Monday, August 31, 2015

Aggies notebook: A&T names freshman Lamar Raynard starting QB

GREENSBORO, North Carolina — Lamar Raynard has been named the starting quarterback for N.C. A&T’s season-opening football game against Shaw on Saturday night at Aggie Stadium.

Raynard, a redshirt freshman from High Point, didn’t play a single down for the Aggies last season.

“He’s going to be nervous,” A&T coach Rod Broadway said Monday. “It’s natural to be nervous going into your first game. Hopefully he has enough support around him where we can calm him down and get him to play at the level we need him to play.”

Raynard was named the starter over incumbent senior Kwashaun Quick, who won’t start a season opener for the first time in his career.


Big Easy Blastoff produces many XU facility records

NEW ORLEANS — It was a record-setting two days at the Big Easy Blastoff, the season-opening women's volleyball tournament that Xavier University of Louisiana hosted.
By tournament's end, the six schools combined to set or tie 17 Convocation Center records in 10 matches. A few highlights:
•  Shahala Hawkins of NAIA No. 19 Wayland Baptist broke the facility record for kills in a match twice Friday. She had 24 in a victory against Mobile in the morning, then blasted 28 more in the afternoon in a victory against Faulkner. Both matches lasted four sets. Hawkins, a senior, was first-team NAIA All-America in 2014.
•  Hawkins produced a Convocation Center-record nine blocks Saturday in a sweep of Loyola. Her six blocks against Xavier matched the most by an XU opponent.

 •  Seven times the facility record for digs in a match was tied or broken, with Loyola's Breanna Stevenson earning the mark when she had 34 in the final match, a five-set Wolf Pack victory against Mississippi Valley State.

The Convocation Center opened in November 2012 and became the site of XU home matches in 2013. It was the first time that the Gold Nuggets played host to their own tournament.
Xavier didn't set any records, but senior CeCe Williams produced a pair of kill-dig double-doubles — as many as she produced her previous three seasons.
Next for the Gold Nuggets (2-2) will be four matches in the Mariner Invitational at Brunswick, Ga.

They'll play Friday against Bethel (Ind.) at 9 a.m. EDT and NAIA No. 20 Coastal Georgia at 1 p.m.

The Gold Nuggets' next home match will be their Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opener, 7 p.m. Sept. 7 against Talladega.
Here are all the Convocation Center records set or tied Friday and Saturday:

Kills:  28 — Shahala Hawkins, Wayland Baptist, vs. Faulkner
Attacks:  73 — Shahala Hawkins, Wayland Baptist, vs. Faulkner
Aces by an Opponent:  4 — Nicole Armstrong, Mobile, vs. Wayland Baptist
Aces by an XU Opponent:  3 — Nicole Armstrong, Mobile (tied mark)
Blocks:  9 — Shahala Hawkins, Wayland Baptist, vs. Loyola
Blocks by an XU Opponent:  6 — Shahala Hawkins, Wayland Baptist (tied mark)

Kills by an Opponent:  64 — Loyola vs. Mississippi Valley State
Kills by an XU Opponent:  61 — Mobile
Hitting Percentage by an XU Opponent:  .299 — Wayland Baptist
Attacks:  214 — Wayland Baptist vs. Faulkner
Aces:  9 — Faulkner vs. Mississippi Valley State and Mobile vs. Wayland Baptist
Aces by an XU Opponent:  7 — Mobile (tied mark)
Digs:  104 — Wayland Baptist vs. Faulkner
Blocks by an Opponent:  64 — Mississippi Valley State vs. Loyola
Blocks by an XU Opponent:  10 — Wayland Baptist
Most Errors by an Opponent:  51 — Loyola vs. Mississippi Valley State
Fewest Errors by an XU Opponent:  22 — Faulkner and Wayland Baptist

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

NSU Football Coach Ready For New Season Team Displays New Uniforms At Media Day

NORFOLK, Virginia  -- Members of the NSU football team proudly displayed their new uniforms for the 2015 season during Media Day at Price Stadium on Sunday (August 23). Gone are the bright yellow helmets from the past few seasons as they have been replaced by solid green helmets with a gold stripe down the center. The Spartans’ new head coach, Latrell Scott, answered some questions from the New Journal and Guide about the upcoming season.

New Journal and Guide: What type of offense will the NSU fans see this season? Will it be exciting with reverses and trick plays?

Coach Scott: We are going to do whatever it takes to score. What is exciting to the fans may not always work. We do have some unique formations and play designs that should help us get into the end zone.

NJG: NSU kicker Cameron Marouf is one of the better kickers in the MEAC. Will NSU go by the motto: ‘3-points adds up’ and send Cameron out to kick a field goal rather than go for it on fourth down?

Coach Scott: I think we have found Cameron’s ...


Pough confident S.C. State ready to go despite suspensions

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- S.C. State head football coach Buddy Pough is excited about starting the 2015 season before a national audience on ESPN in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday.

He’s not so excited about being without four suspended players stemming from an on-field brawl between the Bulldogs and Norfolk State players in a game last November. Those players include starting senior tailback and preseason second-team All-MEAC selection Jalen “Scoot” Simmons, along with his 1,162 yards rushing and nine touchdowns last season.

Along with Simmons being relegated to standing on the sideline for one game, other suspended Bulldogs include redshirt senior defensive lineman James Settles, red-shirt sophomore defensive end Gregtavious Newell and sophomore quarterback-turned-wide receiver Calvin Giles-McCray (who just had hand surgery and will miss more time).

“I guess it’s time for us to ...


Miles football preview: Golden Bears trying to keep pace with Tuskegee in SIAC West race

FAIRFIELD, Alabama -- Miles College has posted four consecutive winning seasons, but the Golden Bears from Fairfield have some catching up to do not only in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but in their own state.

Downstate rival Tuskegee has won the SIAC championship in two of the last three years, and is the overwhelming preseason favorite to do so again in 2015. Miles — which last won the SIAC in 2011 — was picked second by league coaches in the West Division, behind the Golden Tigers.

