Monday, June 30, 2014

XU's Cassiere to speak at National HBCU Media Summit

NEW ORLEANS — Ed Cassiere, Xavier University of Louisiana's sports information director, will be one of the first-day speakers at the 2014 National HBCU Media Summit, to be held next week at Dillard University in New Orleans.
Cassiere — recipient of approximately 70 awards for sports information and sports
Cassiere joined XU athletics in July 2006. He publicizes Xavier's nine intercollegiate teams, which compete in the NAIA's Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.
The National HBCU Media Summit is presented by the HBCU Digest, the national news resource of record for historically black colleges and universities. The three-day event engages the national HBCU community in media literacy and development and provides best practices in media culture building for HBCU communities from around the nation.

Former AD, coach weigh in on FAMU athletic cuts

TALLAHASSEE, Florida  --  Florida A&M University Athletic Director Kellen Winslow is facing tough times that call for making difficult decisions in reducing costs in the department, a former FAMU football coach and athletic director said Monday.

But, at the same time, former Athletic Director Ken Riley and former head football coach Joe Taylor weren't sure that the recent firing of an assistant football coach and the suspension of two sports will make much of a dent in the $7-million deficit that Winslow must address.

"It's tough times and I do think some changes are going to have to be made," said Riley, who coached the Rattlers football team from 1986 to 1993 and later was athletic director from 1994 to 2003, during a telephone interview with the Democrat.

"Some people are going to have to make sacrifices and then you've going to have to evaluate all the way to the top. You're going to have to make some bold moves but you kind of have to do it slowly.


Former Hylton hoops standout chooses Alabama State

BEL AIR, Maryland  --  Chidozie Omile, a 2012 Hylton High School graduate, has committed to Division I Alabama State for men's basketball.

Omile played this season for Harford Community College (Md).  He was an all-Maryland JUCO Honorable Mention selection after averaging 20.9 points along with 5.9 rebounds a game.

Omile scored 40 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Harford's regular-season opener.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard/forward spent his freshman year at Division II Lander University where he averaged 4.0 points and 1.8 rebounds a game in 25 games.

Alabama State, which plays in the SWAC, went 19-13 this season and lost in the first round of the CIT.


SU Director of Bands Lawrence Jackson takes final bows on a 38-year musical career

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana  -- Drawers are empty and memories are sealed in boxes.
The Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band’s performance in last year’s Super Bowl? A photo is somewhere in the stack, as well as photos of Director of Bands Lawrence Jackson with late director and mentor Isaac Greggs, who recommended Jackson for the job.
Now it’s time for Jackson to say goodbye. After 38 years of band directing, eight of them as Southern’s director of bands, Jackson, 60, will officially retire on July 1.
Jackson removes yet another stack of folders from his desk drawer in his office in the Tourgee A. DeBose Music Building on campus. All are a part of his record at the university, where Jackson was able to achieve so much with so little.
His retirement, he says to set the record straight, wasn’t based on how much he was getting paid or how much was allotted to the band in the university budget.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Struggles of Historically Black Colleges and Universities: What must they do to survive?


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Elizabeth City State University faced a brief existential crisis last month when North Carolina lawmakers toyed with the idea of closing the historically black institution. The lawmakers backed off, but the episode was just one in a series of challenges facing the country’s 40 public historically black four-year colleges and universities.

Enrollment declines, cuts to government financial aid, leadership controversies and heightened oversight are working together to threaten some HBCUs in new ways and perhaps even jeopardize their existence, according to people who study, work with, and have led HBCUs. Some private black colleges, like other tuition-dependent private institutions, are also struggling, but public HBCUs are being tugged at by a variety of forces, old and new.

Some of the problems are, of course, historic. Public black colleges were created as part of segregated higher education systems, were starved for resources for much of their history, and generally lack the academic facilities, faculty salary pools, and other features found at top public universities. In an era when state leaders are talking about degree completion and speeding up graduation times, many public HBCUs remain proud of historic missions that include taking chances on students who went to poor high schools and who may face long odds.

When Tiffany Jones, an analyst at the Southern Education Foundation, visited one public HBCU to talk about the effects of performance funding on the university, officials there told her that it was “because of race that they were being targeted by the state system of higher education and their history of limited resources had provided them with limited ammunition to fight back.”


Southern awaits fate from NCAA

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana  -- All Southern University can do now is wait to hear its fate from the NCAA.

