Saturday, June 30, 2012

FAMU Begins National Search for a New Director of Bands

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Florida A&M University (FAMU) has begun its national search for a new Director of Bands.

The university started the process today by posting an advertisement on its website, soliciting candidates for the position. The job description will also be posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The university’s goal is to hire a new band director before the end of the fall 2012 semester, said Larry Robinson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. The new Director of Bands will play a lead role in implementing new policies and procedures that are critical to the future of the Marching “100,” which has been suspended for the 2012-13 academic year.

To head the nationwide search, Robinson appointed Rodner Wright, dean of the School of Architecture as chairman of the search committee, which will consist of 13 members and include faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“We want an individual with outstanding experience in band management, the proven ability to educate and inspire students to excel in the class room and in the traditions of FAMU’s renown performance style, and the capacity to lead and mentor faculty, staff and other colleagues,” said Robinson. “We desire someone with unrelenting commitment to our core values, particularly those related to anti-hazing. The ideal candidate would have the ability to promote the values of respect and dignity among all members of the Marching “100.”

The new director will report to the chairman of the FAMU Music Department. That is a change from the previous director, who also served as department chairman. Robinson explained that would add an extra layer of supervision. Qualifications include a degree in music and a minimum of five years experience directing bands at the collegiate level. It will be a full-time, tenure-track position and will be either an associate or full professor position, based on the person’s experience and expertise.

The new director will oversee all aspects of the marching and pep bands. Specific duties and responsibilities include overseeing all activities of band student organizations and ensembles; providing creative direction; recruiting students for membership; teaching the marching band courses and other courses as needed; planning and directing the summer high school band camp; fund raising; planning and executing the band's travel to athletics events and other events that have been approved by the University and functioning as the liaison between the Athletics Department, the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Music.

The director will work closely with the Music Department Compliance Officer, a newly created position. Together, they will ensure that staff and members of the Marching and Pep Bands are made aware of and comply with the University's policies and procedures regarding anti-hazing, academic requirements, rehearsal hours and travel.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Queens' Norfolk State product Kyle O'Quinn heads to Orlando Magic as 49th overall pick in 2012 NBA draft

Center who lead Norfolk State Spartans past No. 2 Missouri in historic NCAA Tournament victory looks to make big impact at the next level

QUEENS, New York -- Kyle O’Quinn became the darling of the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend by leading No. 15-seeded Norfolk State to an upset win over No. 2 Missouri.

It was a great story for the 6-10 Queens product, whose only scholarship offer out of Campus Magnet High was from the Spartans. And now the story has another great chapter after he was selected by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the NBA draft Thursday night.

The 6-10 center’s selection (No. 49) rounded out a strong night for the borough of Queens, which had three players taken. St. John’s Maurice Harkless went at No. 15 to Philadelphia. Doron Lamb, shooting guard from national champion Kentucky, was selected in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 42nd pick.

Iona point guard Scott Machado, a fourth Queens product, did not see his dream realized. After leading the nation with 9.9 assists per game and piloting the Gaels to the NCAA Tournament, he went undrafted. Machado, who also averaged 13.6 points and won the Haggerty Award as the metro area’s top player last season, likely will end up in some team’s camp as a free agent.


NSU's Kyle O'Quinn to Orlando Magic: 2nd Round, Pick 49

ORLANDO, Florida - Kyle O'Quinn isn't necessarily a household name, unless you're a fan of Missouri or Norfolk State basketball.

O'Quinn played a major role in Norfolk State's upset of the No. 2 Missouri Tigers this past March, and that tournament performance has garnered him some well-deserved interest. At 6'10'' and 241 pounds, O'Quinn is a raw talent who can help solidify his team's frontcourt while also managing to spread the floor with his perimeter shooting abilities.

What O'Quinn Brings to the Team

O'Quinn is the type of player who can make an immediate impact coming off the bench with his above-average rebounding skills and his physical presence in the paint.

In the past two seasons at Norfolk State, O'Quinn has combined averages of 16.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.  O'Quinn isn't going to have that kind of impact immediately against NBA talent, but there's no doubt that with time and the right coaching, he'll be able to mature into that kind of a player. He certainly has the work ethic and physical demeanor to do just that.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

MSU, Mississippi Valley State Cancel 2013 Game

ITTA BENA, Mississippi -- Mississippi State's 2013 football game against Mississippi Valley State has been canceled due to MVSU's failure to meet NCAA-mandated financial aid guidelines.

The teams were scheduled to meet in the season opener on Aug. 31, 2013, in Starkville. MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin said he has a "pretty good idea what we're doing to replace them but aren't ready to announce."

The game had to be canceled because playing Valley would not count toward bowl eligibility for MSU. Normally, Division I-A teams can have one game versus a I-AA foe count toward bowl eligibility. But for that to happen, the I-AA program must average 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of grants-in-aid in football over a rolling two-year period. Valley does not meet the requirement.


CAU: Dutchtown’s Tanner back to old form

MCDONOUGH, Georgia -- Kelvin Tanner only swung once his entire senior season of baseball at Dutchtown High School. Now he swings a lot.

At Dutchtown, he was on the shelf on the disabled list for the entirety of the 2010 season. His one at-bat was a tribute from coach Michael Breedlove, a surprise pinch-hitting appearance on Senior Night with strict guidelines — if Tanner made contact, he had to jog cautiously to first base to save his ACL injury from flaring up.

Nothing is holding back Tanner now. Completely healthy, the left-handed hitting first baseman and rising junior at Clark Atlanta has terrorized Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pitching.

He’s coming off a first-team all-SIAC season as a sophomore, in which he hit .355 with 13 doubles, one home run and 36 RBIs. Which only served to validate his Freshman of the Year performance the previous season.


Former Florida A&M Swimmer Dies In Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy Florida A&M University Athletics Department
TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The FAMU family mourns the loss of former middle/long distance swimmer Steven Stevens II. Stevens, who was a swimmer for two years at FAMU before joining the Marines, was killed in battle in Afghanistan from shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.

Private First Class Stevens is survived by his wife Monique and his three-month-old son Kairo, who was born just eight days after his deployment. Stevens never had the opportunity to see his son in person.

Stevens grew up in northwest Detroit and attended Detroit Technology High School.  His wife  Monique is from Pensacola, Florida.

Derek Horne, FAMU director of Athletics, expressed the sorrow of the Rattler nation in learning of the news.