Miles has finished 6-4 in back-to-back seasons, missing out on a second straight berth in the SIAC championship game when it lost 48-33 to Tuskegee in the regular-season finale. Reginald Ruffin's Golden Bears are 27-16 the last four seasons, but have not reached the NCAA Division II playoffs since 2012.

The Golden Bears won't do so in 2015 either, whether they win the SIAC or not. Miles has chosen to play this year in the annual Turkey Day Classic Nov. 21 against Alabama State in Montgomery, a move that disqualifies the Golden Bears from the playoffs (but not the SIAC championship game).


Tuskegee, Stillman season preview: SIAC contenders facing different challenges

TUSKEGEE, Alabama -- A year after winning the SIAC championship, Tuskegee was unanimously picked to win the conference's Western Division. Hold your horses, 10th-year head coach Willie Slater says.

"Sounds like the high expectations (belong to) the ones who did the polls," Slater said of the league's coaches. "I'm a little concerned because we're going to be young in some areas that are very important areas."

Leading receiver Marquel Gardner and returning offensive tackle Kelvin Shelton were preseason All-SIAC honorees on offense. Linebacker Jewel Ratliff, defensive end Julian Morgan and safety Michael Robinson earned defensive honors.

Ratliff had 8.5 sacks and three interceptions from his defensive end position. Morgan had 13.5 tackles, 9.5 for loss.

Linebacker Osband Thompson, defensive end Darian Hall and defensive back Cedric Huff also return to spark the defense.


5 Rutgers things to know Monday: Game-planning for Norfolk State (VIDEO)

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey -- The Rutgers football coaching staff shouldn't be unfamiliar with Norfolk State, having game-planned for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference squad as recently as 2013.

But that was a Norfolk State coaching staff under the direction of Pete Adrian, who retired last November following 10 seasons at the helm of the NCAA Division I-AA program.

Latrell Scott was appointed in his place, becoming the 17th head coaching in Norfolk State in mid-December.

Scott arrived after a successful two-year stint as the head coach of Virginia State University, a Division II program that compiled a 19-4 record and two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Northern Division regular-season titles in his two seasons on the sideline.


Edward Waters Tigers football moves to 2-0 on season

Courtesy: Edward Waters College Athletics

JACKSONVILLE, Florida  -- A favorable early schedule has Edward Waters Tigers chugging along with a 2-0 record before the real season gets underway.  Last week the Tigers had a blowout of a game with the University of Faith, winning 76-7.  Your guess is as good as mines as far as which War Eagles campus that this group calls home, with Internet websites popping up all over the country for this school.

The Tigers had their second blowout of an Internet based-college with the University of God's Chosen being taken down 57-8 on Saturday. Chalk it up that the EWC athletic director knows how to give head coach Alvin Wyatt an opportunity to re-build the Tigers defense.  This will be Coach Wyatt's first full season coaching the Tigers.  This is also the second year that EWC will be playing a full Sun Conference schedule.

The Tigers had a bumpy ride last season, finishing with a 5-6 record, but 2-2 under Wyatt.  Edward Waters has been tabbed to finish fifth in the conference after tallying 11 points with Point grabbing nine points to round out the six team preseason poll. First team All-Sun Conference honoree and dual threat quarterback Tyler Mahla will once again lead Edward Waters for the 2015 campaign. Last season, Mahla led the Tigers on the ground with 541 rushing yards and through the air with 1,616 passing yards. 

In the 2015 Sun Conference Football Preseason Poll, the coaches have selected Webber International to repeat as conference champions. The preseason poll, which was voted on by the league's six head coaches, was released by the conference office last week.

So much for working out the kinks with the upstart faith-based internet schools. 

The rest of the Tigers schedule has legitimate programs from established conferences at the NCAA Division I FCS, Division II and NAIA Division I levels.  The Tigers will have to play the Sept. 12 home opener with FCS newcomer Kennesaw State before an official sellout crowd at Fifth Third Bank Stadium and a Atlanta area television audience of WUPA-TV/CW 69.  The KSU stadium was opened in May 2010 and seats approximately 8,300.  The current record attendance is 2,683 vs. Georgia State (Soccer, August 23, 2012).

KSU will provide a big time atmosphere with a noise level not usually experienced by NAIA programs, like EWC. This home opener for KSU has been planned for over a year and Edward Waters will have to bring their "A" game, if they expect to leave with the "W."

The schedule get tougher for the Tigers, moving forward with seven road games, included an ESPN3 televised game with Jacksonville University in the first Jacksonville Football Classic game. Jacksonville is no pushover, finishing 9-2 last season in the Pioneer Football League (PFL), the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. 

The Dolphin redshirt senior quarterback Kade Bell returns to direct the Preseason All PFL offensive unit after throwing for 3,181 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, leading the league with a 152.3 pass efficiency rating (ninth among FCS quarterbacks).  Coach Kerwin Bell has five first team All- PFL players returning in 2015 at the junior/senior level.

“This is one of the toughest schedules ever played in our football program’s history. We know it won’t be easy, but with consistent dedication from our athletes and unwavering support from the community we can succeed,” said Wyatt.  Four of the five conference games for the Tigers will be played on the road.  Ouch!

Next up for the Tigers are the Maroon Tigers of Morehouse College that steamrolled EWC 31-6 on the home field last season.  It just might be payback time for the Tigers and their new high powered offense. But, don't count "da house" out, yet.  Depth is always a major factor in these NAIA vs. NCAA Division II match-ups.

The Tigers play as an associate member of The Sun Conference for football and the NAIA's Gulf Coast Athletic Conference for all other EWC sports.