Jaguars officials appeared before the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance on Wednesday in Indianapolis, making a case to have lifted a ban on all its teams from competing in the NCAA postseason.

The hearing ended at mid-day and it’s unclear just how long it will be before a decision is made. Southern Athletic Director William Broussard texted that he and the Jaguars’ eight-person delegation to the hearing “are embargoed (from commenting) for 21 days or until a decision is rendered.”

He directed all questions to NCAA spokesperson Michelle Hosick, who wouldn’t speculate on when a decision would be forthcoming. On Tuesday, Hosick responded to an email by saying APR data for all Southern teams will be made public “later this summer.”


Delaware Lawmakers Honor DSU Softball, Baseball Teams

DOVER, Delaware  --  The successful 2014 Delaware State University softball and baseball seasons were applauded by state lawmakers during Wednesday’s General Assembly session at Legislative Hall.

The Hornet softball and baseball teams were presented resolutions in the House of Representatives and State Senate in honor of winning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Northern Division championships this season.

The resolutions were sponsored by Representative Donald Blakey and Senator Brian Bushweller in their respective chambers.

The DSU softball team was 35-17 overall (15-3 MEAC) and finished third in the MEAC Tournament during the 2014 season. Head coach Janice Savage was named MEAC Coach-of-the-Year, while outfielder Nicole Gazzola (so.), catcher Sandy Hawthorne (so.)  and outfielder Jessica Madrid (so.) were selected to the All-MEAC First Team. In addition, pitcher Tara Tursellino (fr.) was named MEAC Rookie-of-the-Year and to the All-MEAC Second Team.

The Hornet baseball team captured its third straight MEAC North title this season with a 17-7 league record (30-16 overall).

Four players - outfielder Aarron Nardone (sr.), catcher Mike Alexander (sr.), shortstop DJ Miller (sr.); and pitcher Matt McClain - were named to the 2014 All-MEAC First Team.

Delaware State was tops among all NCAA Division I baseball teams in batting average (.336) and on-base percentage (.435) during the 2014 season.  


Former Bison Nicholas Askew Hired As Swimming & Diving Coach

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- Howard University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Louis "Skip" Perkins has tabbed former Bison dual-sport star Nicholas Askew ('01) to be the next Head Coach of the school's Swimming & Diving programs.

Askew, a native of Kinston, NC, was a member of the Howard Swimming & Diving and Tennis teams from 1996-2001. He served as a team captain on the swim team, set several records  and was named team Most Valuable Player four times – three in swimming and one in tennis. He graduated from Howard with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology

This will be Askew's third role in his Howard career, having also served as an assistant under current tennis head coach Larry Strickland.

"We are glad to welcome Coach Askew back to Howard and to have him take over our Swimming & Diving program here at Howard," said Perkins. "Nic has a passion for the school, first-hand knowledge of the program and the coaching background necessary to help make our student-athletes successful."

Nic is married to the former Christie Davis and the couple resides in Washington, DC.


What made you want to pursue the head coach position here at Howard?
NA: The same reasons I chose to attend Howard as a student-athlete. Howard is among the few HBCUs that have a swimming & diving program, all while providing superior educational opportunities.  As a student-athlete, I recognized that I was a part of a rich legacy and now I have the privilege to coach and mentor a new line of student-athletes to continue the growth of that legacy. I knew I could not pass up that opportunity then or now.

What is your vision for the program and our student-athletes moving forward?
NA: Our program can be a strong competitor in our conference and beyond.  Each student-athlete will have the opportunity to give their best and be a part of the history of those that came before them.  We currently have some excellent swimmers who are proud to represent Howard.  Moving forward we will need to improve our depth, individual, and team performances.

What do you bring to the program that will make it successful?
NA: I've been "in their fins", so to speak.  I know what it's like to train, compete, and be successful. It's not complicated, but it does require hard work, dedication, and sacrifice.  My deep respect not only for the University and the Swimming and Diving program but also for each student-athlete will undoubtedly result in many successes to come.

Any other comments you'd like to share with the Howard community?
NA: I consider it an honor to be back at "The Mecca".  I am eager to work with our student-athletes and help them achieve great heights in and out of the pool.  I am also excited to reengage our alumni in the support of our program. With their additional help, Howard Swimming and Diving can be stronger than ever before.


