Friday, March 31, 2017

Howard’s James “J-Byrd” Daniel reportedly to transfer – Maybe not!

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Citing an unnamed source on a Twitter post Monday night, ESPN College Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman said Howard senior guard James “J-Byrd” Daniel III, the top scorer in the 2015-16 NCAA Div. I season who played in just two games for the Bison this season, will play his final year of eligibility elsewhere.

Contacted by phone early Tuesday afternoon by the Black College Sports Page, Daniel said he is not necessarily transferring. “Howard is one of my top choices,” said Daniel who is graduating from Howard in May but will have another year of eligibility based on his short stint on the court this season.

“I’m more or less weighing my options,” Daniel said. “Howard is still in consideration.”

As to whether he talked with Goodman, Daniel said “Not me personally. I’ve just put my name out there. I’m open to everything.”

Daniel sustained a high sprain to his left ankle in the preseason that kept him out of all except two games in January for Howard this season. He scored 24 points in a 78-66 home loss to Florida A&M on Jan. 4 and 10 points in a 66-48 loss at Columbia three nights later.Oon


UMES earns NCAA bowling title berth

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -- The University of Maryland Eastern Shore got the news it was waiting for Wednesday as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champion bowling team earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years.

“You can say that this is the whole year worth of work that we put in,” said graduate student Thashaina Seraus in a news release. “This is one of the main goals we wanted to accomplish. Of course, USBCs too, but this is the one that we really fought for over three years and finally we made it.”

The Hawks (84-39, 19-5 MEAC) will now travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the NCAA Championships at the Raising Cane’s River Center after being one of the eight teams to receive an invitation.

Eastern Shore hadn’t been to the NCAA Championships since 2014, when it finished third behind Sam Houston State and Nebraska.

The NCAA released the competing teams one-at-a-time on a live webcast. When the eighth and final berth was announced, the screams came and three years’ worth of tension left the room.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Gold Nuggets record three team bests at Rice meet

Results:  Men   •   Women

HOUSTON, Texas — Xavier University of Louisiana's Tramaine Shannon, Martina Wright and Clarke Allen recorded their team's best marks of 2017 in the women's division of the Rice Victor Lopez Classic track and field meet Saturday.

Shannon finished 10th in the 400-meter dash in a career-best 57.69 seconds. Wright ran the 100 in a career-best 12.57 to finish 25th, and Allen was 41st in the 200 in 26.17.

Brianna Pace placed ninth in the women's 800 in 2:23.88. In men's competition, Khalil Gallien finished 13th in the 110 hurdles in 15.77.

There was no team scoring in the meet, which is the fourth of the season for XULA. Next for the Gold Nuggets and Gold Rush will be the Mississippi College Twilight Invitational at 1 p.m. Friday in Clinton, Miss. The meet replaces the Southern Miss Invitational on the XULA schedule.

Here are all XULA results from the Rice Victor Lopez Classic:

100: Martina Wright, 25th in 12.57 seconds; Alexis Milton, 33rd in 12.73; Justyce Riggs, 36th in 12.82

200: Clarke Allen, 41st in 26.17; Alexis Milton, 42nd in 26.21; Janelle Jones, 49th in 26.44; Martina Wright, 54th in 26.55; Justyce Riggs, 58th in 26.86

400: Tramaine Shannon, 10th in 57.69; Ry-Anne Riley, 15th in 58.35; Ariane Williams, 18th in 58.48; Janelle Jones, 28th in 59.50

800: Brianna Pace, 9th in 2:23.88

400 Relay: Martina Wright, Alexis Milton, Janelle Jones, Justyce Riggs, 12th in 48.33

1,600 Relay: Ry-Anne Riley, Ariane Williams, Tramaine Shannon, Clarke Allen, 10th in 3:57.19

Javelin: Tamia Scott, 24th in 28.79 meters (94 feet, 5 inches)

100: Joseph Moses III, disqualified (false start)

200: Joseph Moses III, 31st in 23.31

110 Hurdles: Khalil Gallien, 13th in 15.77

Long Jump: Keairez Coleman, 29th in 6.25 meters (20 feet, 6 1/4 inches).

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

TSU's Derrick Griffin on NFL audition: 'It's a dream come true'

HOUSTON, Texas -- In a blink, Derrick Griffin was gone. He adeptly escaped from the grasp of a Prairie View A&M cornerback as he accelerated downfield into a smooth fly pattern.