2015 EWC Tigers Football Schedule

August 22 University of Faith Home W 76-7
August 29 University of God's Chosen Home W 57-8
September 5 Morehouse College Away 7:00 p.m.
September 12 **Kennesaw State University Away 4:00 p.m. TV: WUPA-TV/CW 69 Atlanta
September 19 OPEN
September 26 Point University Away 12:00 p.m.
October 3 *Southeastern University Home 1:00 p.m.   
October 10 Webber International University Away 5:00 p.m.
October 17 %Jacksonville University Away 1:00 p.m.  TV: ESPN3
Jacksonville Football Classic
October 24 Concordia College - Selma,  Home 3:00 p.m. Homecoming 2015
October 30 Ave Maria University Away 12:00 p.m.
November 7 Warner University Away 12:00 p.m.  TV: GTV Sports

** Game will be televised in Atlanta market on WUPA-TV/CW 69.
% The Jacksonville Football Classic will be played at D.B. Milne Field on JU's campus. This game will be televised on ESPN3.
GTV Sports is partner of  The Sun Conference and game broadcasts are aired live over the broadband internet channel Internetwork 1 (, and re-broadcast multiple times throughout the week.

Alvin Wyatt, Sr.
Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator

Gregory Ross, Sr.
Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Football Coach

Alabama A&M season preview: Bulldogs looking for QB to step up

NORMAL, Alabama -- There is more optimism and familiarity around the Alabama A&M football program in head coach James Spady's second season.

The Bulldogs were picked third in the SWAC's Eastern division, but return seven starters on offense and nine on defense.

During last year's 4-8 season, four losses were by a combined 15 points.

Two players were named to the preseason all-conference teams — defensive end Anthony Lanier and offensive lineman Courtney Brown.

"I think I'm a little bit more prepared this year than I was last year," Spady said. "I know what our constraints are. I know the things that we need to work on. I have a good feel for what we're not good at and a good feel for what we're pretty decent at. That makes you go into the season with a little more confidence."


SWAC preview: Alcorn State looking to be league's first repeat champion since 2002

LORMAN, Mississippi  -- The Southwestern Athletic Conference hasn't had a repeat champion in football in more than a decade, but Alcorn State looks like a solid favorite to win its second consecutive league title in 2015.

The Braves won their first SWAC championship of the title game era a year ago — and their first league title since 1993 — when they knocked off Southern 38-24 in Houston last December. With preseason SWAC Offensive Player of the Year John Gibbs back under center this year, Alcorn State is the overwhelming favorite to make a return trip to NRG Stadium.

The Braves were the overwhelming choice by league coaches and sports information directors to win the SWAC East Division this season, outpointing Jackson State, Alabama A&M, Alabama State and Mississippi Valley State. Alcorn State received 95 poll points and 10 first-place votes, well ahead of Jackson State (83).

Alcorn's league championship in 2014 was its first in 21 years, when future NFL MVP Steve McNair was under center for the Braves. Gibbs is arguably Alcorn's most exciting player since "Air" McNair, totaling 2,482 yards and 21 touchdowns passing, and 1,006 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing.


Alabama State aiming to improve under new coach

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Alabama State has won seven or more games in five consecutive seasons, but new head coach Brian Jenkins is looking for more — quickly.

"The opportunity is now, the opportunity is here and it's time for us, not I, but us to get it done," Jenkins said shortly after he left Bethune-Cookman for ASU in December. "We have enough in place.  There's some work that can still be done, but we have to do it.  I don't want anyone to look at me as the answer; you have to first look at yourself and then come together and get it done."

Jenkins held a 46-14 mark in five seasons at Bethune-Cookman, including three NCAA FCS playoff appearances and two wins over FBS teams. He hopes to carry on that same success with the Hornets, who haven't won a conference title since 2004.

ASU began the 2014 season with a 4-1 mark before struggling down the stretch to a 7-5 finish that included a four-game losing streak.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Queen City Battle of the Bands Showcase 2015



XU Nuggets sweep Faulkner, finish 2-2 in Big Easy Blastoff volleyball

NEW ORLEANS -- CeCe Williams has 13 kills and 10 digs to help Xavier University of Louisiana defeat Faulkner 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 in the Big Easy Blastoff women's volleyball tournament at the Convocation Center.

The Gold Nuggets finished 2-2 in their season-opening event. They lost 26-24, 25-21, 25-18 to NAIA No. 19 Wayland Baptist in the first match Saturday.

Claudia Haywood had nine kills and Taylor Reuther eight for Xavier against Faulkner, and Jodi Hill and Jada Broussard had seven apiece. Darian Harris had 19 digs, and Reuther had 18. Franziska Pirkl had 42 assists and eight digs.

The Gold Nuggets had advantages of 50-31 in kills and 69-64 in digs to avenge a season-opening home loss to Faulkner from a year ago.

"We dug a lot of balls and had some solid blocks for our defense to play around," XU coach Hannah Lawing said. "We made the right adjustments at the net to get the points we needed."

For the tournament, Williams led Xavier with 39 kills, and Harris had a team-best 65 digs. Freshman Ruby Hunt-Thompson hit an XU-leading .317 in 60 attempts.

Wayland Baptist won all four of its matches, including a 25-22, 25-12, 25-20 decision against Loyola, and is 8-0 this season. Loyola closed the event with a 29-27, 25-17, 19-25, 23-25, 15-13 victory against NCAA Division I's Mississippi Valley State, which lost all four of its matches to NAIA opponents. Faulkner beat Mississippi Valley 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 25-18.

Xavier will play four matches in the Mariner Invitational at Brunswick, Ga., next week, including NAIA No. 20 Coastal Georgia at 1 p.m. EDT Friday. The Gold Nuggets' next home match will be their Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opener, 7 p.m. Sept. 7 against Talladega.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Concordia-Selma Falls in Season Opener, 34-3

LAKE WALES, Florida  -- The third edition of Warner University football got underway on Saturday afternoon as the Royals welcomed Concordia University (Ala.) to Legion Field. After a slow start, the Royals came alive in the second half and routed the Hornets 34-3 in front of more than 700 fans.