CIAA Referee Charles R. Nicholson Sr. (WVSU) remembered for being ‘a model of decorum’

The family will receive friends on Sunday, June 29, 2014, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Scott's Funeral Home, 115 E. Brookland Park Blvd., where the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Omega Service will follow at 5 p.m.

Mr. Nicholson's funeral service will be held on Monday, June 30, 2014, 12 noon at First African Baptist Church, 2700 Hanes Ave., Richmond, VA.

RICHMOND, Virginia  -- High school basketball coach George Lancaster said he knew and admired referee Charles R. Nicholson Sr. for more than 40 years. He remembers during one of his first basketball games as a coach, he confronted Mr. Nicholson about a call he made.

“I probably wanted everything my way,” said Lancaster, who coaches basketball at Highland Springs High School in Henrico County. “I said to him, ‘I can’t believe you called that,’ and he asked me, ‘Do you want me to make any other call?’ ” And Lancaster said that stopped him in his tracks. He realized he wanted the right call, not just the favorable one. “No one wants something to be that it wasn’t,” he said.

Mr. Nicholson, 89, a lifelong Richmond resident and brother in-law of former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, died Monday. He was a physical education teacher in Richmond public schools and later served as an assistant principal and assistant director of finance. He also was a basketball and football referee for the Virginia High School League and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the oldest African-American athletic conference in the nation.

In 2001, he was inducted into the CIAA Officials Hall of Fame.



XU's Finnegan, with state's best time since '11, is All-Louisiana

Hannah Finnegan
NEW ORLEANS -- Xavier University's Hannah Finnegan, the 2014 state leader in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, earned a berth on the All-Louisiana track and field team announced late Saturday.

The top three performers in each event, based on times compiled by the NCAA and NAIA, earn All-Louisiana.

Finnegan, a sophomore from Pekin, Ill., and a graduate of Tremont High School, set an XU record of 11 minutes, 9.53 seconds in the steeplechase at the Tulane Team Challenge on March 29. Finnegan's time is the fastest by a woman from a Louisiana university since Nicholls State's Kadi Whisnant (10:47.15) in 2011.

Finnegan is the second from Xavier to be named All-Louisiana in women's or men's track and field. Catherine Fakler was All-Louisiana in 2013 in the women's steeplechase and the 5,000.

The Gold Nuggets in 2014 won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference outdoor championship for the second consecutive season and the third time in four years. They posted their highest-ever finish, 25th, at the NAIA National Championships.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Saturday, June 28, 2014

ASU may have 9 players that are academic casualties

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Alabama State is finalizing its 2014 football roster for the upcoming Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day on July 18 and as many as nine returning players from the 2013 roster will not make the cut because of academics.

Head coach Reggie Barlow wanted to withhold the names until every option was exhausted to extend their eligibility but the tentative list includes several of the seven players who were held out of spring practice for academic reasons.

That would include two potential secondary starters and a receiver which figured prominently in the Hornets' statistics in 2013.

Also included on that list are ...


Alcorn names LLJuna Weir interim athletic director

LORMAN, Mississippi   --  Alcorn President Alfred Rankins Jr. announced today the appointment of LLJuna Weir, associate director of athletics/senior woman administrator, as the interim director of intercollegiate athletics, effective July 1.

Rankins describes Weir as a leader who understands the day-to-day operations of Alcorn athletics and has established positive working relationships with coaches, staff and students.

I am grateful for another opportunity to serve Alcorn, said Weir as she discussed plans to continually advocate for student-athletes and positively position the athletic program.

“I believe in Alcorn athletics,” said Weir as she highlighted the strength of collaboration. “Working together, we can and will accomplish more. I believe in the power of members of the athletic family—our athletes, coaches, employees, student workers and alumni.”

Weir began her career at Alcorn 16 years ago and currently has oversight for Alcorn’s 17-sport athletic program.

She is a member of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA). Weir earned both her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from Alcorn. She is married to Dante Weir and they have two children, Jonathan and Danyel.

The University is accepting applications for a permanent athletic director online until the position is filled. Candidate screening will begin immediately. For consideration, interested applicants should apply early and online at


Hampton to Introduce Marshall as Director of Athletics

HAMPTON,  Virginia The Hampton University Department of Athletics will hold a press conference on Monday, June 30 at 11 a.m. in the team meeting room at Armstrong Stadium to introduce Eugene Marshall, Jr. as the new Director of Athletics.