The former Texas Southern wide receiver easily gathered in a long touchdown catch as a feeble attempt at press coverage was easily broken through by his superior size and athleticism.

Griffin is typically bigger, stronger and faster than anyone he faces on a football field or a basketball court.

Dismissed from the football team after violating team rules last season when he got in an argument with his position coach Griffin opted to declare for the NFL draft and the reigning SWAC Basketball Player of the Year has signed with veteran NFL agent James "Bus" Cook.

On Monday morning on the Rice campus, the physically gifted 6-7, 235-pound former blue-chip Miami and Texas A&M recruit will audition for NFL scouts.


Arizona Cardinals: DSU Rodney Gunter Has Chance to Shine

GLENDALE, Arizona -- Former 4th round pick Rodney Gunter came to the National Football League from the small school of Delaware State. Weighing in at 6’5″ and 305 pounds, the defensive lineman made the first All-MEAC team in 2013, and the second team All-MEAC team both in 2012 and 2014.

“I wanted to come back and tell somebody I might have seen one of the best defensive line prospects in this draft,” Cardinals’ scout Buckner said.

The selection of Gunter could be attributed to his accolades from the college ranks, such as his aforementioned all-conference selections, or it could be due to his game day statistics. Even with the accolades and statistics, many people, including Gunter himself, were surprised when the Cardinals selected him with their 4th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

As a four year starter, Rodney Gunter produced 188 tackles, 18 sacks, and 37 tackles for loss in college. These stats average out to about 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 9.25 tackles for loss each season. For a down lineman of Gunter’s size, these numbers are impressive, and his pro-day performance explains how he was able to put up those numbers.

During the Delaware State pro day, Gunter posted a 5.00 second 40-yard dash, an astounding time for someone over 300 pounds. He also posted a 27 inch vertical, a number that is only 1.5 inches less than running back Leonard Fournette posted in this year’s combine. This type of athleticism that the defensive lineman has displayed shows flashes of his enormous potential.


2017 NFL Draft Daily Chicago Bears Target: North Carolina A&T Running Back Tarik Cohen

CHICAGO, Illinois -- Every day we are taking a look at a new 2017 NFL Draft target for the Chicago Bears. We are going deep for today’s prospect, taking a look at North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen.

Cohen was an extremely productive back in college, leaving North Carolina A&T as the leading rusher in the history of the MEAC conference (5,619 yards). Cohen also won the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year award three separate times and was named an FCS All-American in 2016. Simply put, he was a big-time playmaker on the football field.

Cohen is an explosive back who can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. However, he has one huge negative in his game — size. Cohen measured in at 5-6, 179 pounds at the combine. That kind of size typically does not play at the next level. However, Cohen has a special overall skillset that makes him an intriguing late round sleeper to think about.

The Human Joystick

An extremely slippery and elusive runner, Cohen is ridiculously difficult to bring down in open space. He has fantastic short area quickness and elite-level start-and-stop ability. Also, despite being so small, Cohen is a relatively compact runner who has a bit of power behind his pads. He did a great job of bursting through arm tackles in college.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tennessee State Offense Shines at First Spring Football Scrimmage

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  -- The Tennessee State football team’s offense shined in the first scrimmage of the spring semester at Hale Stadium on Saturday.

“I thought it went well,” TSU Head Coach Rod Reed said. “What I liked was our effort. I think the offense ran the ball really well today. Defensively, we didn’t tackle as well as I would like us to tackle. I think that’s something that can be corrected very easily. All in all, the effort in the game was great.”

Running back Sabree Curtis, Jr. ran for a touchdown and caught another out of the backfield, while tight end Mahlon Medley added a receiving touchdown on the day. Quarterbacks Treon Harris, who is in his first semester at TSU after transferring from Florida, and Michael Hughes finished with one passing touchdown apiece.

The defense came out strong, forcing a three-and-out on the first possession of the game. After a 30 yard rush by Tyler Black, the defense was again up to the task, getting a stop on fourth down on a tackle by Justin Culpepper.

Hughes scrambled for positive yards on two occasions on the next possession, which resulted in a seven yard TD pass to Medley. Safety Larry Wilhoite broke up a pair of passes for the defense on the drive.

With Harris under center, the offense continued to move down the field in a drive capped by a five yard Curtis touchdown run up the middle.

The defense responded with a pair of three and outs highlighted by a Sidney Hammond sack.