"We are saddened to hear of the untimely sacrifice made by former Rattler student-athlete PFC Steven Stevens II. FAMU Athletics and the university as a whole became aware of his demise on today. Because of Stevens' competitive spirit and athleticism, we know that he was the perfect fit for our U.S. Marines and we are very proud of him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Monique, son Kairo and his entire family. The swimming records he earned while he was here may one day be broken, but the respect and admiration earned for making the ultimate sacrifice for his country will never subside. The Rattler nation salutes a fallen Rattler," Horne said.

Stevens came to FAMU on a swimming scholarship under Ian Lee. Lee would train Stevens and place him as a middle distance swimmer, as well as designate him the lead-off leg on some of the relay races.

His talent shined brightly in the Northeast Swimming Conference championship of 2007. Overall the Rattlers took third place in the meet. In the 200-yard medley, he swam a 29.44 split to lead off the Rattlers. In the 400-yard medley, Stevens swam a lead leg of 1:00.40 to take second place.

Individually, Stevens took fifth in the 400-yard IM, with a time of 5:22.99. He also took fifth in the 200-yard backtroke and seventh in the 500-yard freestyle.

He holds three FAMU swimming records. He ranks fourth in time for the 400-yard Individual Medley (4:56.18 - 2007), fourth as a member of the 400-yard medley (Stevens,Lowe, El-Amin,Barnett - 3:44.00 - 2007) and sixth in the 200-yard backstroke (2:12.81 - 2007)

Douglass Carrington was the assistant swimming coach during Stevens' tenure at FAMU, before becoming the head coach in 2008. "It was bad to hear the news. Steven was so young. He was a pretty bright kid, and one of our talented athletes. He was fun to be around and this is one of those things that's tough to talk about. We were tough on him to make the team better. When he first came he was unsure of his path, but he soon settled in and began to perform in the pool. The whole military life seemed uncharacteristic, because he seemed gentler than a soldier," Carrington said.

Stevens was a good swimmer, but always had a heart for art. His desire to travel the world prompted him to leave FAMU after two years. He would enlist in the U.S. Marines.

Stevens enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 1, 2009. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. This was Stevens' first tour in Afghanistan.

Stevens was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. He died while conducting combat operations in the Helmand province in Afghanistan.

Funeral services for Pfc. Steven Stevens II are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Hwy., in Southfield. Viewings will be 4-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at the church, with family hour at 10 a.m.

The James H. Cole Home for Funerals in Detroit is handling other arrangements.


Paine Men's Basketball Coach to hold Basketball Camp

AUGUSTA, Georgia - Paine College Head Men's Basketball Coach, Jimmy Link will host the Inaugural Jimmy Link Basketball Camp. The camp is for youth ages 6-15, starting July 9- 12 at Riverview Park, North Augusta, SC. Sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. each day.

The purpose of the camp is to teach and develop basketball skills. This camp will highlight individual skill development and organized team play. Participants can aspire to increase shooting percentage, obtain more assists, improve defense techniques and gain confidence in their game.

“The coaches and I are committed to providing personalized and qualified instruction,” Link said. “This camp will provide a safe, welcoming environment where youth can learn the fundamentals of the game, enhance their skills, gain confidence and most importantly have fun!”

Each camp participant will receive a camp T-shirt and are eligible for contest prizes. Registration is now open for all sessions. To download and print a camp brochure, visit

For more information contact, Jimmy Link at (706) 945-1361 or


Wise grad heads from PGCC to Bowie State

BOWIE, Maryland - Prince George’s Community College’s loss is Bowie State University’s gain. After a standout sophomore season at PGCC, David Golladay plans to continue his basketball career this winter at Bowie State, stepping into a quality opportunity to contribute on a guard-oriented team.

The Henry A. Wise High School graduate averaged 15.9 points per game and helped the Owls reach the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III District 7 championship game. PGCC went 22-10 and fell one win short of a berth in the NJCAA Division III national tournament.

Golladay played two years ago at NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., but left the school after a coaching change. At PGCC he was reunited with high school teammate Josiah Woodruff, who was the Owls’ leading scorer (17.6 ppg).

“I felt like I started losing a little of my love for basketball at Mount St. Mary’s,” Golladay said. “Then I went to PGCC and got that love back. I don’t know if it was the coaches or playing with my friends, but I got it back. That’s the biggest thing. If you don’t love something, it’s going to be hard to do it. It was really easy to play this year.”


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Robinson Introduces New Women's Basketball Coaching Staff at A&T

GREENSBORO, North Carolina -- As he heads into his first season as the North Carolina A&T women's basketball coach, Tarrell Robinson has assembled an impressive staff .

"I have a staff I feel will help me take Lady Aggie Basketball to new heights," Robinson said. "I know each individual is no stranger to hard work and dedication. That's what it's going to take to climb back to the top of the MEAC. There's work to be done, and I think I found the right people to help me do it."

Robinson announced the hiring of Laphelia Doss, Franklin Scott and Shavon Earp as assistant basketball coaches. Former A&T women's basketball player Reisha Bullock will be his director of basketball operations. 

Doss arrives with 10 years of coaching experience, which includes four appearances in the NCAA tournament as a coach and one as a student-athlete with Eastern Kentucky. Prior to coming to A&T, Doss was the head women's basketball coach and senior woman administrator at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga. In 2011-12, she tripled the team's win total from the previous season, while also making the conference tournament. She also served as an assistant coach at Austin Peay State University for three years, at Southern Polytechnic State for one year and at James Madison for a season. She spent four years as an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky.

"Laphelia will bring a competitive edge with her experiences of winning championships as a player in college and as a coach," Robinson said. "She will be responsible for development of our post players, a position she dominated as a player. In her 10-plus years of service in this profession, she has developed several all conference performers in that area and that's what our expectations are here with our post."

Scott brings plenty of coaching and player development experience with him to A&T. Scott comes to Greensboro after serving as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo. The Vikings won more than 50 games over the last two seasons. Last season, the Vikings finished seventh in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I tournament after winning the Region XVI championship . Scott also served as an assistant coach at Neosho County Community College (Kan.) and Arizona Western College.

Robinson expects Scott to be a huge asset in recruiting. He will also be counted on to assist in player development and game scouting.

"I really think I got a steal in Franklin" Robinson said. "He is a tireless worker who will make everyone have to raise the bar to keep up with him. He has unlimited connections and relationships that he developed from being on the (junior college) circuit."

Earp joins the Aggies after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at William & Mary. With the Tribe, she worked with guards and perimeter players, which resulted in an All-CAA player in Taysha Pye. Earp also worked as an assistant girls varsity basketball coach for Hampton High School and the heralded Boo Williams 16-and-under Elite AAU Team. She also worked as a graduate student for the Radford University women's basketball program. Earp played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh and Radford.