Marshall will take over as Director of Athletics on July 1, where he will take over for Novelle Dickenson. Marshall brings well over two decades of athletic administration experience to the Pirates.

Most recently, Marshall was the interim deputy athletic director at Queens College in New York, where he reported to the Assistant Vice President of Athletics and worked in an athletic program that boasted 18 teams.

Prior to that, Marshall spent two years as the Director of Athletics at Iona College, overseeing some of the Gaels' most successful moments – including two NCAA Tournament appearances for men's basketball and the program's first-ever at-large bid.

For more information on Hampton University athletics, please call the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5811, or visit the official Pirates website at


S.C. State signs six in men’s cross country, track

ORANGEBURG,  South Carolina  -- South Carolina State head men’s cross country and track and field coach Tim Langford announced Friday the signing of six athletes who will compete for the Bulldogs in the 2014-15 seasons.

Roderick Britt, Elijah Case, Demek Kemp, Moses Kennedy, Taylor Simpson and Kameron Wallace will all suit up for S.C. State starting this fall.
* Britt (Throws/Dorchester, S.C./Woodland High School) earned all-state honors in the shot put and discus during the 2013-14 outdoor seasons at Woodland High School and won the 2014 state championship title in the discus. He will team up with his brother Anthony Britt, who had the second-longest shot put in the MEAC (54’ 7½”) during the 2014 outdoor season.
Case (Middle Distance/Laurens, S.C./Laurens High School) qualified for the South Carolina AAAA state championship twice in the 400m and ran a personal record of 48.82 as a senior. He also qualified for the 800m at the 2014 state championship meet. He set another personal best, this time in the ...

QB Fleming making fast recovery for FAMU Rattlers

TALLAHASSEE, Florida  --  The first day of 7-on-7 workout was all the confirmation that FAMU's quarterback Damien Fleming needed.

"We went right down the field and scored a touchdown," he said. "It felt pretty good being out here.

"The unsupervised workout that matches receivers against cornerbacks, defensive backs and safeties, was one of the first true test for Fleming since he suffered a season-ending foot injury. He went down last November with two games remaining and eventually missed spring workouts after having two surgeries.

"I feel pretty good," Fleming said. "I'm stronger than I've ever been."

While he was out during the spring, last year's backup ...


Report: South Carolina State will not eliminate basketball program

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina  -- Facing a budget crisis, South Carolina State University thought about eliminating its basketball program, but the team will continue to play for now.

According to a report from the AP, the school is in the middle of attempting to coordinate a new budget for the upcoming budget year, which begins next week. The school’s Board of Trustees could not come up with a final budget at a Wednesday meeting, but it appears basketball is safe for the time being.
Instead of getting rid of the basketball program, the school will figure out other ways to address the budget, including raising tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. The University also recently received a $6 million loan from the state of South Carolina, according to the report.
Had South Carolina State opted to get rid of basketball, they would have owed $730,000 in fees to the NCAA and it also would have meant probation, the school’s interim athletics director told the AP.

Florida A&M: Winslow's moves might be necessary after all


: Florida A&M Sports Information
TALLAHASSEE, Florida  -- Kellen Winslow, a NFL Hall of Famer, is not the most popular man in Tallahassee right now.

Not when it comes to some of the things that he's said and the moves he's made this week, as the new athletic director at FAMU.

He's fired coaches. He's suspended the men's tennis and golf teams, reducing athletics at FAMU to the bare minimum necessary to maintain Division I status in the NCAA.

But he insisted that the changes are necessary. He's cutting cost and trying to restructure an athletic department that is in over its head financially.

It's hard to imagine that Winslow is done yet if he is going to do all that he said has to be done.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Tennessee State Basketall Signs 6'-11" Chima Azuonwu

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  -- The Tennessee State men’s basketball program added another commitment, Thursday, as Chima Azuonwu (Nigeria) signed a letter of intent to play for the Tigers next season.

“We are very excited about the addition of Chima to our basketball program,” head coach Dana Ford announced. “Chima is a young man that is 100 percent committed to earning his degree from Tennessee State, and his outstanding size (six-foot-eleven, 285 lbs.) will be an asset on the court. He runs very well for his size and finishes well around the basket. We feel like, in due time, that Chima can make a major impact on our program.”

