
Tuskegee defeats ASU
Turkey Day Parade

Tuskegee chows down on Hornets in Turkey Day Classic

Malcolm Crutchfield held Tuskegee's defensive log aloft, proud of what the Golden Tigers had just accomplished and eager for the next inscription that will be made on the wood. One side reads "Dirty D" and another has "we lay that wood," but the third side is where Tus­kegee has made regular marks. It's where the names of the teams the Tigers have beaten goes. "We started it two years ago and it's something we hope Tus­kegee keeps doing," said Crutch­field, a defensive lineman. "Ev­ery year, we're going to keep this legacy up." Tuskegee may need extra room to sear Alabama State's name into the lumber after a re­cord-setting 21-0 victory over the Hornets on Thursday at Cramton Bowl.

The Tigers, inspired by the controversial ending to last sea­son's Turkey Day Classic, set a school record for rushing de­fense by holding ASU to minus-57 yards rushing. Where Tuskegee saved pic­tures of a disputed last-minute play in last year's 17-13 loss, the Tigers will simply swing their stick and gloat in how they dom­inated Thursday. "How about a goose egg?" de­fensive end Darian Barnes said. "We don't make any excuses about last year, the bad call and the controversy. It was just mo­tivation for us to come out and do what we did today. "If you play like that, you don't have to worry about it coming down to one play." Tuskegee (9-2) had nine sacks, including three by Barnes, and held ASU (4-7) to 51 yards total offense. The Hornets (4-7) never crossed the Tuskegee 35-yard line.

Coaching makes Golden Tigers winners

Prior to each year's Turkey Day Classic, without fail, whoever happens to be Tuskegee's head coach will tell the media that the Golden Ti­gers' upcoming matchup with Alabama State will be a "mea­suring stick" for their program. It's not. Maybe it once was, but now, if anything, it's the other way around. Forget that Tuskegee is a Di­vision II program and ASU is a Division I-AA team. Those dis­tinctions and the scholarships that accompany each -- 36 for Division II, 63 for I-AA teams -- take a backseat to the most im­portant characteristic of an up­per-level football program.

Good coaching. Nothing matters more. Tuskegee 21, ASU 0 is all the proof you need of that. For most of the 86th Turkey Day Classic, the Golden Tigers provided an up-close look at what a fundamentally sound, well-coached college football team looks like. They rarely made dumb decisions. They did all the little things right. And they never seemed confused by a situation or unsure of how to re­act. By contrast, ASU was an ut­ter mess. There were penalties all over the place. There seemed to be mass confusion at times. And the Hornets never seemed to have an offensive clue.

TURKEY DAY CLASSIC NOTEBOOK: Tuskegee cornerback gets in second half

Tuskegee star cornerback Justin Hannah couldn't han­dle standing on the sidelines, so he convinced his coaches that his injury wasn't as bad as ini­tially believed. Hannah missed practice all week with a hip flexor injury and didn't play in the first half Thursday, but he got on the field during the second half of the Golden Tigers' 21-0 win over Alabama State. "I had to be out there," Han­nah said. "I was all about sup­porting our team and I was over there in the first half doing ev­erything I could to encourage them. I hope they fed off my en­ergy."

Hannah, a co-defensive play­er of the year in the Southern In­tercollegiate Athletic Confer­ence, recorded one tackle. Teams avoided him in Tuske­gee's first 10 games. Hannah had 38 tackles and three intercep­tions entering Thursday. "He wanted to play the first half, but we have a rule: no prac­tice, no play," Tuskegee coach Willie Slater said. "Out of re­spect to him, we let him play in the second half."

Attendance: 15,632@ Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL (ESPNU Nationally Televised Game)

Season Records: Tuskegee Golden Tigers 10-2, SIAC Champions; Alabama State Hornets 4-7, 1-6 SWAC.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

MEAC power Morgan State -- No Cupcake for Majors

Morgan State stuns Arkansas, ends Razorbacks' 45-game home win streak

First win over SEC team in MSU school history.

Having come up nine points short against 20th-ranked Louisville Sunday night, Morgan State's Reggie Holmes was determined to redeem himself against Arkansas Tuesday and did so in a spectacular way. Holmes hit two free throws with 6.3 seconds left and held his breath as Rotnei Clark's 3-pointer clanged off iron before celebrating a wild 97-94 upset of the Razorbacks. The victory before 7,500 fans snapped Arkansas' 45-game home win streak at Bud Walton Arena against non-conference opponents, the second longest in the nation. Holmes finished the game with 34 points. In Sunday's 90-81 loss to Louisville, Holmes scored only nine points before he, Kevin Thompson, DeWayne Jackson and Rodney Stokes all fouled out.