The final touchdown drive on the day was a seven-play outburst orchestrated by Harris. The quarterback completed passes to Ronnie Killings and Patrick Smith in addition to two positive rushes for Harris to get in the red zone. Curtis continued to shine with a nine-yard touchdown catch from Harris to finish things off.

The Tigers will resume practice on Monday with the next scrimmage scheduled for Saturday, April 1, at 11 a.m.

TSU Head Coach Rod Reed
"We made some big plays. Sabree Curtis did a good job running the ball. Treon (Harris) did a really good job running our offense today. The big thing I wanted to see was, could we run the football? I thought we ran it pretty well. On the flipside of that, our ability to stop the run came in the form of a lot of missed tackles today. We can fix that. I’m really excited about where we are right now and where we are moving forward.”
- Thoughts on the first scrimmage

“Without question it’s important, especially defensively having a new coordinator. I thought Coach Fisher and his staff did some really good things today, but there are a lot of things to clean up also. It’s great to get it on tape in a live scrimmage situation with officials, and we are happy with how today went.”
- On how important it is to build throughout the spring


Larry Inman Resigns as TSU Head Women's Basketball Coach

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Larry Joe Inman, the winningest coach in Ohio Valley Conference history, has announced his resignation as the head women’s basketball coach at Tennessee State University.

“I am resigning for personal reasons and want to thank Ms. Phillips for the opportunity to coach at Tennessee State University,” said Inman. “I’ve had a very positive experience here and I will always cherish the memories and relationships that I’ve had the opportunity to develop. Most of all, the memories that I’ve had with my players through the years have been wonderful and they’ve made such a difference in my life.”

Inman, who has spent the past five seasons at the helm of the women’s basketball program, led the Lady Tigers to an OVC Tournament Championship in 2015 and helped the team earn an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time in 20 years.

During his stint at TSU he coached one All-OVC first team selection, one OVC Tournament MVP and four members of the All-OVC second team.

An eight-time Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, Inman has won seven OVC Tournament championships at three different schools and has 10 regular season titles under his belt.

Inman began his collegiate coaching career at Middle Tennessee in 1978 before spending 20 years at Eastern Kentucky. As his success continued, his name became synonymous with winning. Entering this season, with a total of 535 wins, he was the 24th all-time winningest coach among active Division I coaches. He is also a member of three Halls of Fame - Ohio Valley Conference, Middle Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky.

“We are thankful to Coach Inman for guiding the Lady Tiger program and taking TSU women’s basketball back to the top with the 2015 OVC championship and NCAA tournament berth,” commented Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips. “I view Larry both as a friend and colleague and personally wish him all the best as he moves into a new phase in his life’s journey. Tennessee State has been blessed by his time here with us.”

The university will conduct a national search to identify the next head coach of the women’s basketball program.


Ashland Defeats Virginia Union in National Championship Game

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Virginia Union might not have been the best team in its national quarterfinal and semifinal, but it was the best team on those nights.

However, No. 1 Ashland was the best team all season, and that was no different in the NCAA Division II women's national championship Friday night at Ohio Dominican University's Alumni Hall in Columbus, Ohio.

Alexis Johnson scored a season-high 28 points, and Lady Walker had 19, but the Panthers lost 93-77 loss to the Ashland Eagles.

Jodi Johnson and Laina Snyder led Ashland (37-0) with 19 and 17 points, respectively.

Ashley Smith scored only 6 points following her 28-point performance in the semifinals for Virginia Union, which finished national runner-up for the second time in program history.

Union (28-5) had the lead at points in the second quarter and trailed by just 2 halfway through the third quarter. But from the five-minute mark on in the third, Ashland took over the game, outrebounding the Panthers 19-13 in the second half and expanding its lead to 16 points in the fourth quarter.

"They finished their easy baskets, where we missed a lot of easy baskets," VUU coach AnnMarie Gilbert said. "Oftentimes, it looked like we were playing a little fatigued or just not balanced."

Virginia Union made its first three field goals of the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 1. But with VUU down 2 with 5:07 remaining in the quarter, Ashland went on an 8-2 run in a span of three minutes with only one made field goal. Maddie Dackin hit six free throws before the end of the third, giving Ashland a commanding 68-58 lead.

An Alex Henning layup and a 3 from Johnson put the Eagles up 15 to start the final quarter, and they never led by fewer than 12 points in the fourth. Ashland made 18 of 20 free throws in the second half and 20 of 22 in the game. Virginia Union was 5 of 15 from the line.