Azuonwu just finished his senior season at Darien HS in Darien Conn., leading the Blue Wave to an 11-11 mark – one of the best in recent history.
A member of’s Class of 2014 Watch List, Azuonwu nearly averaged a double-double in league contests a season ago.
Azuonwu is the second player from Nigeria signed by Ford during his first recruiting season, joining fellow big-man Christian Mekowulu, and the 11th commitment overall.

FAMU suspends golf, men's tennis teams

Men's Track & Field Head Coach Wayne Angel and Defensive Line Football Coach George Small Fired

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Athletic director Kellen Winslow continued to restructure his department Thursday, firing two FAMU coaches and suspending two teams.

Athletic director Kellen Winslow continued to restructure his department Thursday, firing two FAMU coaches and suspending two teams.

The changes come just one day after Winslow told a luncheon crowd that he'll be making cuts in the athletic department as part of his mission to restructure the athletic department, which he described as being broken.

A terse release from the university said FAMU suspended its men's golf and men's tennis programs in an effort to help reduce a deficit in the athletic department. The move also intended to address Title IX disparities.


Grambling State Miller Signs Contract to Play Overseas

GRAMBLING, Louisiana  -- Former Grambling State University guard Joanna Miller has signed to play with the Danish team Lemvig.  The team is a member of Euroleague, which features players from all over the world including the WNBA.

Through 30 games, Miller led GSU in scoring averaging 19 ppg, she made a team high 72 three pointers, while also leading the team in steals with a total of 78 on the year.  The Los Angeles, Calif. native scored 20 or more points on 10 different occasions and three times this season she poured in 30 or more points in a contest.

Miller began her career at North Carolina Central (Durham, N.C.), earning NCAA Div. I All-Independent honors in 2009-10 before transferring to Grambling.  During the 2012-13 season, she notched spots on both the All-Southwestern Athletic Conference First Team and All-SWAC Tournament Team, as well as being named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year.  Miller also led the conference in scoring that season.    She closed out career earning All-SWAC Second Team honors.
The GSU graduate is set to join a Lemvig team that finished third in the league last season.  


Thursday, June 26, 2014

North Carolina A&T's Lawrence Is Still Competing

GREENSBORO, North Carolina  -- Senior Desmond Lawrence will not be hanging up his track spikes for football cleats just yet. Lawrence still has some work to do on the track before putting an end to his collegiate outdoor career. He qualified to compete in the 100 meters at the 2014 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., at Hornet Stadium.

The 100 is scheduled to begin Thursday night at 10:25 EST. Lawrence will be up against tough competition. The qualifying mark for the 100 is 10.20. If 32 runners do not have the qualifying mark, the organization takes the next fastest times until the 32 slots are filled. Lawrence’s best time was without aid from the wind was 10.24, ran in the finals of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month.  

“I’m feeling real excited about this meet coming up, it gives me an opportunity to run a faster time in the 100,” said Lawrence.  

Lawrence will have the chance to compete against some of the top collegiate and professional track athletes in the country. Former North Carolina A&T track and field athlete Calesio Newman will also be competing.

In preparation, Lawrence did short workouts followed by allowing his body to recover with off days coupled with working on getting out of the starting blocks.

“At this late part of the season with a sprinter like Desmond, what you want to do is continue working on your strengths while continuously improving your weakness,” said Duane Ross, director of track and field programs. “We don’t want to focus too much on any small weakness because you don’t want to change the game plan completely. At this late junction it’s also about fine tuning.”

As an example, Ross said Lawrence only hit the weights one time this week. Everything they do is race modeling so Lawrence can continue to know what he needs to work on in his race. Lawrence’s body is learning what it needs to do consistently, so the All-American sprinter can have the proper technique during competition.

“He should be able to run 10.1, 10.0 rolling out of bed at this point,” said Ross. 

Lawrence was named an All-American after qualifying for the finals of the 100 meters at the NCAA championships, where he placed seventh by running a 10.24. He was also the MEAC’s 60 and 100 meters champion this indoor and outdoor season. 


2014 Savannah State Football Recruiting Class gets Praise

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- With the college football season quickly approaching, the Savannah State Tigers 2014 recruiting class getting some praise.