"I'm proud of my guys, it was a hard fought victory," MSU head coach Todd Bozeman told the Morgan State sports information office. "I thought in the first half we fouled a lot, and we just came off a game where a team shot 41 free throws against us. It looked as though we were going in that direction, but they shot 45 and we ended up shooting 41." Indeed, the Bears hit 34 of 41 free throws, while the Razorbacks (2-2) made 35 of their 45 attempts. Joe Davis came off the bench to score 18 points for the Bears (4-1), while Thompson had a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Morgan State Bears upend Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE, AR — Morgan State's Bears aren't just better than Arkansas comparing scores with Louisville. They are just better than Arkansas. They proved it head to head Tuesday night, beating the Razorbacks 97-94 at Walton Arena. Rotnei Clarke, hitting threes with 14.5 and 6.5 seconds left to keep the Hogs in it, air-balled his last desperate try at a tying trey as time expired. That enabled the two free throws Reggie Holmes sank at 6.3 seconds to give the Bears their final victory margin. It was the last thing Holmes did to achieve victory but hardly the first. Holmes scored a game-high 34 points including 4 of 4 free throws in the final 13 seconds. Morgan State, which had lost 90-81 to Louisville in Louisville compared to Arkansas' 96-66 loss to Louisville in neutral site St. Louis, advances to 4-1. The Razorbacks fall to 2-2

Louisville basketball downs Morgan State 90-81

With eight freshmen or sophomores on the roster, University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino doesn't expect huge strides from game to game. “Baby steps,” Pitino said on Sunday. The Cardinals took a few more of those baby steps, using better shot selection and some timely defense to beat Morgan State 90-81 for a second win in less than 24 hours before 18,942 fans in Freedom Hall. U of L led by 16 points and was really never threatened. “We're learning and getting better,” Pitino said. “This was a better performance tonight in terms of what we tried to accomplish. We did a nice job.”

The Bears (3-1), who made the NCAA Tournament last season, made just 29 of 71 shots (40.8 percent), including 5 of 20 three-point tries (25 percent). “Louisville is a very good team,” said Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman, the former coach at California. “They're going to have an outstanding season. I'm just glad we don't have to play them again.”

Armed with a new five year contract, Coach Todd Bozeman Bears goes after a 30 win season, another MEAC title and NCAA tournament berth. The Bears were 23-12 last season with signature wins at Maryland, DePaul and Marshall. Bozeman has a career record of 62-42 at MSU and MEAC record of 37-13. Known as a strong recruiter, in four seasons as head coach at the University of California - Berkeley, he lead the Golden Bears to a 63-35 record (64.3 pct.), three NCAA Tournament bids in four years, and was the youngest coach to ever reach the NCAA "Sweet Sixteen".

Photo Gallery: Morgan State at UofL
Photo Gallery: Morgan State at UofL 2
Game stats: U of L vs. Morgan State (11/22/09)

Holmes scores career-high 30 to lead Morgan State to 72-61 win over East Tenessee State ...

BALTIMORE, MD — Reggie Holmes scored a career-high 30 points and Morgan State beat East Tennessee State 72-61 on Thursday night. Holmes was 9-for-18 from the field, including 4-for-9 on 3-point attempts for the Bears (3-0). He also had three steals. Rodney Stokes added 12 points for the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions. The Bears led by as many as 18 points in the first half and built a 22-point advantage in the second half before the Buccaneers began to chip away. Tommy Hubbard had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Buccaneers (1-2), playing their second of three straight games against 2009 NCAA tournament participants.

Photo Gallery: Bear Shots

Morgan State beats UAlbany 69-65

First season opener win since 1988.
ALBANY Senior guard Reggie Holmes scored 23 points to lead Morgan State to a 69-65 victory over the University at Albany in the Great Danes home opener at SEFCU Arena on Friday night. UAlbany (0-2) held a 60-56 lead but went the final 7 minutes, 40 seconds without a field goal. Junior guard Tim Ambrose scored 21 points and senior forward Will Harris added 18 points for the Great Danes, who committed 20 turnovers that led to 28 Morgan State points. The Bears (1-0), the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, won their opening game for the first time since 1988.