"Shavon is one of the most promising young recruiters in the country," Robinson said. "She has that rare ability to connect with anyone who crosses her path. She has the background of being affiliated with one of the most respected organizations and people in this business, Boo Williams. In a short period of time she has developed relationships with high school and AAU coaches that will be beneficial to our continued success in recruiting student-athletes who can be stellar in the classroom as well as on the court."

As an A&T assistant, she will be responsible for the development of the Aggie guards. Robinson expects her to raise the level of play on the perimeter, calling her one of the best prep guards to come out of the Tide Water area before playing well collegiately.

Bullock will be a familiar face for Aggie fans, as she competed as a student-athlete in the program for three seasons starting in 2008. After transferring from Copiah Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss., she helped the Aggies win the 2009 MEAC Tournament Championship, which subsequently earned the team an NCAA tournament appearance. She ended her A&T career with 302 points, 192 rebounds, 94 assists and 51 steals in 53 games played.

Robinson met Bullock in 2005, as he tried to recruit her to A&T during his first year as an assistant coach under former A&T women's basketball coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs. Since that time, Robinson said he has watched her grow and mature into a responsible young adult.

"I've also watched her desire to get started in this profession grow," he said. "Her basketball pedigree has her destined to be successful in the profession. As our operations person, I expect her to take care of and be the liaison for a lot of the everyday activities of a Division I program."

Robinson's three new assistants and new operations director will be working with Robinson to lead the Aggies on a campaign for the program's third MEAC Championship Tournament title. The Aggies return all five starters, including 1,000-point scorer JaQuayla Berry, six-time MEAC Rookie of the Week Tiffanie Adair, A&T Female Athlete of the Year Amber Calvin and double-figure scorer Tracy King.  


J.C. Smith track athletes aim for Jamaican Olympic berths

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- Akino Ming has one final step to take before he can reach his goal of competing in this summer’s Olympic Games in London.  But Ming understands how challenging that step is.

Ming, a junior at Johnson C. Smith and the NCAA Division II champion in the 400 meters, will compete in Jamaica’s track and field Olympic trials Thursday through Sunday in Kingston.

“This is a lifelong dream, to be able to compete in the Olympics,” said Ming, who won the NCAA final in a time of 46.14 seconds. “It’s very exciting and humbling. But I think my chances are as good as anybody else’s.”

Ming has a shot. According to Golden Bulls coach Lennox Graham, Ming is ranked fifth in Jamaica in the 400. The top three in the trials will make the Olympic team.

Shermaine Williams@Utech Classic 2012


27 years of basketball camp and it continues to be a success

BISCOE, North Carolina -- For the past 27 years, East Montgomery varsity men’s basketball coach Buggy Green love for basketball has been instrumental in the success of the Montgomery County Basketball School Camp. June 11-14, the East Montgomery High School campus was busy with activity as 76 children, 15 camp staff and parents showed up for the fun and the hard work. Green had several coaches and basketball gurus lined up to speak to the children attending the camp.

Bobby Collins, the head coach of the Winston-Salem State University basketball team who won the CIAA championship in 2012, opened the camp as the guest speaker. June 12 found Mike Apple, who led the Sandhill Community College Flyers to their first NJCAA national championship in 2012, spoke June 12. June 13 had Austin Lehman, a world-renowned ball-handling expert, showing off his skills and teaching the children about other fundamentals.

The final night of the camp, Kinston Scott and his family cooked ...


Mott's Walter Davis fulfills dream of playing Division I basketball by signing to Florida A&M University

FLINT, Michigan - After Mott Community College's historical men's basketball run this past season—which ended with a national title -- Walter Davis didn't think he had a shot of playing on the Division I level in college. Florida A&M University, however, thought differently.

The Rattlers offered Davis a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at FAMU starting next season and he officially signed to the program on Tuesday, June 12.

"I'm real excited because I didn't think nothing would play out for me," Davis admitted. "With (Mott's) Coach (Steve) Schmidt and the rest of the coaching staff just giving me the opportunity to win the national championship it really helped me because they would be like 'you're Walter Davis and you won a national championship at Mott' and that helped me out."

On MCC's a star-studded roster, Davis was certainly the team's most athletic player, the strongest defender but his stats weren't phenomenal.


Digital Harbor grad Davon Usher headed to Mississippi Valley

BALTIMORE, Maryland - Waiting two years for a shot at Division I basketball was something Davon Usher had accepted over time. But the six extra weeks the former Digital Harbor star spent hoping for that elusive DI offer seemed nearly interminable.

Usher, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound wing, had a solid junior college career at Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla., averaging around nine points and seven rebounds for the Eagles as a sophomore. North Carolina Central, Western Illinois, San Jose State, Quinnipiac and North Carolina A&T were among the many DI programs interested in the former Rams standout, but reluctant to offer a scholarship.

“[Some] of the schools talking to me, they didn’t really have confidence I was going to finish up my degree, which I did,” Usher said. “I was just thinking at times, feeling as though I’m not good enough for them. [I thought], ‘Why are they turning me down?’”

The one school that wouldn’t turn Usher down was Mississippi Valley State, a SWAC school located ...


Backyard Hoop Drills hosted by Sandy Pugh

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana - Watch Backyard Hoop Drills hosted by women's basketball head coach Sandy Pugh.

In Episode 2, Coach Pugh demonstrates the 3-5-3 drill with a little help from former All-SWAC star and 2-time POY Rolanda Monroe.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roger Cador All-Star Baseball Camp set for July 16

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana - Southern University Baseball will host the Rodger Cador All Star Youth Baseball Camp July 16-19 from 9 a.m to noon at Lee Hines Field on the Southern campus.

Campers, ranging from age 6-16, will learn baseball fundamentals geared towards raising baseball IQ in all areas of the sport.

"We are going to enhance the baseball experience for young people and they will have an appreciation for it," said head coach Roger Cador. "We try to teach them how to play the game the right way."

Drills of baserunning, hitting, catching, throwing and various throwing techniques will be conducted during the camp. The coaches will also be assisted by some of the active players on Southern's roster. Campers can expect to receive an all around learning experience.

Campers are asked to dress weather friendly. Equipment will be provided but campers are asked to provide their own personal material.

"We are truly excited for the kids to come out. They are in for a great experience that will last a lifetime," said assistant coach Fernando Puebla.

Camp fee costs $150, which will cover liability insurance, camp cost and t-shirt can be mailed to Coach Roger Cador, Southern University, P.O. Box 10850, Baton Rouge, LA 70813 or can be delivered upon arrival.