The Royals now hold a 3-0 series advantage over the Hornets having defeated them in each of their first two seasons of intercollegiate competition.

It was a sluggish start for the Royals in the first half as they totaled 88 yards in 22 plays. They did, however, hold a 10-3 lead at halftime thanks to a two yard touchdown run by Darrin Davis, Jr. and a 35-yard field goal by Angel Puente. Davis' touchdown capped off a four-play, 56 yard drive to start the second quarter for the Royals.

The Hornets got on the scoreboard first with a 22-yard field goal on their opening possession but were stymied the rest of the half by the Warner defense. The Hornets ran 33 plays in the first half but were held to 55 yards and turned the ball over five times. Don Wise, Jr., Patrick Moreland and Jamal Rivers all had interceptions for the Royals in the first half.

In the second half, the Royals were forced to go to their bench in their second possession and Andrew Rodriguez stepped under center for the Royals. Rodriguez hit Jeff Suarez, Jr. in stride on his first play from scrimmage and Suarez, Jr. took it 36 yards to the endzone to put Warner ahead 17-3.

On their next possession, Rodriguez took the Royals 38 yards in three plays resulting in a five yard touchdown run by Traven Phillips. With the defense continuing to stifle the Hornets' attack, the Royals added another touchdown in the third quarter when Rodriguez hit Raheem Phillips for a 23-yard touchdown pass.

Fuente ending the scoring for the Royals with a 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

The Warner defense got off to a great start in 2015 forcing seven turnovers in the game. The Royals picked off four Hornets passes and forced three turnovers. They gave up just five first downs all afternoon and held the Hornets to 134 yards of offense despite being on the field for over half the game.

Larry Faison had a presence up front with nine tackles including a sack. Anthony James and Jamal Rivers both had six tackles. James recorded two tackles for loss while Rivers had one of the four Warner interceptions. James and Greg Hawthorne teamed up for the second Royals' sack of the game as well.

The Royals' offense ended the day with 245 yards of total offense, 219 through the air and 26 on the ground. Rodriguez was nearly perfect through the air completing 5-of-6 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Davis, Jr. was 7-of-12 for 68 yards before leaving the game in the second half.

The Royals spread the ball around on Saturday afternoon as nine players hauled down catches. Lester Lewis caught two balls for a team-high 41 yards. Davis, Jr. was the leading rusher with 18 yards on eight carries.

The Royals hit the road for the first time this season next week as they head north to Barbourville, Ky. where they will face Union College (Ky.). Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m.


Florida A&M Rattlers working with restricted practice time

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Alex Wood is working with limited practice time now that the school year is underway due to NCAA sanctions brought on by low Academic Progress Rate scores.

The scores are a reflection of previous years, Wood said, and not indicative of how the Rattlers are performing in the classroom now. Still, the Rattlers are restricted to 16 practice hours a week, and Wood said the team is making the most of the time it can be on the field.

“We’ll review the academics bi-weekly,” Wood said.

“We didn’t do that in the summer. We had midterm grade checks in the summer. But we’ll go bi-weekly, plus the midterm grade checks for the fall and the spring. Our kids are competing in the classroom. This group of guys, our GPA is not where we want it to be, but it’s on the rise, for sure.”

The Rattlers open the season Sept. 5 against USF.


WSSU Rams Preseason #24 In Poll

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- The WSSU Rams will open the 2015 football ranked #24 by in their preseason poll.

The WSSU Rams football team is also picked to win the CIAA Southern Division and take home the 2015 CIAA Title.

Winston-Salem State will open the season 2015 season on next Thursday, September 3rd, at UNC Pembroke. Kickoff is slated for 7:00pm.

Tune in to Ken Winfrey on to hear all the action all year long on the WSSU Rams Radio Network! 2015 Preseason Poll
Team  (2014 Record)
1.    Minnesota State  (14-1)
2.    CSU-Pueblo  (14-1)
3.    West Georgia  (12-3)
4.    Ferris State  (11-1)
5.    Ohio Dominican  (11-2)
6.    Pittsburg State  (11-2)
7.    Minnesota Duluth  (13-1)
8.    Northwest Missouri  (10-2)
9.    Lenoir-Rhyne  (11-1)
10.    Sioux Falls  (11-1)
11.    Delta State  (9-2)
12.    Angelo State  (9-3)
13.    North Alabama  (9-2)
14.    Bloomsburg  (11-2)
15.    Valdosta State  (10-3)
16.    Concord  (13-1)
17.    Colorado Mines  (10-2)
18.    Ouachita Baptist  (10-1)
19.    Harding  (9-2)
20.    Central Missouri  (8-4)
21.    Texas A&M-Commerce  (9-3)
22.    West Chester  (11-2)
23.    Azusa Pacific  (10-1)
24.    Winston-Salem St.  (9-2)
25.    Grand Valley  (6-5)


2015 preview: Mississippi Valley State at a glance


ITTA BENA, Mississippi  -- Rick Comegy (2nd season at MVSU, 158-91 record overall)


What happened last year?
It was another in a long line of tough seasons for MVSU as it went 2-9, and 1-8 in the SWAC. There was a long-awaited victory against Jackson State it could hang its hat on, but not much else. The Delta Devils were outscored by an average of 20 points per game, but were competitive in losses to Grambling, Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Three questions for coach Rick Comegy

What did you learn in your first year at Mississippi Valley State? “I learned you have to understand the culture, know your way around and be familiar with the program and the student athletes that live here.”

What’s different about this year compared to last year? “I’ve seen the attitude I’ve been looking for. They (the players) were all tied (to different coaches). I’ve tried to bring (my type) of guys in and see if that’s going to change anything. I’ve seen flashes.”


Virginia Union hoping two-quarterback system the one

RICHMOND, Virginia  -- Virginia Union’s two-quarterback system was on display Saturday at Hovey Field in the Maroon and Steel game, the final intrasquad scrimmage before the Panthers’ regular-season opener next weekend.