UAlbany-Morgan State postgame thoughts

Here are some comments from UAlbany coach Will Brown and others after the Great Danes dropped their home opener 69-65 to Morgan State before 3,434 fans at SEFCU Arena. “I can’t be upset,” Brown said. “I told our guys in the locker room, I think we did a lot of good things against a quality, quality team.” Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said he was touched by a text message he got before the game from freshman forward Anthony Anderson, who is battling leukemia. Morgan State’s players were wearing patches with Anderson’s No. 4 in his honor. Anderson is undergoing chemotherapy.

“He texted us this morning and told us that he loved us and he wanted to go out and play hard,” Bozeman said. “And at the end, he said, ‘Remember fellas, we’re grinders.’ And it just broke my heart. The kid’s a great kid, 19 years old … That’s kind of what was on our mind there. Those guys fought hard to not let big Anthony down.”

Morgan State - Team Notes -

When Todd Bozeman got to Morgan State, the Bears had never been to the NCAA Tournament, won a conference championship or even played in the title game of the MEAC tourney. Three years later, Morgan State has done all of that, and is favored in the preseason poll to do it again. Bozeman has achieved that feat by instituting a tough-minded culture, targeting talent from the surrounding Baltimore area in recruiting and taking on other schools from around the state of Maryland.

This season, a 1-2 punch of Reggie Holmes and Kevin Thompson leads the way for the Bears. Holmes, a 6-4 guard, is a first team all-conference selection who led the team in scoring and played more than 1,000 minutes last season. Thompson was one of the league's top newcomers as a redshirt freshman and was third in the league in rebounding. Bozeman adds junior college transfer Danny Smith to the mix to replace departed starter Itchy Bolden. Big man Rodney Stokes returns at the five spot.Troy Smith and Ameer Ali also return to the roster, as does sophomore guard Sean Thomas. The X-factor is Joe Davis, active after transferring to the Bears last season from Cleveland State.

Morgan plays for ailing teammate, Anthony Anderson

Morgan State is chafing to step onto the basketball court, having reached the NCAA tournament for the first time last year, where the perks piqued the Bears' appetite. "We had charter flights [to the game], police escorts to practice and workouts in front of the national media," said Ameer Ali, a sophomore forward. "Once you've been, there's no turning back." But Morgan is really driven by a deeper cause. The Bears, 23-12 last year, have dedicated their season to one of their own, 6-foot-10 Anthony Anderson, who was diagnosed with leukemia last month.

Anderson, a redshirt freshman from Southern Maryland's La Plata High School (Charles County, Maryland) who was expected to contribute off the bench this season, is undergoing chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital, coach Todd Bozeman said. His prognosis is not known. "Anthony is going through a form of treatment right now, but the family wants to keep the particulars private," said Leonard Haynes, a Morgan spokesman. The Bears, two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, have rallied around Anderson. "The whole team went to the hospital and stood in his room as the doctor explained how he was going to treat him," Bozeman said. "Everybody loves 'Big Ant.' "


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Savannah State athletic director chosen as new Southeastern Louisiana A.D.

Former A.D. W.Bart Bellairs leaves SSU Tigers for Southeastern Louisiana University Lions and Southland Conference.

SSU names interim AD

Savannah State University named Marilynn Stacey-Suggs interim athletics director on Tuesday. Stacey-Suggs, SSU’s Assistant Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator, replaces Bart Bellairs, who was hired as athletics director at Southeastern Louisiana University on Monday. Bellairs was introduced as Southeastern Louisiana’s athletic director Tuesday during a news conference in Hammond, La. Stacey-Suggs, a native of Reidsville, N.C., earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Winston-Salem State University in 1980. She earned an associate in arts degree from Fayetteville Technical Community College in funeral service education in 1983.

SSU athletic director resigns

Bart Bellairs told the Savannah Morning News that he resigned Monday as Savannah State University's athletic director, a position he held since May 20, 2008. During a 3 p.m. telephone interview, Bellairs said he would inform his staff during an athletic department meeting at 4 p.m. Monday. "I am leaving Savannah State University, but I am not confirming where I'm going at this time," Bellairs said. Bellairs, 53, is the first white athletic director at SSU, a historically black university that began playing sports in 1915.