For more information, contact Coach Cador 225-771-3712 or Coach Puebla 225-505-6734.

2012 Roger Cador All-Star Camp app (.pdf)

COURTESY: JaMarlan Peoples, Athletics Media Relations Student Asst., SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Cinderella man: NCAA Tournament star O'Quinn ready for big night

NEW YORK, New York -- Kyle O’Quinn’s smile was gone. So was his booming laugh. The gregarious kid Campus Magnet coach Charles Granby likened to the TNT version of Charles Barkley was tired of losing and decided the best way to change began in practice, by getting serious.

“It was either then or never,” he recalled. “I wanted a different outcome.”

At the time, midway through O'Quinn's junior season, Norfolk State was in the midst of an 11-game losing streak. One practice O’Quinn didn’t say a word, a rarity for the talkative forward. Over the next three weeks, he didn’t joke at all during practice. The team won six of its next seven games, with O’Quinn leading the way, went on to win the MEAC this winter and upset Missouri in the NCAA Tournament.

“When he came with a business-like attitude, everything changed for him and for us,” Norfolk State coach Anthony Evans said.  It was the start of his metamorphosis, a turning point in his career, O’Quinn said. On Thursday, the 6-foot-10 O’Quinn is expected to be selected in the NBA Draft, taken anywhere from late in the first round to early in the second, his agent Albert Ebanks said.


Adrian on NSU's APR success

NORFOLK, Virginia - With the NCAA raising its APR (Academic Progress Rate) standards over the next four years, and coming down on programs that don’t meet expectations, even high school recruits are getting serious about doing their homework.

“I was recruiting a kid down in Florida and I started to talk to him about it and he said, ‘I know about that, you’re No. 1 among HBCUs,” Adrian said. “In all the years of coaching, I’ve never had a kid bring that up. He said, ‘I did my homework.’ ”

Norfolk State’s four-year average of 937 led the MEAC Conference for the third consecutive season, and was tied with Alabama A&M for the best mark among HBCUs. The NCAA released the numbers last week.

While most would consider that a fine effort – the real goal, after all, is not to be subject to NCAA penalties – Adrian wasn’t completely satisfied.


Monday, June 25, 2012

UMES Finishes in Top 10% of All Women's D-1 Programs

MCLEAN, Virginia -- Capital One Financial Corporation, an official NCAA Corporate Champion announced the final women's standings on June 14th for the Capital One Cup. The award, given to the best men's and women's Division I athletic programs in the country, awards points based on teams' top-10 finishes in NCAA Championships and in the final official coaches' polls across 20 women's sports and 19 men's.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) finished 32nd out of 346 DI schools with 20 points, to finish in the top 10 percent of all schools on the women's side. This is just the second year of the Capital One Cup.

UMES tied with three other schools, Georgetown, Minnesota and TCU. Stanford won the cup with 152.5 points, UCLA was second with 110. The University of Maryland was tenth with 62 points to finish as the top school in the state while UMES is the only Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) school to record points in the final standings.

The points can be attributed to the success of women's bowling, who not only won back-to-back national championships, but finished first in the final National Tenpins Coaches Association (NTCA) poll.

UMES also has had significant years out of several of their women's programs and are ranked in the top one third of the Learfield Sports' Director's Cup standings, overseen by the National Collegiate Director's of Athletics (NACDA), who measure the success of all the sports sponsored by DI schools.

Bowling scored 100 points for finishing first. Volleyball won the MEAC Championship before falling to eventual champion UCLA in the first round of the tournament (33rd overall, 25 points). Track and Field also was solid as Lenora Guion-Firmin (La Trinite Martinique, France) finished seventh and eighth respectively in the 400m at the Indoor (Team-55th overall, 16.5 points) and Outdoor (Team-63rd overall, 5 points) National Championships.

Those accomplishments had the Hawks ranked 117th with 146.5 points in the latest standings. While the athletic season isn't complete, UMES is poised for their best season ever since the cup started in 1993-94. Previously the Hawks' best three finishes came in 2007 (157th), 2008 (151st) and in 2011 (150th). The final standings will be announced later this month.


Dr. J puts on a show at Clemon Johnson golf tourney

TALLAHASSEE, Florida - Just before Julius Erving teed up to play the 16th hole, a family of four emerged from one of the homes nearby SouthWood Golf Club. They had five basketballs in hand, seeking autographs from the former NBA great.

He obliged, just like he’d been doing all day during the Clemon Johnson Celebrity Golf Tournament. Erving and Andrew Toney made the trip to help Johnson, their former Philadelphia 76ers teammate and head men’s basketball coach at Florida A&M, raise money for his program.

The long-time friendship wasn’t the only reason that Erving came. The idea that money raised from the 18-hole event would go to scholarships was a big reason as well, said Erving who added he is an advocate for collegiate athletes making education their focus.


Former FAMU Coach Farmer returns to coach Lincoln

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The girls' basketball coaching vacancy at Lincoln High is no longer open and a familiar face will once again be gracing local courts. On Thursday, Trojans' athletic director Paul O'Halloran hired former Florida A&M University head coach Claudette Farmer to replace Hattie McCreless, who resigned in April.

"It's not every day that you have a chance to hire someone that's succeeded as a head coach at the (Division I) level," O'Halloran said. "We feel very fortunate that we were able to make the hire."

Farmer's Big Bend roots stretch back to being a player for Rickards, then its head coach for a decade during the 1980’s, before taking the reins of FAMU's program and leading the Rattlers to three regular season MEAC titles, two MEAC Tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 11 years.


FAMU preseason magazine is packed with information

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Alvin Hollins was doing some of the personal things he hadn’t been able to do much of during the 30 years that he was sports information director at Florida A&M University. Most of all he was able to take a real vacation and visit his parents.

Then, Eddie Jackson called last summer. Jackson, a former sports information director and former vice president of university relations at FAMU, wanted to publish a preseason football magazine. He figured Hollins’ knowledge of FAMU football would be an asset.

As Hollins listened to the pitch, the long hours of writing feature stories, compiling statistics and accumulating photos flashed through his mind.

“It did have a lot of eerie echos of those days when I used to be sitting up late at nights over the computer,” he said, “putting together bios or whatever.” But at the same time, Hollins admitted, he felt a sense of normalcy as he went to work on the magazine.


Saint Augustine's Laughinghouse preps for senior season

6'-3"/175 Wide Receiver, Redshirt Senior
Rose High School

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- Like most first-year college football players, Tyron Laughinghouse wasn’t really sure how his gridiron career would unfold when he was in the early stages of his freshman season at St. Augustine’s College.