The 12th annual MEAC FanZone HBCU football class rankings are out.
Savannah State incoming class ranks fifth out of 22 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  The Tigers 2014 signing class is also ranked second in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference behind Florida A&M.
Head Coach Earnest Wilson III and his staff signed 38 student-athletes in the Class of 2014.  Wide Receiver Jaylen McGriff is considered the biggest grab by the Tigers.  The 6’1″, 190 pounder comes to SSU from Fork Union Academy.  He is the son of former SSU standout Wesley McGriff, who is currently an assistant coach for the New Orleans Saints.
Offensive lineman Daniel McKoy is expected to be ...

Xavier's Horn elected to GNOSF board of directors

NEW ORLEANS — Jason Horn, director of athletics and recreation at Xavier University of Louisiana, has been unanimously elected to the board of the directors of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.

Horn came to Xavier in March from the University of Detroit Mercy, where he served as associate athletic director for external affairs since 2011. Horn is one of two local collegiate athletics directors on the 130-member GNOSF board — the other is Tulane's Rick Dickson.
Organized in August 1988, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (4) organization whose mission is to attract and manage sporting events that have a positive economic impact on the greater New Orleans area. Throughout its 25-year history, the GNOSF has played host to hundreds of events and turned a $65 million investment, from public and private sources, into a $2 billion economic impact for the State of Louisiana and greater New Orleans.
    Jason Horn

Jason Horn
"We are delighted to add Jason Horn to the Sports Foundation board," said Jay Cicero, GNOSF president and CEO. "Jason's expertise at various levels of athletics will be a plus as we continue to manage and attract the world's premier sporting events for the benefit of our great city."

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

FAMU Rattler and Ojus educator dies before his final year

Alumni and colleagues gathered at Ojus Elementary School in Northeast Miami-Dade Sunday to say goodbye to beloved Coach Gregory Blatch, a FAMU graduate who taught P.E. for more than three decades. Blatch died last Thursday at age 61 from a heart attack just before his retirement next year at the school, located at 18600 W. Dixie Hwy near Aventura Mall. A petition is being circulated to rename the street in Blatch’s honor. He went to Florida A&M University and graduated in 1975 with a degree in science and physical education.

Farewell, Coach Blatch ...
MIAMI, Florida  -- When a teacher mistakenly put superglue in her eye instead of contact-lens drops, Coach Gregory Blatch splashed water in her face and stayed until the paramedics arrived.

If strangers came to Ojus Elementary who weren’t supposed to be there, Coach Blatch greeted them with his baseball bat and saw to it that they left immediately.
And if the coach caught a student running through the hallways, he’d be the first to make them turn around and walk properly.
Blatch, who for more than three decades taught physical education to thousands of Northeast Miami-Dade children, was set to retire at the end of the next school year.
He died Thursday at age 61 from a heart attack, leaving his former and current students and colleagues grieving for a member of the Ojus Superstars family.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Proposed South Carolina State Budget Could Shutdown Basketball Program

A proposal came down today that would potentially cut South Carolina State's basketball program. Are the Bulldogs on the verge of extinction?

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina  -- The South Carolina State has certainly had their troubles on the court but now it seems like their whole men's basketball program may be in jeopardy.  The Bulldogs have won just 20 games over the last three seasons combined and financial issues have some wondering if the program is worth keeping.
According to Charleston CBS affiliate WCSC 5 the school is considering taking radical action:
A budget proposed by the university's Board of Trustees Wednesday does not include funding for the men's basketball team or the women's golf team. The Lady Bulldogs' golf team would only be suspended, but the men's basketball team would be cut altogether.
Apparently South Carolina State asked the state for over $14 million to cover utilities and payroll and would still be have a $13 million shortfall with the proposed budget that would cut basketball.

CIAA football-championship game returning to Durham

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina  -- The CIAA football championship game is headed back to Durham.

This season's game will be played Nov. 15.
Jacqie McWilliams, the commissioner of the CIAA, said she’s excited about securing a two-year agreement to hold the game there.
“We are looking forward to going to Durham County Stadium again,” McWilliams said by telephone on Wednesday afternoon from her office in Hampton, Virginia. “We had two sites in mind but this worked out for us and we are very familiar with that facility so we’re thrilled.”
Last year’s game was scheduled to be played at ...

Donna Polk Appointed Interim Athletic Director at BSU

BOWIE, Maryland  -- Bowie State University President Dr. Mickey L. Burnim is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Donna Polk, associate athletics director and senior woman administrator, as the interim director of intercollegiate athletics following the departure of AD Anton Goff. She will assume that role effective July 12.