"It's a family thing," said Bellairs, whose wife, Jacki, and four school-age children remained in Lexington, Va., after he accepted the job at SSU. "It's because of my family. I've loved my time here, but I'm a family man and it's always been about my family." SSU paid Bellairs $110,000 annually. He was chosen among 32 applicants to become the Tigers' 15th athletic director.

Bart Bellairs Named Director Of Athletics At Southeastern

HAMMOND, LA – W. Bart Bellairs, former director of intercollegiate athletics at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga., and a senior athletics administrator at Virginia Military Institute has been selected to serve as director of athletics at Southeastern Louisiana University, it was announced today (Nov.24). His appointment is contingent upon final approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. He is expected to join the Southeastern staff in early January.

“I liked what I saw at Southeastern from the start but when my wife Jacki and I met the people, we knew we had found a home,” Bellairs said. “My whole life I have spent time in college towns; growing up, as a coach, and as an administrator, and I have been blessed by living in some great places. When I started preparing for the interview I was very impressed with the campus and the attention Southeastern paid to supporting the students; but when I met the people -- the faculty, coaches, and members of the community – I wanted to be a part of it.”

At Southeastern, Bellairs will oversee 15 NCAA Division I affiliated programs that compete in the Southland Conference. Bellairs had been at Savannah State, an NCAA Division I program, with 15 teams, since July 2008.


Bethune-Cookman makes quick, boneheaded decision on Coach Wyatt

Coach Alvin "Shine" Wyatt, Sr., winningest coach in B-CU history, ends 13 year run with a 90-54 football record, two MEAC Championships, and two NCAA FCS Playoff appearances. Wyatt also served for 18 years as the Wildcats women basketball coach finishing with a 260-200 record and two MEAC championships.

B-CU fires coach

DAYTONA BEACH -- The Alvin Wyatt era came to an end Monday when Bethune-Cookman University fired the Wildcats' all-time wins leader, the only head football coach to take B-CU to consecutive playoff appearances and the school's only coach to defeat archrival Florida A&M three straight seasons. Wyatt's 13-year run -- the longest tenure in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference -- ended about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

B-CU athletics director Lynn Thompson summoned Wyatt and told him the news in a face-to-face meeting. "It was one of the toughest situations I've ever been in professionally, having to have that conversation with Alvin Wyatt," Thompson said. "It's been a 13-year career that's included some great accomplishments. But after meeting with the administration, looking at the future, it was decided we needed to begin moving in another direction immediately."

B-CU has big shoes to fill after firing Wyatt

Gotta admit, when Alvin Wyatt was first promoted to Bethune-Cookman head coach 13 years ago, I considered it a punt. But staying in-house with that hire seemed to make sense at the time -- go with familiarity, save a little money in the process, and learn to be happy with four or six wins each year until further notice. The first two assumptions might've been correct, but Wyatt proved to be anything but a caretaker or babysitter for a program that, at that time, was in awkward shape (to put it nicely).

Wyatt hit the ground running -- literally. He employed an option-style offense and, when the blocking was decent and the quarterback sharp and athletic, the Wildcats could run an opposing defense into the ground. But a turnaround in a program, while always welcomed, also breeds expectations, and for a variety of reasons (speculation on the message boards runs the gamut) those expectations haven't been met the past four years.

Wyatt Won't Return as B-CU's Coach

DAYTONA BEACH Bethune-Cookman University will not renew head football coach Alvin Wyatt's contract. The school announced its decision Monday, two days after a 42-6 loss to Florida A&M. Bethune-Cookman Athletics Director Lynn W. Thompson says a national search for Wyatt's replacement will begin immediately. The assistant coaching staff will remain intact until the new coach is named. Bethune-Cookman finished this season with a 5-6 record, the third losing season in the past four years. The team went 8-3 in 2008. Wyatt coached 13 seasons at Bethune-Cookman with an overall record of 90-54.


Bethune-Cookman releases football coach Wyatt
· Bethune-Cookman fires football coach Wyatt
Wyatt Won't Return as B-CU's Coach

Sunday, November 22, 2009

FAMU Volleyball wins 9th Straight MEAC Championship

MEAC Player of the Year, Jovanna Blazeski leads Florida A&M Lady Rattlers to 9th consecutive MEAC Championship and 2009 NCAA Tournament.