Since those uneasy days, Laughinghouse, a J.H. Rose product, has not only blossomed into one of St. Augustine’s better players, but one of the more exciting players in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Earlier this week, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound playmaker, who is months away from the start of his senior season, was tabbed by as one of three players to watch in the CIAA.

The website described Laughinghouse, who won a state title at Rose in 2006, as a “big-play wide receiver who defenses will need to account for.”

Laughinghouse had eight touchdown receptions and returned one punt for a score last season. In 2010, the former Rampant was sixth in Division II in kick return average and made six TD catches. But personal accolades aren’t too high on Laughinghouse’s priority list as he prepares for his final collegiate campaign.


34 years after Super Bowl III, UMES' Boozer and Christy still close

WESTOVER, Maryland -- To some, Super Bowl III goes down in sports history as one the greatest football games ever played. In 1968, the New York Jets became the first AFL squad to beat a team from the more dominant NFL. On top of that, the legend of Joe Namath's guaranteed victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts propels the story into folklore status.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore remembers the game for different reasons, however, since it contained a Super Bowl record five former Hawk football players on the field.

Two of those five were back on Delmarva recently to play in the Art Shell UMES Celebrity Golf Tournament at Great Hope Golf Course in Westover. For seven straight seasons, four in college and three on the New York Jets, Emerson Boozer and Earl Christy played football together.

For both of them, having a former teammate to help with the transition from the country to the city made the experience much easier.

"I played longer with Emerson than anybody at Maryland Eastern Shore," Christy said. "It was phenomenal. I come from a small town and then to go to New York -- the biggest city in America. Yes, it was great. We even found our apartments in the same place."


Xavier's Cassiere repeats as NAIA feature-writing winner


NEW ORLEANS — For the second straight year, Xavier University of Louisiana's Ed Cassiere received first place for features in the NAIA's Dr. W. Jack Bell Writing Contest.

Cassiere's winning story, published May 4, 2011, profiled 1940s XU men's track and field standout Herbert Douglas, who received an honorary degree from the university three days later. It was one of five stories by XU's sports information director to earn recognition Saturday during the NAIA Sports Information Directors of America Convention in St. Louis.

Another feature, about medical-school-bound Jamaan Kenner of the men's basketball team, placed third. And in the season preview/review category, Cassiere placed second for his men's cross country preview, third for his women's volleyball preview and tied for eighth for his women's basketball preview.

A year ago Cassiere placed first for his feature about Douglas and men's tennis standout Jimmie McDaniel.

Cassiere — who next month will begin his seventh year at Xavier — has received 13 NAIA writing awards the past four years, including three firsts, three seconds and three thirds.

The College Sports Information Directors of America also awarded Cassiere first place for event coverage in District 6, which comprises Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and includes NCAA and NAIA members. His entries in that category were accounts of the women's basketball team's second-round loss to Oklahoma City in the 2011 NAIA Division I National Championship and the volleyball team's semifinal comeback victory against Dillard in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. It's the second straight year that Cassiere earned first place in the district for writing. He's the only Louisiana sports publicist to win in the district for writing in 2012 or 2011.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Sunday, June 24, 2012

GSU approves Doug Williams' contract

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – Fifteen months a lawsuit later, Grambling State University got final approval Monday of a contract hiring Doug Williams as head football coach.

“It is the hope,” said GSU President Frank Pogue, that getting the unanimous approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System for the contract will ease the tension and result in Williams dropping his lawsuit. “We have met several times since that. We both agreed to move forward with the interest of Grambling.”

The contract offers $250,000 a year salary and up to $100,000 from the Grambling University Foundation for performance rewards.

In the lawsuit filed in April, Williams named Pogue, Grambling, the UL Board and the state Department of Education as defendants.


The State of the Department: North Carolina A&T Aggies

GREENSBORO, North Carolina -- Earl Hilton completed his first full-year as the North Carolina A&T director of athletics. He took time out to consider the State of the Department, and to set out new goals for the future of A&T Athletics, which he hopes will improve the college experience for the 325 student-athletes of the university's 15 NCAA Division I programs.

The goal of the department is to ensure the success of student-athletes on and off the field, Hilton said.

Earl M. Hilton III, J.D., Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, North Carolina A&T State University

He is looking to start new initiatives to highlight and promote the academic success of A&T student-athletes, as well as to streamline the process for tracking their progress toward degrees, which is a crucial part of maintaining their eligibility to compete.

One of the final main projects Hilton has is to help student-athletes develop not only their scholastic and athletic skills, but also develop their world views. He wants to ensure that all student-athletes have the opportunity to travel, by flying on an airplane and by getting a passport. He also wants to establish a department-wide community service project for student-athletes.


Jackson State's Robinson signs with New Orleans Saints

Riverside High School
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced today that the team has signed LB Donavan Robinson.

Robinson, a 6-3, 250-pound linebacker, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Jackson State, signing with the New York Jets in May, with whom he spent the offseason. Prior to entering the NFL, he started 31 games at Jackson State, finishing his college career with 181 tackles and 30 sacks. As a senior in 2011, he was a Football Championship Subdivision honorable mention All-American and second team all-SWAC selection after recording 58 tackles (34 solo), 23.5 tackles for a loss, 16 sacks, four pass defenses and one fumble recovery. In 2010 the Milwaukee native was named to the all-SWAC second team after leading the conference with 18.5 tackles for a loss and ranking second with eight sacks.


Bethune-Cookman the perfect fit for Ortega

REDLANDS, California -- Sophia Ortega didn't leave many stones unturned during her high school career.

The Citrus Valley third baseman hit .500 in her junior year and batted just underneath the mark as a senior, topped her squad in RBIs in 2012 and 2010, helped lead the Blackhawks to a CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title in her final campaign and made back-to-back appearances in division championship games.

This fall, Ortega will be moving across the country, to the East Coast, as she's set to head to Daytona Beach, Fla., where she will suit up on the diamond in the spring at Bethune-Cookman University.

Ortega will be trying to find time on coach Chris Cochran's Wildcats, who went 30-30 this past season, and fell to national power Texas A&M in the NCAA Regionals.

On paper, it won't be an easy task, as Bethune-Cookman recently put the wraps on its third consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference crown.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Roles for Southern U captains expanded

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- After rigorous weightlifting and a slew of sprints and other conditioning exercises, the Southern football team’s June 15 voluntary summer workout was over. Well, it should have been.

Instead of a stroll back to the locker room, a refreshing shower and some grub to recover from their 5:30 a.m. session, the 30 or so players had to drop to the ground, do a push-up and hop back to their feat, over and over.