Austin Parker, a 6-foot, 210-pound senior transfer from Purdue, started behind center and took all the first-quarter snaps. Shawheem Dowdy entered in the second quarter and the two shared series for the remainder. Dowdy is a 6-4, 218-pound redshirt junior who played in eight games last season.

Both had success. Parker threw a pair of touchdowns and rushed for one. Dowdy threw for three.

Second-year head coach Mark James was pleased with the way the offense moved throughout the day, scoring 41 points.
James said the Panthers will name a starter midweek as his team opens the 2015 season at home against Brevard College on Saturday, but it may not necessarily be a reflection of actual playing time.

“We’re a two-quarterback system,” James said, “so we use both quarterbacks. It’s just a matter of which we use first.”


WSSU Rams' schedule opens with 5 game at home

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina  -- Winston-Salem State’s basketball schedule will test Coach James Wilhelmi’s team early and often.

“We have such a new group of players we felt it was in our best interests to load up on home games early,” Wilhelmi said. “And we were able to get five straight home games, and I think that’s going to help us.”

The Rams will open Nov. 13 against Concord and then play the next night against Charleston at the Gaines Center. On Nov. 17, the Rams will take on UNC Pembroke before playing host to Elizabeth City State on Nov. 21. The fifth home game to open the season will be Nov. 24 against Morris College.

“Our track record is pretty good at the Gaines Center, and this is a good way to get those guys acclimated early,” said Wilhelmi, who will begin his second season as head coach.


Alabama State preview


1: Top-shelf line: Senior Damian Love and junior Jylan Ware are both happy to be preseason All-Southwestern Athletic Conference offensive linemen. Check back at the end of the year to see if they’re happier. “It’s a pat on the back right now, but I’d rather get the handshake later,” Love said. “It’s a motivator.” Love, a Stanhope Elmore graduate, said he was preseason All-SWAC as a sophomore. He didn’t make the postseason list. “It’s an honor, definitely, but I see that as a ‘who to watch’ award,” Ware said. “It’s preseason. It’s more of a ‘he was good last year, and he should be good this year.’”

2: Ripe Berry: Middle linebacker Kourtney Berry, after reaching triple-digit tackles each of the last two years, returns for the Hornets. Oh, he’s just a junior. Berry also faces massive expectations. SWAC coaches pegged him as the league’s preseason defensive player of the year. Berry made a league-high 128 tackles last year, including a career-high 20 in a mid-November game with Grambling. He reached double figures in seven games. He was also first-team All-SWAC as a freshman when he started every game and made 105 tackles.


2015 preview: New faces hope to improve Tigers’ offensive line

JACKSON, Mississippi -- “Tender” and “passive” were two adjectives people within the Jackson State program used to describe last season’s offensive line.

The big men up front struggled mightily, and the rest of the offense took a hit because of it. The running game averaged a measly 3.3 yards per carry, and quarterback LaMontiez Ivy was sacked 39 times.

So it’s not hard to figure out why Tigers coach Harold Jackson went out and stocked up on a bunch of linemen during the most recent recruiting cycle.

Some of those new faces were in the mix for playing time during training camp earlier this summer. Those practices served as a preview of what they’ll see on Saturdays this fall in the SWAC.

“They need to adapt to this league,” offensive line coach Steven Aycock said. “This (the SWAC) is the SEC of the HBCU circuit, and that’s the only way that I look at it. Everybody in this conference plays fast football, and they need to adjust to that.”


SCSU Hamilton ready to dazzle in final season

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- • ANTONIO HAMILTON (r-Sr., Defensive Back/PR, 6-0, 185, Johnston) – The top returner in the nation and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will suit up for his final season in the Bulldog uniform. A double threat as a defender and return specialist ranks among the top academic scholars in this year’s senior class.

• LAST SEASON: Earned Second-Team and Third-Team All-MEAC honors while playing in 12 games. Led the nation (FCS I-AA) and MEAC with 15 punt returns for 384 yards (25.6 yards per return) and two touchdowns. Returned a 91-yard and 51-yard punt return for touchdown in back-to-back MEAC contests. On defense finished with 36 tackles (34 solo); 4.5 tackles for loss (18 yards); one sack, three interceptions; six pass deflects, and one fumble recovery.


Tuskegee preview


1: Lacey’s time: Former Wetumpka star Kevin Lacey went into last season as the unproved backup, but he knows 2015 is his year. The 6-foot-6 quarterback took over as the starter midseason last year, but is coming into this year with the same attitude. Lacey completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,287 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. He also ran for 220 yards and a touchdown. “Last year, coming in as a backup, you kind of want to work harder and practice like the starter. Now I am the starter, but I still don’t want to get complacent,” Lacey said. “I work hard and try to get better each and every day.”

2: Questions along O-line: The thing that’s worried Tuskegee coach Willie Slater most this offseason is, who’s going to block? The Golden Tigers have to replace all five starters along the offensive line, including All-SIAC selections Matthew Reese, Jamil McKenzie and Darrius Moore. “We’re going to be new all away across the front on the offensive line, so there’s a big question mark there,” Slater said. “I don’t know how good we can be, I do think we have potential there though. But we don’t have experience there, that’s the scary part.”


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Albany State Season Review: Season of Change

ALBANY, Georgia  — Dan Land still has his trademark smile.

He’s still the same approachable coach who is easy to talk to, and his players love him.
About the only thing different about Land this year is he’s the head football coach at Albany State instead of an assistant. Land took over, getting promoted to be the interim coach when longtime Albany State coach Mike White unexpectedly took the same job at SIAC rival Benedict at the end of the 2014 season.
Land vows that not much is going to change when the Rams open their 2015 season by playing host to Valdosta State Saturday night.
“We’re not trying to recreate the wheel here,” Land said. “All we did was took exactly what we had, that we know we’re good at, and just change some things that would best benefit us on defense and on offense. Normally on offense, we would do more offensive sets and on defense, what we’re doing now is more zone defense…making the quarterback read more.”