"In a game in this magnitude, you cannot miss assignments, you cannot leave shooters wide open, you cannot miss free throws," Gilbert said. "All the little things that took for us to get here, we just failed in some of those areas today."

Virginia Union struggled to convert from the floor early, missing 10 of its first 14 shots, where Ashland hit at a 64 percent clip in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Panthers started with a 7-0 run to take a 3-point lead before Ashland's second-ranked 3-point shooting was on full display. The Eagles hit 5 of 9 shots from beyond the arc in the quarter, but Union hung with the No. 1 team, with 20 combined points from Walker and Johnson in the quarter.

For 30 minutes of the game, the margin was either one or two possessions. However, what had gotten the Panthers to the title game was their rebounding, and Friday night, after grabbing 60 rebounds as a team in the semifinal, Virginia Union was outrebounded 37-34.

The offense proved particularly difficult for Gilbert to solve. She said her team had yet to play a team that plays like Ashland.

"We tried a little zone, we tried a little man, we pressured a little bit," Gilbert said. "But they push tempo so well. They get it out of the net and they go."

In Johnson's first year in the program, she was one of the most productive players and led the team in scoring in the national championship — a feat she credits to Gilbert.

"It's a learning experience," Johnson said. "We want to come back and make sure we learn from our mistakes."

It is Ashland's second national championship in four years, winning it all in 2013 also.

Virginia Union made the national final in Gilbert's second year at the helm, proving the program is trending in the right direction.

"We are a program that is on the rise," Gilbert said. "We are rebuilding a program that won a national championship in 1983, and the Lady Panthers are back."



Virginia Union Lady Panthers Finish Ranked #2 In Nation

RICHMOND, Virginia -- The Virginia Union University women's basketball team has finished the 2016-17 season ranked #2 in the final Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll of the season, released on Saturday, March 25.

The Lady Panthers moved up from #18 due to a miraculous run through the NCAA Tournament, culminating in an appearance in the 2017 National Championship game against Ashland University on Friday, March 24.

The #2 ranking is the highest finish ever for a VUU women's team in the WBCA poll.  VUU finished the 2016-17 with a 28-5 record.


School (record)

Ashland (37-0)
Virginia Union (28-5)
California Baptist (35-3)
Harding (31-4)
Columbus State (31-2)
Drury (30-4)
Queens, NY (25-4)
Emporia State (29-5)
California, PA (30-4)
Alaska-Anchorage (29-2)
Colorado State-Pueblo (28-4)
West Florida (28-7)
Lincoln Memorial (26-5)
Adelphi (27-5)
West Texas A&M (26-9)
Pittsburg State (25-6)
Eckerd (27-5)
Western Washington (26-6)
Bentley (26-5)
Angelo State (26-6)
Minnesota State-Moorhead (24-5)
Central Missouri (24-7)
Simon Fraser (26-8)
Wingate (25-5)
Central Oklahoma (25-8)


NCCU Athletics to Search for New Women’s Basketball Coach

DURHAM, North Carolina -- North Carolina Central University will not renew the contract of women's basketball head coach Vanessa Taylor, the Department of Athletics announced Thursday (March 23).

"I would like to thank Coach Vanessa Taylor for her years of service to North Carolina Central University. Coach Taylor worked hard to grow our program," said NCCU Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree. "However, at this time, we will look to new leadership for our women's basketball program."

In five seasons as head women's basketball coach at NCCU, Taylor led the Lady Eagles to a win-loss record of 33-113. This season's team finished with an 8-21 overall record.

Associate head coach Kendra Eaton will serve as interim head coach and oversee women's basketball operations until a head coach is hired. A national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.


Former ’Nole coach applies for FAMU vacancy

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Pat Kennedy cherished his 11 years in Tallahassee as the successful men’s basketball coach at Florida State. If given the opportunity, Kennedy wants to return to the state capital and Florida.
The veteran coach has applied for the men’s basketball coaching vacancy at Florida A&M.

“I have always had great respect and admiration for FAMU,” Kennedy told the Tallahassee Democrat Friday.
“Remember, I was the coach who last played FAMU at FSU. The Lawson Center is a first class facility and they are a prestigious academic institution."

Kennedy, 65, led the Seminoles to Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearances during his tenure (1986-97), compiling a 203–130 record and earning ACC Coach of the Year honors (1992). He has an overall coaching record of 499-497, including stops at Iona (1980-86), DePaul (1997-2002), Montana (2002-2004), Towson (2004-11) and Pace (2013-15), a Division II school in the New York metropolitan area.