More up-downs, and this time, it was by choice. Why? “Somebody was late,” offensive lineman Chris Browne said. That kind of self-meted punishment is one example of a team that’s gearing up for 2012 intent on having more leadership and better discipline than in the first two years under coach Stump Mitchell.  Mitchell said those two areas are among the main culprits that ...


Melo, O'Quinn on different paths to NBA

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- One operated in the shadows all season long but stole the show when he stepped into the spotlight. The other, seemingly destined for stardom, found himself in the audience when it mattered most.

Few outside of Norfolk, Va., knew of Kyle O'Quinn before the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Sure, he was an accomplished player at Norfolk State, the MEAC Player of the Year. But the thing is, you have go to all the way back to 1991 to find a MEAC Player of the Year that made a dent in the NBA, and Coppin State's Larry Stewart didn't exactly become a household name.

But in one magical game, O'Quinn earned his 15 minutes of fame. He scored 26 points with 14 rebounds as Norfolk State stunned No. 2 seed Missouri 86-84. Suddenly the 6-10 forward was something more than another mid-major guy whose professional future was overseas.

At the same time, Fab Melo was nowhere to be ...


2012 FVSU Wildcats' Football Preview

FORT VALLEY, Georgia -- In 2010 the Fort Valley State Wildcats finished the season 8-3 ready to build on a season consisting of post season play. The offseason saw a musical chair of quarterbacks losing transfer Eugene Smith and gaining hometown native and Ohio State signee slash Georgia Southern transfer Antonio Henton to run the show. Everything looked great for the Wildcats when Henton's high school teammate and Auburn signee joined the squad until the season started and injuries painted the blue and gold, black and blue.

There's usually not much good you can say about your ball club after a 2-8 season but fourth year head man Don Pittman offered this advice to his squad. "I told the team in the spring that we were the best 2-8 team in the nation. We had some great coaching, great talent. We just had some key injuries and lost some close games, ball didn't bounce our way," says Pittman.


Former Shaw OL Coughman signed by Seattle Seahawks

Edawn Coughman
(Photo Courtesy Facebook)
SEATTLE, Washington - - Former Shaw offensive lineman Edawn Coughman was signed to the Seattle Seahawks 90-man roster Monday.

Coughman (6-4, 305) was a 2009 First Team All-CIAA selection and made the roster after a tryout during the Seahawks' mini-camp last season.

Last season, Coughman moved into a starting slot on the offensive line for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

"We're proud of him," said Shaw head coach Robert Massey. "He did it right. He came here, worked hard, got his degree and is now reaping the benefits. We can now say that Shaw has someone on an NFL roster."

Coughman, however, comes to the Seahawks with some baggage. He was cut by the Argos after being arrested on a gun possession charge in Montreal in May. According to the Toronto Star, police in Montreal say a cleaning lady at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel reported seeing a gun on a table in Coughman's room. Later, a SWAT team entered the room and found a loaded gun under the mattress.

CTV Montreal reported that Coughman, 23, told a bail hearing he had bought the gun legally in Georgia and was unaware the law was different in Canada.

Prior to Shaw University, Coughman attended Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

No. 50 finish in all-sports standings is Xavier's best ever

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana finished 50th, a school record, in the final NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings of 2011-12.

It's the third time in four years that Xavier placed among the top 100. The previous best XU all-sports ranking was 83rd in 2009-10.

The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup was developed by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today newspaper. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 12 sports — six women's and six men's. This is the 17th year of the NAIA all-sports standings.

Xavier scored 251 points after a tie for fifth place nationally in men's tennis, a tie for ninth in women's basketball, ties for 17th in men's basketball and women's tennis, a tie for 25th in women's volleyball, 30th in women's cross country, 31st in men's cross country and a tie for 46th in women's outdoor track and field.

Xavier was one of three HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to record a top-50 finish this season. Lincoln (Mo.) placed 42nd and Saint Augustine's 48th in NCAA Division II.

"I can't say enough good things about the efforts of our coaches and our student-athletes this year," XU athletics director Dennis Cousin said. "Our success is the direct result of their hard work and the continued support of our administration. Our teams won five conference championships and two group championships. There should be no doubt that this was the greatest year ever for Xavier athletics."

The top three NAIA schools were Azusa Pacific with 918 points, Shorter with 856 and Embry-Riddle (Fla.) with 771½.

Xavier in NAIA all-sports standings
2011-12 50th
2010-11 102nd
2009-10 83rd
2008-09 tie-92nd
2007-08 141st
2006-07 156th
2005-06 no teams (Hurricane Katrina)
2004-05 not in top 100
2003-04 86th
2002-03 tie-163rd
2001-02 tie-238th
2000-01 tie-199th
1999-2000 not in top 234
1998-99 tie-210th
1997-98 tie-194th
1996-97 164th
1995-96 146th

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Xavier has 5 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars in 2011-12

Angelica Alexander
Angelica Alexander
Jolie Bellow
Jolie Bellow
Patrice Hightower
Patrice Hightower

Jamaan Kenner
Jamaan Kenner
Javon Mead
Javon Mead

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana, led by three-time recipient Jamaan Kenner, has five student-athletes recognized as Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars for 2011-12.

Kenner (men's basketball) and Javon Mead (track and field/cross country) are first-team representatives from Xavier. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, a magazine based in Fairfax, Va., sponsors the awards.

Also recognized from Xavier were Patrice Hightower in women's volleyball and Angelica Alexander and Jolie Bellow in women's basketball. Hightower was honored for the second consecutive year.

Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars are student-athletes of color who maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2 and are active on their campuses or in their communities.

Kenner, a May XU graduate from LaPlace, La., and an alumnus of East St. John High School, is the fourth from Xavier to earn the Ashe honor three times. Alexandra Broussard (women's tennis), Kelechi Okoroha (men's basketball} and Terry Richardson (men's tennis) were the others.

Hightower, a May XU graduate from New Orleans and a McGehee School alum, was an All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference setter. Mead, a sophomore from Baton Rouge, La., and a graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, was named third-team Capital One Academic All-America® on Monday. He's a two-time All-GCAC distance runner.

Alexander is a sophomore from Shreveport, La., and a graduate of Byrd High School. Bellow is a sophomore from Natchitoches, La., and a graduate of Natchitoches Central High School. They helped the Gold Nuggets win GCAC Tournament championships and reach the second round of the NAIA Division I National Championship each of the past two seasons.