FAMU claims ninth straight MEAC volleyball title

Jovanna Blazeski pounded out 16 kills and Jessica Bond dished out 41 assists to help Florida A&M defeat Maryland-Eastern Shore in four sets for the MEAC volleyball title at Coppin Center in Baltimore Sunday. The Rattlers (17-8) won 25-17, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23 to claim its ninth consecutive championship. Maria Gomez had 15 kills for FAMU and Susan Egoavil scooped up 16 digs, one of four players in double figures in digs for the Rattlers. As a team, FAMU edged the Lady Hawks 61-56 in digs.


Box Score

BALTIMORE, Md. - Sophomore Christine Edwards (Lakewood, Calif.) posted 21 kills and senior Whitney Johnson (Prince Frederick, Md.) had 13 but the University of Maryland Eastern Shore volleyball team fell in the MEAC championship game to Florida A&M, 3-1 (17-25, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25), for the third consecutive season Sunday at the Coppin Center. The loss for UMES snapped a 15 match winning streak and ended the Hawks' season at 24-7 while giving Florida A&M (17-8) its ninth consecutive MEAC title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Senior Caylin Woodward (Garden Grove, Calif.), one of three Hawks playing their final match for UMES, chipped in with nine kills and team highs of 15 digs and a .304 hitting percentage. She also had four block assists and two assists. Freshman Bella Jade Romero (Arlington, Texas) tallied a double-double for the Hawks with 48 assists and 10 digs. Redshirt junior Samantha Chukwura (Brooklyn, N.Y.) contributed eight kills, a match-best six block assists and three digs.

Both Jovana Blazeski (16) and Maria Gomez (15) finished with double-digit kills for the Lady Rattlers, who registered a .208 team hitting efficiency to .233 for UMES. UMES held a slight advantage in kills, 54-52, and the teams each had 9.0 blocks. The Lady Rattlers had 61 digs, five more than the Hawks, and also led in service aces, 5-2. The match featured 38 ties and 16 lead changes.

Down, 6-5, in the first game, Chukwura and Edwards combined to block Pamela Barrera's attack to knot the game at 6. UMES tallied only one of the next points and called a timeout to try and shift momentum. The Hawks went on a 5-1 run to cut the FAMU advantage to three at 15-12 but that was as close as they got in the game as the Rattlers pulled away. Blazeski had a pair of kills in a 4-0 run to extend the lead to 19-12 and the Rattlers won the game with the help of a sophomore Zoe Bowens (Long Beach, Calif.) service error, one of 19 on the day.

The second game opened with a block from Romero and senior Thonya Joseph (Bridgetown, Barbados) and the Hawks led by as many as two on three occasions, the third time at 16-14 on a Edwards kill but Florida A&M to tie things at 16 on a Gomez kill and then take the lead for good on a block by Barrera and Maria Ceccarelli. The Hawks got back to with 24-23 on a Blazeski error forcing a FAMU timeout but the Lady Rattlers regrouped to close the door with another Barrera kill.

The Hawks won the third game, taking nine of the final 13 points to get on the board and make it 2-1. Three Hawks contributed kills in the run, including two from Woodward. Florida A&M had an 8-3 lead in the final game before UMES called timeout. The Hawks battled back to 13-all, getting the tying point off a Gomez service error. The game saw four more ties, the last at 20-all, before The Rattlers took the match on a Woodward error.

Barrera finished with nine kills and a match-high .389 hitting percentage. Jessica Bond had a double-double of 41 assists and 10 digs. Blazeski and Gomez also threw in 13 and 12 digs, respectively, for a double-doubles of their own. Susan Egoavil led all players with 16 digs.

by UMES Sports Information

FAMU's Blazeski MEAC's top player

Florida A&M University junior Jovana Blazeski was named the 2009 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Blazeski leads the conference and is ranked 10th in the nation in kills per set (4.61). The outside hitter guided her team to an 8-0 record in conference play and 14-8 mark overall. She totaled 364 kills in 79 sets played during the regular season along with 3.04 digs and 5.05 points per set. In addition, Blazeski tallied 10 double-doubles along with six 20-plus kill performances this season.

Joining Blazeski on the All-MEAC first team are teammates Jessica Bond and Susan Egoavil.