Ms. Polk is well qualified to lead the Athletics Department until a permanent director is named, having demonstrated effective leadership and a commitment to the university's intercollegiate athletics programs.
She has served as associate athletics director and senior woman administrator since 2011, assisting with the department's day-to-day business operations. In that role, she has provided oversight for compliance, student services, sports medicine, sports information, women's volleyball, softball and the men's and women's track and field programs.

Before taking over as full-time associate athletics director, Ms. Polk served as head women's basketball coach and associate athletics director from 2008-2011. As head coach, she compiled a 55-29 record and led the Lady Bulldogs to Central Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (CIAA) finals appearances in 2009 and 2010. She joined Bowie State University in 2005 as associate athletics director for operations.
Ms. Polk currently serves as chair of the CIAA's Senior Woman Administrators Association. She is also a member of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Committee, Women's Basketball Coaches Association, National Association of Athletics Compliance, and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in counseling psychology from Columbia Union College and a Master of Arts degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.


Winslow says FAMU athletics can’t be fixed

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Newly hired athletic director Kellen Winslow told a group of FAMU supporter that the university has an athletic department that is “broken.”

Speaking Wednesday afternoon at the 220 Quarterback Club’s weekly luncheon meeting, Winslow said the issues that plague FAMU athletics are too many for a quick fix.

“It’s broken,” Winslow said, to a suddenly hushed audience. “It can’t be fixed. Tear it down, start over build it the right way.

“We all know what happens to a house that doesn’t sit on a strong foundation. It doesn’t hold up to pressure. So let’s strip it down, restructure it in a way that it should be done so we can get the value of FAMU athletics that we’re supposed to.”


Former SCSU Bulldog Standout Has PreDraft Workout With L.A. Lakers

LOS ANGELES, California  -- Former All-MEAC performer and South Carolina State standout forwardMatthew Hezekiah was invited to predraft workouts with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Hezekiah was one of 12 prospects that worked out for Laker officials and general manager Mitch Kupchak. Others were, Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Nik Stauskas (Michigan), P. J. Hairston (UNC), Aaron Gordan (Arizona) and Julius Randle (Kentucky) just to name a few.

The 6-11, 220 pound Jacksonville, Fla. native led the Bulldogs in scoring the past two seasons with 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. The two-time All-MEAC Second Team performer has already been offered several professional contracts to play overseas.

To watch Hezekiah's complete predraft workout with the Lakers click link below:


TSU's Aaric Murray awaits fate in NBA Draft

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama  -- Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year Aaric Murray hopes to hear his name called in Thursday's NBA Draft.  

The 2014 SWAC Tournament MVP led Texas Southern University and the conference in scoring (21.3), blocked shots (2.5), and shot 49 percent from the field this past season.  Prior to his arrival at TSU, the Concordville, Pa. native had stints with two previous institutions.   He ended his college career by helping the Tigers claim the 2014 SWAC Tournament Championship and earning a spot to the NCAA First Four.

Arguably his most impressive night came in a one point upset victory over Temple.  He scored a career high 48 points while also setting all-time records for points scored against the Owls and points scored at the Liacouras Center, Temple's home arena which opened in 1997.  His production that night also set the 2014 single-game high-scoring mark for Division I basketball.

His capped  off his performance when he became the first NCAA Division I player taller than 6-10 to score 48 points in over a decade while also becoming the first player to connect on 20+ field goals in a game since 2011 (Jimmer Fredette -  BYU).

Murray completed workout sessions with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers among several other NBA teams.  According to USA Today writer Adi Joseph, Murray could fit the needs of the Detroit Pistons. More  


Monroe-Ouachita Alumni Chapter to Host 12th Annual Evening with GSU Athletics

GRAMBLING, Louisiana  --  The Monroe-Ouachita Chapter of the Grambling University National Alumni Association will present its' 12th Annual "Evening with GSU Athletics coming up on Thursday, August 7th at 6 p.m. ,The event will be held in the B.D. Robinson Room at the Monroe Civic Center complex.

During the event, GSU Athletic Director Aaron James will speak and head coaches will introduce their staffs. ,The chapter will hold a silent auction and give away door prizes, which will include two season tickets, two tickets to the Bayou Classic and other prizes donated by local businesses.