Mead is an accounting major; the other four are biology/pre-medical majors. Kenner — a two-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a Pattison Champions of Character Scholarship recipient his senior year — will attend LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans this fall.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

MEAC creates model for improvement

NORFOLK, Virginia -- In the last four years, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools have steadily increased their Academic Progress Rates, a notable feat for a conference composed largely of limited-resource schools. Though some trouble spots undeniably exist, the improvement is real.

The conference attributes its progress to the leadership of its presidents and chancellors in creating new strategies to work toward academic success. The bedrock of those strategies, Commissioner Dennis Thomas said, is a change in recruiting philosophy, accompanied by a new approach to academic support for student-athletes.

“As a conference, we have really stressed the importance of recruiting student-athletes who have the characteristics for success, talented student-athletes who can do college work,” Thomas said. “I want to really commend the presidents and chancellors for setting the table with higher expectations and holding people accountable for results.”


A&T Men Fill Immediate Needs With Recruiting Class

GREENSBORO, North Carolina -- There are three pressing needs North Carolina A&T men's basketball coach Cy Alexander pinpoints when discussing the 2012-13 season. The five-player 2012 A&T recruiting class will serve as the first few steps in helping Alexander address those needs.

Forwards Corvon Butler (6-6, 225, Champaign, Ill., Champaign Central HS) and Bruce Beckford (6-6, 215, Silver Spring, Md., Montrose Christian Academy) and guards Shaun Stewart (6-0, 180, Monroe, N.C., Sun Valley HS), Lamont Middleton (6-3, 210, Bronx, N.Y., Wake Tech CC) and Khalid King (6-2, 170, Columbus, Ohio, Brookhaven HS) will suit up for the Aggies this season.

Butler and Beckford will look to provide the physical toughness and size Alexander seeks. Stewart, Middleton and King must provide solid guard play by filling the void left by the graduation of guards Marc Hill and Nic Simpson, who ranked among the Aggies top scorers for the past two seasons.

Alexander gave credit to former Aggies head coach Jerry Eaves and his coaching staff for signing a trio of solid guards. With the addition of Alexander's two recent signees, the Aggies bolstered their roster despite the coaching transition.

"Overall, for as late as we got started, I felt we got two players with outstanding college bodies in Butler and Beckford," said Alexander. "They will look like Division I basketball players when they walk in the door."

Butler made the 2012 News Gazette All-Area Boys team. As the leading scorer for Champaign Central, he led the Maroons to their first Class 3A Rantoul Regional title in four years by averaging 14.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. In the process, he also recorded seven double-doubles. One of those double-double performances was a 14-point, 15-rebound outing against eventual Missouri Class 5A champion McCluer North. Butler finished 30 points in the News Gazette All-Star Game. Other schools showing interest included Oklahoma State, Butler and St. Louis.

"He is a very powerful player who really attacks the rim," said Alexander. "He is someone who is starting to develop his perimeter skills, so he can attack from the wing. We're looking to use him in mismatch situations. He is quicker than most power forwards and a little stronger than most small forwards."

Beckford can also play both forward positions. Alexander calls him a late bloomer who played for a legendary coach at one of the most prestigious high schools in America. Beckford, a product of Stu Vetter's Montrose Christian Academy nationally-ranked program, had a strong finish to his senior season. Beckford's signing was considered vital by Alexander because he and his staff have established a relationship with a high school program that produces topnotch talent each season.

"He didn't play a lot early in the season. But from what I understand, over the last 10 games of the season, a light came on. I like the fact that he is a highly intelligent young man. He comes to us with a college body, so he gives us another physical presence down low. He can also step out and hit the perimeter shot."

Stewart can hit a variety of shots. He comes to A&T with the reputation of being a scorer. He is Sun Valley High School's all-time leading scorer with more than 1,700 career points. As a senior, he averaged 26.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for a Spartans team that won the Southern Carolina 3A/4A regular-season and tournament championships. Stewart also earned District 9 first-team recognition from the North Carolina Coaches Association.

"On film, it looks like he can come in a play for us as a freshman," said Alexander, who added that he will mostly play Stewart at the point guard position. "He has unbelievable stats for a kid six-foot, 180 pounds. Yes, he did against high school competition, but obviously this young man knows how to score the basketball."

Middleton is from The Bronx, but he graduated from Enloe High School in Raleigh (he did not play basketball there). He will enter A&T as a junior after spending two seasons at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh. Last season, Middleton averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He also shot 45 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range. He posted 44 points against Catawba Valley Community College and finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Patrick Henry Community College. During his Wake Tech career, he scored 30 or more points three times, 20 or more points 10 times and he grabbed 10 or more boards five times. For his efforts, he earned first-team National Junior College Athletic Association honors.

"He will compete for a starting job, but I'm not quite sure yet at what guard position," said Alexander. "What I like about him is that he will rebound as a guard. He will get in there and mix it up. He is a tough-minded player who can get his shot off the dribble."

Khalid King was an early signing for A&T. He played varsity all four years at Brookhaven High School under head coach an Aggie alumnus Drew Williams. He was the leading scorer on his Club Ohio AAU team and made the Top-20 All-Star Game at the Buckeye Prep Shootout. MVP honors came his way at the 10th annual Capital Transportation All-Star Game. Prep Spotlight Magazine ranked him among the top 100 players in the state of Ohio.

"From what I am told, he is very athletic and has a good attitude. He is very coachable," said Alexander. "He is an off-guard who could play (point guard) if we needed him there, but we're going to give him a chance to play the big guard position."

The Aggies five signees will be complemented by seven returning seniors on the 2012-13 squad.


HU ineligible for 2012 FCS football playoffs

HAMPTON, Virginia -- The opening of football practice is more than a month away, but it's already certain that Hampton University's postseason drought will extend to six seasons. The Pirates learned Wednesday that they are ineligible for the playoffs for failing to meet NCAA Academic Progress Rate requirements.

Hampton is one of only three Division I schools whose student-athletes are ineligible for the 2012 Football Championship Subdivision postseason, and two are from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. MEAC school North Carolina A&T also fell below the required four-year APR average of 900 for postseason eligibility, as did Texas Southern of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

A primary reason for the drop-off is the 2010-11 football team's APR of ...


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

XU's Pieri, Mead selected CoSIDA Academic All-America

Javon Mead
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Matt Pieri and Javon Mead have been chosen to the Capital One Academic All-America® college division men's track and field/cross country team. Pieri was a second-team selection, and Mead made the third team.

Pieri and Mead are the second and third from Xavier to be chosen to an Academic All-America squad. Distance runner Joe Drexler-Dreis made the second team in men's track and field/cross country in 2009.

The College Sports Information Directors of America has sponsored the Academic All-America program since 1952. CoSIDA announced the team Monday.