FAMU football misses out on playoffs

Florida Classic 2009: Battle of the Bands--FAMU Marching 100 vs. BCU Wildcats


"I have heard more than my share of marching bands in my life (HBCU and non), and I can say without a doubt that the 100 has the highest quality sound I've heard. Their ability to play with volume without sacrificing subtlety is unmatched. Arguably, the best college ambassadors in the country...." TheAgRat

"I have attended 17 Florida Classics. Every year B-CU has gotten better. However, everything they do including their silly PA announcer has copied (FAMU) and Joe Bullard. We have had the opening marching announcements: "From the Highest of 7 hills in Tallahassee..." for years. In the last two for BCU its, "From the world's most famous beach..." Heck, I thought the world's most famous beach was in MIAMI..." CaliRattler

FCS Playoffs: S.C. State at Appalachian State

Coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough Bulldogs received no respect from FCS Playoff Committee. 9-2 William and Mary chosen to host 7-4 Weber State, giving Bulldogs a second road trip to Boone, N.C.

SC State to play Appalachain State in FCS playoffs

The South Carolina State football team will get a rematch in Saturday’s first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs against Appalachian State. For the second consecutive season, the Bulldogs will travel to Boone, N.C., for a noon game to be televised on ESPNU. The Bulldogs dropped a 37-21 decision to the Mountaineers last season. At the time, ASU was the three-time defending national champion while the Bulldogs were making their first trip to the playoffs since 1982.

Both teams enter this game on a roll. The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 7 in the latest FCS national poll, finished the regular season with a 10-1 overall record, with the only loss coming to FBS opponent South Carolina, and an 8-0 mark in the MEAC. This is the second consecutive season they have won the league title by going unbeaten and have won a conference record 19 straight games dating back to 2007.

ASU to host South Carolina State in FCS playoffs

The Mountaineers will see a familiar foe this Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Appalachian State will host South Carolina State in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs this Saturday. The announcement was made Sunday. South Carolina State is the MEAC champions and has a 10-1 record. The Bulldogs' lone loss was to South Carolina.

Appalachian State won its fifth straight Southern Conference championship with a win over 27-10 win over Elon, and won it outright with a 19-14 win over Western Carolina last Saturday. The Mountaineers are 9-2, but have won nine straight games. "I think we've gotten better all the time and I think that's what's important and I think they have too," Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore said. "It should be one of the best games on the docket next Saturday." "I'm happy because now we know who we play," ASU cornerback Cortez Gilbert said. "We've actually played them before, so we've got film on them with us on it, I'm just happy to be in it, to be honest."

2009 FCS Playoff Pairings

South Dakota State (8-3) at (1) Montana (11-1)
Eastern Washington (8-3) at Stephen F. Austin (9-2)
South Carolina State (10-1) at Appalachian State (9-2)
Elon (9-2) at (4) Richmond (10-1)
Holy Cross (9-2) at (2) Villanova (10-1)
New Hampshire (9-2) at McNeese State (9-2)
Weber State (7-4) at William & Mary (9-2)
Eastern Illinois (8-3) at (3) Southern Illinois (10-1)

It's Back To Boone For The Bulldogs

For the second consecutive year, South Carolina State will open the FCS playoffs in Boone, North Carolina against Appalachian State. The Bulldogs, ranked seventh in the country and winners of the MEAC, had hoped to host a first-round playoff game. But Sunday, the team learned it would be headed back to Boone for a Saturday game that is set to kick off at noon. Appalachian State, the reigning Southern Conference champion, is ranked fifth in the country. The winner will meet the winner of the game between #4 Richmond and ninth-ranked Elon.


ASU Opens Postseason vs. SC State for Second-Straight Year
Weber State earns second straight playoff berth
Eagles land at-large berth in FCS playoffs
Elon draws defending national champion in FCS playoffs
UNI on outside looking in

Florida Classic: Florida A&M 42, Bethune-Cookman 6

FAMU blows out B-CU in Classic

The 59,418 fans that showed up at the Florida Citrus Bowl Saturday for the 30th anniversary Florida Classic clash between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman came hoping to see 60 minutes of football that lived up to the milestone moment. Only one side wound up having much to cheer about, though. Riding the play of freshman quarterback and first-time starter Martin Ukpai, the Rattlers didn't miss a beat playing without injured starter Curtis Pulley as they plowed over the Wildcats 42-6.