Kennedy has coached 23 players who played in the NBA, including former Seminoles and first-round selections Charlie Ward, Sam Cassell, Bob Sura and George McCloud.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gold Rush beat OBU, extend home win streak to 16 duals

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana continued its home success, and Antoine Richard and Catalin Fifea defeated regionally ranked singles players Wednesday in a 5-2 men's tennis victory against Ouachita Baptist.

The XULA men (8-3), ranked second in the NAIA, won for the 16th consecutive time at XULA Tennis Center and the eighth time in their last nine dual matches overall. It was the fifth Gold Rush victory of the season against a ranked opponent — the Tigers (3-8) are No. 39 in NCAA Division II.

Richard and Fifea won in singles and doubles. Fifea won 7-5, 6-0 against Juan Moncada, ranked 16th in the D2 Central Region, and Richard used a late surge to beat Lennart Lonnemann, ranked seventh in his region, 6-4, 7-5.

"Antoine was in a pretty good battle," XULA coach Alan Green said. "He got down in the second set, got down mentally, but he overcame that and put together five good games in a row to close out his match."

Karan Salwan got the other XULA singles victory, a 6-1, 6-1 decision against Dan Kaplun. Salwan and Fifea have 6-match singles win streaks.

Richard and Moses Micheal won 9-8 (7-0) against Moncada and Luis Chab, and Fifea and Adam Albrecht — paired for the first time in doubles — rallied from 5-2 and 7-4 deficits to defeat Andre Stefano and Braydon Montgomery 9-8 (7-4).

Next for the Gold Rush will be a noon dual match April 8 at Jackson State.

NOTES: The Gold Rush are 3-0 at home this season after going 7-0 in 2016 and 6-0 in 2015 . . . The XULA men are 19-7 against ranked opponents (all venues) the last three seasons . . . Green said he added Grambling to the Gold Nuggets' schedule. They'll meet at 1 p.m. April 1 at Alexandria, La. As a result, the XULA dual that same day with LSU-Alexandria moved to 9 a.m. Alexandria City Courts will be the site of both duals.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Coppin men's basketball coach Michael Grant let go

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- Michael Grant will not return as Coppin State's men’s basketball coach after three losing seasons, the university announced Monday morning.

Coppin State University athletic director Derek Carter, in a news release saying that Grant's contract will not be renewed for the 2017-18 season, said a national search will begin immediately.

While expressing his disappointment at being unable to continue to coach the Coppin State men’s basketball team, Grant said he understood the university’s decision.

“Whenever you lose your job or you’re not going to be renewed where you’ve spent the last three years there, you’re invested,” Grant said Monday morning. “It’s not like I was here for a year and left. I’ve been here for three years and I moved my family here and became rooted in the community. So yes, I’m disappointed, but as I said before, it’s all part of the business, and this is the business I signed up for, and if you’re in this business long enough, you’re going to get let go. That’s just the way things go.”


S.C. State opens spring football workouts

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- The upcoming college football season begins to take shape for South Carolina State this week.

The Bulldogs will begin their quest for a 17th Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship on Tuesday (Mar. 21), when the team kicks off spring football practice a little while before daylight.

Coach Buddy Pough's team will conduct 15 practices, which will culminate with the annual Garnet and Blue spring game on Saturday, April 15. The contest will kick off at 1 p.m. at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium and admission is free.

The 2016 Bulldogs team closed out a 5-6 season with a 28-0 home win against Bethune-Cookman. Then last month, on National Signing Day, the program signed 22 players, all from the state of South Carolina.

"We are ready to see this team develop for the 2017 year," Pough said recently. "The difference in this year's team and last year's team is that team was probably a more experienced team and we had a better idea about some of our personnel.


Bethune-Cookman, men’s basketball coach Gravelle Craig parting ways

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- After six seasons, there's a vacancy in the Bethune-Cookman men's basketball program.

Following a down 2016-17 season, the Wildcats and Gravelle Craig agreed to part ways late Monday evening, ending the 46-year-old's run as the program's head basketball coach.

Craig's contract was set to expire at the end of the month.