Additionally, several local alumni, who have made outstanding contributions to GSU Athletics will be honored and GSU season tickets will be on sale at the event. Admission into the event is $15 and ad space in the program is available. ,For more information contact Ezzard Burton at 318-680-9057, Johnny McCaa at 318-366-1077 or any other member of the Monroe-Ouachita chapter.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

B-CU’s Davis hopes hard work pays off in third season with Jags

JACKSONVILLE, Florida  -- Ryan Davis is wary of compliments.

Point out his faults, though, and he’ll take every word to heart.Davis said that approach keeps him on his toes and prevents him from letting down his guard.

It’s also allowed him to go from an undrafted rookie free agent out of Bethune-Cookman to a third-year NFL veteran defensive lineman with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Since I’ve been here … I’ve really been fighting for my place in the league,” Davis said after a recent workout.

A few minutes earlier, Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley called Davis an “intriguing” defender.
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Davis cracked a smile when told of Bradley’s kind words, then quickly snapped back to form.
“That’s great to hear when your coach says something like that about you,” Davis said.“You appreciate that. But you have to let it go in one ear and out the other.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saint Augustine's University Mourns Loss of Coaching Great Harvey Heartley, Sr.

Harvey Heartley, Sr.
Photo Courtesy: SAU Athletics
RALEIGH, North Carolina  -- The Saint Augustine's University family mourns the loss of all-time great Harvey Heartley, Sr., on Monday, June 23, 2014.
The funeral will be Friday, June 27, 2014, at First Baptist Church on 101 South Wilmington Street in Raleigh, N.C., at noon. The viewing will be at 11 a.m. The funeral home in charge is Barnes Funeral Home on 325 Camel Street in Clayton, N.C.
"My deepest sympathies go out to the Heartley family," said SAU Director of Athletics George Williams. "We lost a great Falcon today. Coach Heartley was a staple of our program for many years, and not only will our university miss him, but our whole community will too. He will be remembered as one of the greatest Falcons' coaches who ever lived.
"We are going to miss Coach Heartley's presence because he has done so much for so many of us. We will keep his legacy going."
Heartley, 79, was a legendary figure at Saint Augustine's University and in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) as an athletic director and head men's basketball coach. As athletic director, Heartley was instrumental in the growth of the ultra-popular CIAA Basketball Tournament and the University's athletic department.
A Raleigh, N.C., resident, Heartley played a huge role in changing the by-law to allow every team to qualify for the CIAA Tournament instead of eight teams. Under his leadership, the SAU athletic department grew from three to 13 sports during his tenure.
His illustrious credentials as an athletic director are only matched by his accomplishments as a basketball coach. Heartley is the University's all-time winningest men's basketball coach with 371 victories from 1971 to 1994, a span of 23 years.
Under his guidance, the Falcons reached the 1984 NCAA Division II men's basketball national finals, making them one of three current CIAA schools in conference history to advance to the men's national championship game. Heartley coached NAIA District 26 Tournament championship teams at SAU which qualified for the NAIA National Tournament in 1977 and 1980. He led the Falcons to the CIAA Tournament championship game four times.
Heartley began his career as an administrator in athletics at Saint Augustine's College, now University in 1971. In addition to serving as the athletic director and head men's basketball coach, Heartley also coached several other sports and taught classes. He was the school's athletic director from 1971 to 1996.
His achievements landed Heartley in numerous hall of fames including the CIAA Hall of Fame, the Saint Augustine's University Hall of Fame and the N.C. Central University Hall of Fame. Heartley also received several coaching awards including CIAA Coach of the Year, CIAA Athletic Director of the Year four times and NAIA District 26 Coach of the Year.
Before arriving at SAU, Heartley was a stellar high school boys' basketball coach. He coached state championship teams at then-Ligon High School in Raleigh, N.C. and then-Cooper High School in Clayton, N.C.

An outstanding basketball player, Heartley played at N.C. Central (then known as North Carolina College) from 1951-55 and was co-captain his final two seasons. A star in his own right, Heartley played alongside future NBA Hall of Famer Sam Jones in the backcourt during his basketball career at NCCU. A native of Clayton, N.C., Heartley played under legendary coach John B. McLendon.

An All-CIAA player in 1955, Heartley earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education and education administration from North Carolina Central University in 1955 and 1965, respectively.