The win was the Rattlers' second straight blowout Classic win, following a 58-35 victory last season. It also kept alive FAMU's hopes of getting an at-large bid to the Division I-AA tournament. Those aspirations had taken big hit after a 25-0 loss to struggling Hampton last week. But whether the Rattlers' get a postseason invite or not, the season will go down as a successful one for second-yard coach Joe Taylor, who is now 17-6 since taking over the program in 2008. Meanwhile, the loss handed Bethune-Cookman veteran coach Alvin Wyatt his first losing season since 2007, when the Wildcats finished 5-6. It's just the third losing season of his 13-year tenure in Daytona.

2009 Florida Classic Photo Galleries:
Band Pictures: 2009 Florida Classic
2009 Florida Classic

Ukpai, Sylvester give FAMU a Classic show

ORLANDO -- He was hit hard. He threw an interception. He was sacked. But freshman quarterback Martin Ukpai spent most of Saturday afternoon proving that he is very capable of directing FAMU's offense as he carried the Rattlers to a 42-6 victory over Bethune-Cookman University in the Citrus Bowl. Ukpai was patient and deliberate in his first collegiate football start in place of injured senior Curtis Pulley. At times he showed flashes of the same dual-threat ability as Pulley.

"I can't say enough about Ukpai," FAMU coach Joe Taylor said. "I thought Coach (offensive coordinator Lawrence) Kershaw did a good job of getting the game plan simplified. You can't take your hat off enough to him." Indeed. Ukpai, a graduate of Fort Lauderdale High School who was promoted from third-string to starter, directed the offense to 419 yards. He ran for his first collegiate touchdown in the third quarter and made a sensational 1-yard throw to Kevin Elliott in the second quarter to give FAMU a 28-0 halftime lead.

'78 Rattlers soak up Florida Classic »

ORLANDO — Every year, some of the players who made up FAMU's 1978 team that played the first Florida Classic come to the Florida Citrus Bowl. They show up and tailgate, like Saturday when a few of them gathered around the stadium. They come expecting some fireworks; maybe nothing like the explosive entrance that the Marching 100 made at the battle of the bands the night before. But they were looking for big plays anyway. Dramatic plays are why fans come back. They just seem to happen. And some came Saturday afternoon, although mostly by FAMU in its 42-6 thumping of Bethune-Cookman University in front of 59,418 ruckus fans.

The place went nuts when freshman Martin Ukpai rushed 11 yards for his first collegiate touchdown. That gave FAMU a 21-0 lead. Those boys of '78 just soaked it up. It was FAMU's 20th win in the 30 years that these two teams have met. This one being an anniversary, was special to Wyman Daniels. His catch on a desperation 35-yard pass from quarterback Albert Chester was the one that set the benchmark for dramatics. Big plays have since become a sort of pre-Thanksgiving ritual in the Classic. When the '78 team got together, the men rehashed memories of their remarkable season when they won the first NCAA Division I-AA national championship.

Everything Goes Right In Rattlers' Victory

ORLANDO There have been a few more one-sided scores in the 30-year history of the Florida Classic, but no more one-sided days. Everything went right for Florida A&M on Saturday and everything went wrong for Bethune-Cookman in a 42-6 rout before a crowd of 59,418 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. FAMU (8-3, 6-2 MEAC) put away its arch-rival in the first half, but that was only part of the story. The Rattlers may have qualified for a Division 1-AA playoff berth, and they also established their future at quarterback in freshman Martin Ukpai, who started for injured senior Curtis Pulley.

B-CU (5-6, 4-4) lost for the fourth time in five years to FAMU. The Wildcats threw three interceptions, drew 10 penalties and never got anything going on offense until it was far too late. Phillip Sylvester ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns for the Rattlers. Ukpai, who was the third-string quarterback until last week, completed 8-of-11 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, ran for 66 yards and a touchdown and played error-free until throwing an interception with the Rattlers ahead, 35-0, in the third quarter.


Slightly smaller crowd doesn't diminish Orlando's appeal »
B-CU's Wyatt sees a lot of himself in FAMU's Vann »
Calm freshman QB Martin Ukpai steals spotlight at Florida Classic
Rattlers trounce Wildcats
Family, longtime friends become rivals for a day each year at Florida Classic
Tailgating Tradition Continues At Florida Classic
Florida Classic inspires bonding amid rivalry
2nd-string QB leads Rattlers past Wildcats
Student Government purchases buses to promote FAMU
FAMU volleyball to play for MEAC title
Guard play impressive in 30-point hoops win