"At the end of the season, we sat down as always to evaluate the state of our program," said Lynn W. Thompson, B-CU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. "After discussion, Coach Craig and I arrived at the decision that the timing was right for him to pursue new career opportunities. We are grateful for his leadership and the impact that he had on our student-athletes during his tenure, and we will move promptly to focus on the right coach who will build upon the foundation that Gravelle Craig put in place here."

The former Cleveland State guard took over the program in 2011, and compiled a 74-123 record during his six-year run. During his first season, Craig helped the Wildcats to the 2012 MEAC title game against Norfolk State. The following year, B-CU advanced to the MEAC semifinals.


N.C. A&T’s Cohen feels he measures up

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – The 5-foot-6, 179-pound stature of former North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen has long been an issue surrounding his potential future in the NFL.

He sizes it up differently.

“I wouldn’t be the player that I am if it wasn’t for my size,” he said.

Appearances aside, Cohen’s heart and desire measure up to an NFL level, and so could his performance.

Considered a late-round possibility for the April 27-29 draft, the speedy Cohen is viewed as a change-of-pace type of back, a la the similarly sized Darren Sproles of the Eagles, although he also patterns himself after Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Like both of those players, he envisions a dynamic role that puts his many skills to work.

“I can play in the backfield, out of the backfield and in the special team game,” he said. “Any part of the game that can get the ball in my hands will be great.”


Sunday, March 19, 2017

119-30! Baylor women open with most-lopsided NCAA Tournament win ever over TSU

WACO, Texas -- By doing the things that coach Kim Mulkey had been emphasizing since a rare Big 12 Tournament loss, the Baylor Lady Bears opened the women' NCAA Tournament with an overwhelming record-setting performance.

It also helped that the Lady Bears, with three post players at least 6-foot-4, were much bigger than NCAA first-timer Texas Southern.

Beatrice Mompremier had 22 points with 11 rebounds, Kalani Brown scored 21 points and freshman post Lauren Cox from Flower Mound had 17 as the Lady Bears defeated Texas Southern 119-30 on Saturday night in the most lopsided women’s NCAA Tournament game ever. Baylor’s 119 points were the most ever in regulation of a tournament game.

“That work we’ve put in since the tournament championship game, I think you saw it today,” said Mulkey, whose team lost in the Big 12 championship for the first time in seven years.

“You saw post players feeding each other better than they have all year. I think you saw production from people immediately when they came in the game,” she said. “It’s just been an emphasis to continue to work on your defense.”


Nearly a champ, TSU Mike Davis now just wants to win one NCAA game

GREENVILLE, South Carolina — Fifteen years ago this month, Mike Davis coached a team that unhorsed No. 1 Duke in the Sweet 16, the Duke presumably destined for a second consecutive title. Eleven days later, Davis led Indiana into the NCAA championship game against Maryland in the Georgia Dome. He was 41. It was his second season as a head coach.

On Friday, Mike Davis coached a team that had no chance. His Texas Southern Tigers faced top-seeded North Carolina. If you’re a No. 16 seed, the one team you don’t want to be paired against it’s the Tar Heels, who are too big and too smart and too focused to trip over a mouse.

The final score was 103-64. It could have been anything. Texas Southern led twice – at 7-6 and 10-8. Carolina led 24-10 at the second at the second TV timeout. And that’s enough – too much, really – about the game.

The ol’ roundball can take odd bounces. Steve Fisher won an NCAA title and made three Final Fours at Michigan and wound up at San Diego State. As we know, Paul Hewitt took Georgia Tech to the 2004 title game. Within 11 years, he’d be fired by both Tech and George Mason. Larry Brown, owner of an NCAA and NBA title, landed at SMU. (Then, being Larry Brown, he quit.)

Davis’ career path is the oddest. He was pressed into service as Indiana’s head coach when school president Myles Brand fired Bobby Knight in September 2000. Years later, he’d concede that he hadn’t been ready. Still, he looked pretty primed when the Hoosiers beat Duke and then Kent State and then Oklahoma to reach the NCAA final. You know the saying, “Fake it till you make it”? Davis had made it.


Minus yet another starter, Lady Pirates fall hard at Duke

DURHAM, North Carolina — Missing three starters, Hampton University pulled off a three-game sweep of the MEAC tournament last weekend. It was as unexpected as it was remarkable.

But in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night, missing yet another starter and facing one of the nation’s premier teams, the Lady Pirates finally ran out of magic beans. No. 2 Duke was too big, too deep and too talented in a 94-31 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Tough night,” HU coach David Six said. “We played a great team and didn’t play well. We certainly don’t want to make excuses, but without four starters against a great Duke team, it’s just tough all the way around. We would have liked to have made a better showing, but it wasn’t in the cards tonight.