"Matt and Javon are outstanding representatives of Xavier, the athletics department and our cross country program," XU coach Joseph Moses said. "They take care of their business in the classroom, in workouts and in competition. They're always focused on improvement and doing the right thing."

Matt Pieri
Pieri, a junior from New Orleans and a graduate of Brother Martin High School, is a pharmacy major at Xavier with a 3.79 grade-point average. Pieri is a three-time All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference runner and was the league's 2010 individual champion. He was a 2011 Daktronics Scholar-Athlete and was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society. Pieri has won a GCAC career-record 10 Runner of the Week awards, four this past season. He has 13 top-10 finishes and nine top-5s in three seasons.

At the Gulf Coast Stampede in Pensacola, Fla., on Oct. 1, Pieri ran 8,000 meters (4.97 miles) in 26 minutes, 51.1 seconds. That was Xavier's best time at that distance since Farris Gransberry set the school record of 25:54 in 1998.

Mead, a sophomore from Baton Rouge, La., and a graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, is an accounting major with a 3.66 GPA. Mead is a two-time All-GCAC cross country runner who finished third in the conference meet in 2010 and fifth in 2011. He has four top-10 finishes and two top-5s in two years.

Academic All-Americans are starters or important reserves with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. They also must have completed at least one full calendar year at their current institution and reached sophomore athletic eligibility. Pieri and Mead were announced May 31 as Academic All-District 4, which automatically advanced them for national consideration.

Xavier is a six-time defending GCAC team champion in men's and women's cross country. Both squads qualified for the NAIA National Championships three of the past four seasons, including 2011. The Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets will begin the 2012 season Aug. 31 in the Mississippi College Opener at Clinton, Mississippi.

2011-12 Capital One Academic All-America
Men's Track and Field/Cross Country

College Division First Team
Name School Yr. Hometown GPA and Major
Brayden Barrientez Oklahoma Christian Jr. Haysville, Kan. 3.96 Religious Edu./Children's Ministry
Hildon Boen Wayland Baptist Jr. Eldoret, Kenya 3.40 Business Adm., Accounting
Isaac Bryan Taylor Gr. Perkasie, Pa. 3.82 Higher Edu.&Student Devmt.
Andy Coy Dakota State Jr. Hill City, S.D. 3.96 Biology
Luke Fischer Northwest (Wash.) Sr. Kalispell, Mont. 3.75 Business
Jacob GunderKline Goshen Jr. Yellow Springs, Ohio 3.71 Interdisciplinary Studies
Bryson Harper Bryan Sr. Pikeville, Tenn. 3.90 Exercise and Health Science
John Harris Morningside Jr. Holstein, Iowa 4.00 Engineering Physics, Mathematics
Bo Johnson Concordia (Ore.) Jr. Toledo, Ore. 3.79 Exercise & Sport Sciences
Monte Larsen Morningside Sr. Neola, Iowa 3.98 Elementary Education
Tracy Marshall Oklahoma Christian Jr. Hutchinson, Kan. 3.96 Electrical Engineering
Micah Marvin Doane Sr. Crete, Neb. 3.96 Mathematics and Physics
David McWilliams Oklahoma Christian Jr. Naperville, Ill. 4.00 Youth Ministry
Tim Wyland Concordia (Ore.) Sr. Umatilla, Ore. 3.47 Exercise & Sport Sciences
Eric Whalen Concordia (Ore.) Sr. Tualatin, Ore. 3.37 Exercise & Sport Sciences

College Division Second Team
Name School Yr. Hometown GPA and Major
Brian Aukshunas Biola Sr. Orange, Calif. 4.00 Business Administration
Cordell Baker Oklahoma Baptist Jr. Sapulpa, Okla. 3.89 Biology
Brad Higgins Doane Jr. Norfolk, Neb. 3.61 Mathematics, Physics
Matt Huseman Northwestern (Iowa) Jr. Sac City, Iowa 3.34 Elem. Education
Matthew Hussey Roberts Wesleyan Gr. Marion, N.Y. 3.93 Teacher Education
Zachary Kraus Embry-Riddle (Fla.) So. New Milford, Conn. 3.85 Aerospace Engineering
Vincent Krejci Doane Jr. Crete, Neb. 3.74 Biochemistry
Randy Magnuson Taylor Sr. Aurora, Ill. 3.79 English Education
Lucas Manring Central Methodist Sr. Stockton, Mo. 3.56 Accounting
Greg Montgomery College of Idaho Jr. Boise, Idaho 3.48 Biology
Matt Pieri Xavier Jr. New Orleans, La. 3.79 Pharmacy
Austin Simikns Oklahoma Christian So. Fayetteville, Ark. 3.87 Accounting
Randy Sterk Grace Sr. McBain, Mich. 3.68 Biology
Nate Teten Doane Sr. Auburn, Neb. 3.59 Business Administration
Nate Winters Mount Vernon Nazarene Sr. Hilliard, Ohio 3.58 Chemistry (Pre-Medicine)

College Division Third Team
Name School Yr. Hometown GPA and Major
Gabe Aeschliman Biola Sr. Colfax, Wash. 3.79 Business Administration
Austin Basterrechea College of Idaho So. Gooding, Idaho 3.74 Undecided
Neal Ellis Oklahoma Baptist Jr. Midlothian, Texas 3.93 Applied Communication
Mike Huseman Morningside Jr. Alta, Iowa 3.52 Management Information Systems
Samuel Jones Goshen Jr. Timber Lake, S.D. 3.61 Theater
Anthony Lee Mount Vernon Nazarene Jr. Lisbon, Ohio 3.84 Sports Management
Jason McLeod Bryan Jr. Ocoee, Fla. 3.81 Exercise&Health Science, Business Adm.
Javon Mead Xavier So. Baton Rouge, La. 3.66 Accounting
David Parry McPherson Sr. Morganville, Kan. 3.90 Automotive Restoration
Jon Schoening Clarke Jr. Glenwood, Iowa 3.89 Biochemistry
Ryan Sherman Central Methodist Jr. Fayette, Mo. 3.60 Business
Peter Stacy Biola So. Issaquah, Wash. 3.69 Biology, Chemistry
Anthony Stasiak Park So. Liberty, Mo. 3.46 Chemistry
Alex Stephens Bryan Jr. Cleveland, Tenn. 3.79 Communication
Collin Whitsett Southern Nazarene Sr. Tulsa, Okla. 3.94 Biology
Monte Willett Embry-Riddle (Fla.) Sr. Grapevine, Texas 3.78 Aerospace Engineering

More on this Academic All-America team

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director