Fort Valley State shooting for conference championship

FORT VALLEY, Georgia -- With two games remaining last season, Fort Valley State had its sights set on an SIAC championship. In good shape at 6-2, the Wildcats traveled to Atlanta to face Morehouse, but despite a near-miracle comeback, FVSU fell 24-21 to the Maroon Tigers.

“That just put a damper on everything,” FVSU head coach Donald Pittman said. “We lost motivation. The next game against Albany State, we always get up for that game; if we would have won, we would have had something to play for. But we did not win against Morehouse, so we weren’t playing for the conference championship. Dropping those two really dampered the whole season, really.”

FVSU finished the season with a 6-4 record. Boasting five players who earned preseason All-SIAC honors, the Wildcats expect more this year. As voted on by the conference’s head coaches, the preseason All-conference team features wide receiver Drelon Freeman, defensive back Brian Walker and place-kicker/punter Juan Serna on the first team, along with quarterback Otis Brown, who earned the recognition as a running back, and offensive lineman Michael Brown on the second team.


Terry Sims takes over Bethune-Cookman, says program won’t miss a beat

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- The coach has changed but the philosophies and schemes remain the same at Bethune-Cookman.

Brian Jenkins went 46-14 in five seasons with the Wildcats, losing just six Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games, before moving on to Alabama State. Bethune administrators selected one of Jenkins’ longtime assistants, Terry Sims, to take over the program.

The 43-year-old Sims is a head coach for the first time, but he has been the Wildcats’ assistant head coach, working with defensive backs and the special teams units since 2010.

“Everything is the same,” Sims said. “It was a group of men that got together and came up with a blueprint for this program. The majority of those men are still here. We’re still operating the program that has been in place.”


Rutgers Week 1 opponent: Norfolk State at a glance

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey -- One week from today, Rutgers will open its 2015 campaign. For the first time in the Kyle Flood era, the Scarlet Knights have the luxury of beginning their season at home versus a team from the Division I-AA ranks.

With training camp coming to a close Friday, the Scarlet Knights will begin game-week preparations Monday. Kickoff for the opener next Saturday is slated for 12 noon at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Here are some things to know about the Norfolk State Spartans:


2015 preview: SWAC at a glance

Coach with the toughest job

Rick Comegy, Mississippi Valley State: No coach has really been able to figure out how to succeed consistently at Mississippi Valley State since Archie Cooley led the program to three consecutive winning seasons in the early-to-mid 1980s.

Newcomers to watch

Guy Stallworth, Grambling, DB: The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior college transfer will aim to help a pass defense that ranked last in the 10-team SWAC last season.

Derrick Griffin, Texas Southern, WR: Griffin was one of the top receiver prospects in the country coming out of high school in 2013. He signed with Miami, but didn’t qualify. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Griffin should be a matchup nightmare for the rest of the SWAC.

Toughest schedule


TSU Tigers Football Head Coach Rod Reed talks about the final scrimmage before the Sept. 6 opener

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  -- TSU Tigers Football Head Coach Rod Reed talks about the final scrimmage before the Sept. 6 opener in the John Merritt Classic vs. Alabama State.


Former SC State Hall of Famer Bobby Hemby Passes

Robert M. (Bobby) Hemby Sr.
Courtesy: SCSU Athletics
ORANGEBURG, South Carolina  --  Robert M. (Bobby) Hemby Sr., a standout football player at South Carolina State during his collegiate days (1968-72), and an SCSU Hall of Fame inductee, died Thursday, August 27, 2015 at the MUSC Medical Center in Charleston following a brief illness. A lifelong educator, Hemby was 65.

The funeral will be held Thursday (Sept. 3) at 1 p.m. at New Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1785 Amelia Street, Orangeburg. Carroll Mortuary of Bamberg, SC is in charge of arrangements. Friends may call at the residence, 392 Woodberry Drive, Orangeburg, or the funeral home.

A Brooklyn, NY native, Hemby lettered four years as a defensive back at SC State. He intercepted 16 passes, including three in one half against Morgan State in 1971, during his Bulldog career. He played in the inaugural Black College East/West All-Star Game where he had one interception as a senior, and later signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972. Hemby was inducted into the SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

Hemby earned both a bachelor's and a master's at SC State, where his three sons also played football. Robert II, played quarterback and defensive back for the Bulldogs; Ryan played defensive back; and Russell, quarterback and defensive back. His widow, Grace Hemby, and daughter Robyn Hemby, are also SC State graduates.

In addition to the family members mentioned above, Hemby is survived by his mother, Mattie Johnson and a sister, Patricia Means, both of Syringa, Virginia.


Countdown To Kickoff: NCCU Eagles Quarterbacks

DURHAM, North Carolina  -- The NCCU Football "Countdown To Kickoff" video series continues with fall camp interviews with co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach T.C. Taylor.

Hear from the coach as he discusses the student-athletes in their positions, how they've progressed through camp, and who to look for during the upcoming season.

The NCCU football team opens the 2015 season at home inside O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium on Sept. 5 versus Saint Augustine's University at 6:00 p.m. in the sixth annual Prince Hall Shriners Diabetes Football Classic.

Single game and season tickets are still available. For ticket information, call the NCCU Ticket Office at 919-530-5170 or visit


Smart. Fast. Physical. AAMU Football season tickets, tailgate spots on sale

NORMAL, Alabama --  Football season will be here before you know it so don't hesitate in getting your tickets to make sure you don't miss a minute of the action.

The Bulldogs' fast, physical and smart brand of football is sure to excite the fans of the Maroon and White. Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits Sept. 26 to kick off the season for Homecoming and the Louis Crews Classic. Also coming to The Hill are Jackson State (Oct. 17), Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 7) and Texas Southern (Nov. 28).

With the aroma of barbecue in the air, tailgaters enhance the legendary Bulldog football atmosphere and there are still spots available for the 2015 season for you gridiron grillers.