“You can’t do it without four starters. You just can’t. I told the kids, if you take LeBron (James), Kevin Love, Kyrie (Irving) and J.R. Smith off Cleveland, Cleveland is a lottery-pick team.”

Hampton had been missing Malia Tate-DeFreitas, its all-time leading scorer in Division I, since Jan. 14 with a torn ACL. Ashley Bates (shoulder) and Chanel Green (ankle) sustained season-ending injuries in the third week of February.

Then, in the MEAC championship win over Bethune-Cookman, the Lady Pirates lost center Kaylah Lupoe with a sprained ankle.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Southern inks deal to play McNeese in 2019

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana -- The Southern Jaguars will be coming to Cowboy Stadium in 2019.

"With our commitment to broadening the Southern University athletics brand, traveling to Lake Charles to face McNeese State provides a unique opportunity to add a storied in-state football program to our 2019 schedule and expose Southwest Louisiana to Jaguar football and the Jaguar Nation," said Southern Interim Director of Athletics Roman Banks.

A contract was recently agreed upon, and signed, by both school’s athletic directors, that will have Southern playing in Lake Charles for the first time on Aug. 31, 2019.

“We’re excited to have such a great program come to Cowboy Stadium, in what will no doubt, draw a big crowd,” said McNeese Director of Athletics Bruce Hemphill. “It’s always great when you can get an in-state team like Southern to come to your place. With their large fan base and alumni numbers, it will make for an exciting atmosphere and more than likely a capacity crowd.”

McNeese visited Southern in 2004, beating the Jaguars 35-18 in the first-ever meeting between the two teams on the gridiron.

Southern was scheduled to make a return trip to Lake Charles in 2005 but that game was canceled due to Hurricane Rita and was never made up.

The game in 2019 is not a rescheduling of that game.

Southern, which has won 19 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship and nine Black College National Championships, finished 10-3 in 2016 and fell one win shy of reaching its third SWAC Championship game in the last five years after going 8-1 in league play.


West Virginia State Football Names Shehl Defensive Coordinator

INSTITUTE, West Virginia -- New WVSU Head Football Coach John Pennington has drawn on his West Virginia University background again with the hiring of George Shehl to be the Yellow Jackets' Defensive Coordinator.

"Hiring George Shehl was a no-brainer," Pennington said. "He has a passion for developing young men into leaders and wanted to be at a place where we could build something special."

The Clarksburg native played with Pennington for the Mountaineers. Shehl was a defensive back and four-year letterman from 2002-2005 under former WVU head coach Rich Rodriguez. During that time he played on three Big East champion teams and four bowl games.

"I have known George since we were at West Virginia University together and I couldn't be happier to call him my teammate once again," said Pennington. "This is a big win for the Yellow Jackets because George Shehl brings experience, passion, and pride to WVSU."

The hiring reunites them with fellow former Mountaineers Quincy Wilson and Reed Williams on the WVSU gridiron staff.

"I have wanted to coach with John ever since we were college teammates," Shehl said. "To finally have the chance to do that, in such a great situation, especially alongside Quincy and Reed, was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

After graduating from WVU in 2005 Shehl did a stint as quality control coach for the defense and special teams at the Citadel before returning to Morgantown. There he served two years as the Defensive Graduate Assistant for WVU under Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel and Head Coach Bill Stewart.

After that Shehl spent one season as a defensive assistant at Marshall before moving to the University of Charleston where he was Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator in 2011 and 2012.

He was hired as the Head Coach at West Virginia Wesleyan in December of 2012 and held that position for three years. Shehl spent this past season as an analyst for the Marshall football program.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity that John Pennington has given me," Shehl said. "This is an ideal situation to be able to work for a school that is committed to a quality experience for its student-athletes, graduating student-athletes, and winning on the football field."

Coach Shehl was a four-sport star at Robert C. Byrd High School and is married to the former Ali Hewitt of Richwood.

John Ashworth will be coach the offensive line, James Groce will continue to work with the defensive line, and Ricardo Figueroa will coach the tight ends.

Reed Williams,  Linebackers Coach, Academic Counselor

Williams is another former WVU player with both strong on and off field positives.

"He came to WVU the year after I left but I knew his older brother well," Pennington said. "He used to stay with us when he would come to visit."