For our fans' convenience, the Louis Crews Stadium ticket office has expanded hours to Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Don't be left on the sidelines. Join the excitement of Bulldog football with your friends and family in the crowd and at the smokers.


Dawn of a new era for Delaware State football

DOVER, Delaware -- The Delaware State football team was up with the rising sun Saturday inside Alumni Stadium.

With their first game under new coach Kenny Carter a week away, the Hornets can’t wait to get started.

The same could be said for Saturday’s crack-of-dawn practice, even though alarms had to be set early.

“That’s what you want to do,” said senior safety Terrick Colston, who woke at 4:30 a.m. for the 6 a.m. session, referring to the Hornets’ willingness to work. “I was one of the first ones in there, too.”

Delaware State has more difficult challenges ahead than wee-hours wakeups.

Liberty, which DSU visits Saturday night in Lynchburg, Virginia, is ranked No. 15 nationally in FCS.


Six-figure payday awaits ASU with 2018 game at Auburn


The Hornets and Tigers will meet on The Plains on November 17, 2018

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Talk about providing a boost to its athletic budget.

Montgomery Advertiser confirmed through an Auburn spokesperson that Alabama State is scheduled to receive $515,000 to play at Auburn in 2018 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. For the 2013-14 academic year, ASU reported to the U.S. Department of Education it spent $2,803,620 on football and made the exact same amount from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.

The school also reported it spent $1,068,488 on the salaries of all head coaches, a total of $565,820 on operating expenses for football games (football scholarships) and $278,709 for recruiting expenses for all men's and women's sports in 2013-14.

In 60 minutes of football, ASU is about to make nearly twice as much money than it spent on recruiting for all its sports in 2013-14.

ASU president Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd and interim athletic director Melvin Hines, an Auburn graduate and former player for the Tigers, signed the contract for the 2018 Auburn game July 30 and Auburn AD Jay Jacobs signed it Aug. 20. My suggestion for Auburn fans is to stick around for halftime of that one.



Xavier goes 1-1 in Big Easy Blastoff volleyball

(Click on Photo to Enlarge)
NEW ORLEANS -- Xavier University of Louisiana women's volleyball split its two matches Friday in the Big Easy Blastoff at the Convocation Center.

The Gold Nuggets defeated Mississippi Valley State 26-24, 25-17, 25-16 in the tournament's opening match, then lost 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14 to Mobile in the final match of the day.

Xavier (1-1) will play Saturday at 9 a.m. against NAIA No. 19 Wayland Baptist and 3 p.m. against Faulkner. Admission is free.

The Gold Nuggets' Jodi Hill hit .600 with 10 kills and four aces against Mississippi Valley, and Taylor Reuther had eight kills and nine digs in her first match since 2013. The victory was Xavier's first against an NCAA Division I opponent since 2011.

Against Mobile, freshman Ruby Hunt-Thompson had 14 kills, and CeCe Williams had 11.

In the other matches, Wayland Baptist defeated Mobile 24-26, 26-24, 27-25, 27-25, Mobile beat Mississippi Valley 25-13, 25-13, 25-18, and Wayland Baptist defeated Faulkner 25-17, 23-25, 28-26, 25-17. Wayland Baptist, 6-0 this season, was the only team to finish unbeaten Friday.

In Saturday's other matches, Mississippi Valley will play Faulkner at 11 a.m., Wayland Baptist will play Loyola at 1 p.m., and Mississippi Valley will meet Loyola at 5 p.m.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

XU's Jackson wins women's race at Big Easy Opener

(Click on Photo to Enlarge)

NEW ORLEANS— Xavier University of Louisiana's Zahri Jackson ran two miles in 14 minutes, 27.3 seconds Friday to win the women's division of the Big Easy Opener cross country meet at City Park.

Jackson, a fifth-year senior, earned her fourth collegiate victory and her first since winning her second straight Gulf Coast Athletic Conference title in 2012.

Freshman teammate Brianna Pace, in her collegiate debut, was second in 14:48.0. XU senior Briana Simms was third in 14:56.3.

The Gold Nuggets outscored city rival Dillard 17-45 to win the team title.

Power Miler Track Club scored 15 points to win the men's division. Xavier was second with 61 points, and Dillard was third with 64.

Power Miler's Drew Haro ran 5,000 meters in 15:56.9 to finish first. The first collegiate men's finisher was Xavier junior Christopher August, in eighth place at 17:03.6. Brent Kitto was the second Gold Rush finisher, placing 11th in 17:22.9.

The Gold Nuggets and Gold Rush will compete next Friday in the Southern Miss Invitational at Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

JSU Tigers’ Cook settling in at center

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Off the field, Jackson State junior center Markus Cook has spent enough time studying to compile a 3.3 grade-point average as a special education major.

On the field, Cook, who has hopes of becoming a coach someday, has to put in his fair share of studying, too. He’s had to learn defensive fronts and tendencies, protection calls and the rest of his fellow linemen’s assignments.

It’s that kind of preparation that has turned Cook into one of the more steady presences along the Tigers’ offensive line during the first few weeks of practice.

“His consistency through camp (stood out), there was a good battle between he and Alem (Amores at center) but he’s been the more consistent guy making calls …,” offensive line coach Steven Aycock said.


Benedict Season Opener Selected As Part of SIAC TV Package With ASPiRE Network

ATLANTA, Georgia -- Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will broadcast four SIAC football games on ASPiRE Network for the upcoming 2015 football season, including Benedict College's season-opener.

"We are pleased to have SIAC football games on the ASPiRE Network this fall," said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore. "This partnership will provide our fans with multiple opportunities to follow our exceptional SIAC football programs and student-athletes throughout the season."

The SIAC football broadcast schedule will debut on ASPiRE on September 5th when Benedict College hosts Livingstone College in the annual Palmetto Capital City Classic in Columbia, South Carolina. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m.

ASPiRE is available in the Columbia area on Time Warner Cable channel 185. For other areas, please check with your local cable provider. ASPiRE is not available on either satellite service – DISH and DirecTV.

In addition, ASPiRE will broadcast the Morehouse College against Tuskegee University at the historic A.J. McClung Stadium in Columbus, Georgia for the 80th annual Tuskegee/Morehouse Classic on October 10th.

ASPiRE will also broadcast games during the final two weeks of the season starting on November 7, with the 26th annual Fountain City Classic game between Albany State University and Fort Valley State University at AJ McClung Stadium in Columbus, Georgia, and the 2015 SIAC Football Championship Game between the East and West Division Champions at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday, November 14.

The upcoming games include:

Saturday, September 5 – Livingstone College at Benedict College. 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 10 – Morehouse College vs. Tuskegee University. 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 7– Albany State University vs. Fort Valley State University. 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 14 – SIAC Football Championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

About ASPiRE
ASPiRE is a television network that celebrates the groundbreaking achievements of African-Americans. ASPiRE offers a diverse programming mix of movies, series and specials featuring music, comedy, drama, faith/inspiration, theater/performing arts, lifestyle and news/information. The network was launched June 27, 2012 by Magic Johnson Enterprises, which acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. ASPiRE is available in over 20 million homes in 22 of the top 25 African-American markets including New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit, and on Twitter @tvASPiRE.

The SIAC is a NCAA athletic conference consisting primarily of historically black colleges and universities with headquarters in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The SIAC sponsors six women's sports and seven men's sports. Last year 388,787 fans attended SIAC football games as the SIAC once again led NCAA Division II in average football attendance for twenty-third time out of the past twenty-five years.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Coppin State alum Stephanie Ready named first full-time female NBA game analyst

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- FOX Sports Southeast announced that Coppin State alum Stephanie Ready will make the move from the Charlotte Hornets sidelines to the broadcast booth with Eric Collins and Dell Curry, becoming the first full-time female NBA game analyst.

Ready has been a fixture with the Charlotte Hornets. She will be entering her 12th season with the Hornets telecasts. She was previously the host of Hornets LIVE! and an in-game sideline reporter.

"I've had a love affair with the game of basketball for as long as I can remember, both as a player and a coach," Ready said. "I'm honored and excited to be able to share my passion for this sport with our audience. FOX Sports and the Hornets have always taken pride in being innovative and forward-thinking. I'm extremely proud to be a part of history."

Prior to her broadcasting career, Ready was an assistant coach in the WNBA and the NBA D-League, making her the first woman to coach a men's professional sports team. Ready also spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the men's basketball program under former head coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell. At the time, Ready was the first female to hold the position of full-time recruiting assistant on an NCAA Division I men's basketball staff.

Ready was also a part-time sideline reporter for The NBA on TNT during the 2006 and 2007 NBA Playoffs, and the WNBA Playoffs on ESPN2 during 2006. Also in 2006 and 2007, Ready worked as a sideline reporter during the first and second rounds of the Women's Final Four of college basketball for ESPN2.

"I'm excited about it," Ready said about becoming the first full-time female NBA game analyst. "I look back at my career and the careers of other ladies who are in the same industry and I think of Ann Meyers, who is with the Phoenix Suns organization. She's a vice president there, so she's on the executive staff but she also is a television analyst. She's been on their broadcasts for a while, just not on a full-time basis because, as I said, she's an executive as well. She has proven herself and proven to people out there who might be a little more narrow-minded, that women are perfectly capable of doing the same jobs in this industry that men can do."

A native of Takoma Park, Maryland, by the time she graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in psychology, Ready was ranked in the top-10 on the career women's basketball list at Coppin State in steals (second), assists (fourth), points (eighth) and rebounds (tenth).

The following is courtesy of Matt Rochinski of, who caught up with Ready to discuss her historic move.

On making the move to the Hornets broadcast booth:
I am thrilled – I'm over the moon with excitement. When I was a coach and considered getting into television, this was the job that I wanted. This was the reason that I got into sports broadcasting, because I wanted to be a game analyst. Even though I've done it all these years – some college games and some NBA games on a fill in basis – this will be the first time I get to focus primarily on the job that I love the most in television. I couldn't be more excited.



Smith Named Chowan Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach

MURFREESBORO, North Carolina -- The Chowan University Athletic Department along with Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Melissa Nakasuji announced the addition of Kyle Smith on Wednesday afternoon. Smith enters his first season with the Hawks and serves as the Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach. He noted, "I am so excited to be part of a developing program and am thankful to Coach Nakasuji for bringing me in at such an exciting time".

Prior to joining the staff at Chowan, Smith served as the Women's Lacrosse Coach and Program Director at Otay Ranch High School in California during the 2014-15 season. While serving in that capacity, Smith was responsible for the development and supervision of the varsity and junior varsity programs. Under Smith's direction, the Otay varsity lacrosse team posted a 19-2 overall record and made an appearance in the Division 2 State Semi Finals. The team had four First Team All-Conference recipients and four Second Team All-Conference honorees. That same season, the program enjoyed an 11-game win streak and a Mesa Conference Championship.

Smith also gained experience as the Assistant Coach and Vice President of the Black Widow LAX Women's Lacrosse Club. As part of the organization, Smith organized practice and tournament schedules, developed practice plans and was an integral part of player recruitment and skill development and budget management.

Additionally, Smith served as an Assistant Coach/Defensive Coordinator for the Olympian High School men's varsity lacrosse program in 2014. After the program posted a 4-16 record in their inaugural season, Smith helped guide the team to a 13-7 record the following season including a Semi-Final playoff appearance in the state's Division 2 playoff. Smith also coached the South Bay Outlaws Boy's Lacrosse Club for three seasons.

Smith has a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University and gained Professional Trainer/Nutritional Specialist Certifications from the International Sports Science Association in Carpenteria, California.

The Chesterfield, Michigan native currently resides in Murfreesboro with his wife, Kelly.