Like Wilson he also had strong West Virginia high school credentials winning two state titles while at Moorefield High and being named defensive captain of the All-State team.

Williams was also class valedictorian, a National Honor Society member, and served on student council.

He started at linebacker for the Mountaineers and was named Defensive Player of the Game when WVU beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2007 season. Williams was also a two-time ESPN All-American.
In 2010 he was awarded the Red Brown Cup at WVU which is presented to the school's most outstanding all-around student-athlete.

"He was an Academic All-American and he's very passionate about helping these young men," Pennington said. "He has that 'it factor' in that he commands attention when he is in the room."

Williams previously spent a year as a graduate assistant to Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and a year on the academic staff at WVU.

Travis Everhart, Assistant Head Coach, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Recruiting Coordinator

"Our families know each other very well," Pennington said. "He wanted to come back to Charleston and I was happy he contacted me."

Everhart previously coached wide receivers, tight ends, fullbacks, and was special teams coordinator during three seasons at the University of Charleston. He helped the Golden Eagles make their first NCAA DII playoff appearance in 2015.

He served as head coach at Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has had a long coaching career in the college ranks.

Everhart began as running backs coach at his alma mater, Capital University. After that came stints at California University-Pa., Tiffin, and South Dakota Tech as a position coach.

He then became Offensive Coordinator at Louisburg College, Hiram College, WVU-Tech, and Point University. After that he spent time as Assistant Offensive Line Coach at DI Kent State.

As a collegiate player at Capital in Columbus, Ohio, Everhart received the program's Crusader Award given to the player who best represented the characteristics of what makes a champion both on and off the field.

"He was offensive coordinator at another school," Pennington said. "He has coached a lot of different places and he wanted to come back to Charleston."

Everhart's wife, Jenna, has been the women's basketball coach at WVU-Tech for the last six years.

The Frankfort, Ohio, native spent last season as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at NCAA DII Fort Valley State University in Georgia. The Wildcats won the Southern Athletic Intercollegiate Conference title in 2016.

Brian Novak, Wide Receivers Coach, Assistant Quarterbacks Coach

The youngest of the new additions to the staff Novak completed a record setting collegiate playing career at Concord in 2016. Last fall he threw for 403 yards in a 52-45 loss to the Yellow Jackets in Institute.

A four-year starter he holds program records there for single season and career passing yards and for career touchdown passes.

Novak led the Mountain Lions to the MEC title and national semifinals in 2014 and was a first team All-MEC selection.

"He was a coach on the field," said Pennington, who was an assistant at Concord during part of Novak's career. "His dad is a high school football coach and he comes from a football family."


Against the grain: From Ivy League to CIAA, Dixon adjusts at WSSU

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Bruce Dixon was tired of the cold weather, and being so far from home.

That’s the standard answer he’s gives folks who ask him why he transferred from Dartmouth to Winston-Salem State.

As a 6-4, 225 pound quarterback Dixon, who is from Charlotte, also wouldn’t mind more playing time at his new school. That’s why he took the leap of faith to leave the Ivy League for the CIAA.

Dixon is competing in spring practice, and is one of the more intriguing players in camp.

“I was tired of being that far up north,” Dixon said last week after the Rams’ fourth practice of the spring. “I was ready to get back down here and I was looking at Division II schools in the area like UNC Pembroke, Catawba and Winston-Salem State. I thought this would be the best fit.”

His Division II choice means he doesn't have to sit out a season, and with his academics, he had a 3.0 GPA when he left Dartmouth, he could play right away this fall.

Thanks to knowing Natrone Means, the WSSU running bacCks coach and former NFL player, Dixon looked long and hard at coming to Winston-Salem.


2017 MSU Football Schedule Announced

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- Morgan State's 2017 football schedule has been announced and it features five home games in Hughes Stadium, including an FBS matchup at Big Ten opponent Rutgers.
Coming off a 3-8 season (3-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) in 2016, Morgan State will open their 2017 campaign on the road against Towson on Sept. 2 in the Battle for Greater Baltimore at Johnny Unitas Stadium. It will mark the 23rd meeting between the teams and their ninth time facing each other in a season opener since 1979.
MSU's home-opener will feature a first-time matchup against CAA member Albany on Sept. 9. Albany finished the 2016 season receiving votes for the STATS FCS Top 25 poll.
The Bears will head north for their final non-conference matchup when they face the Rutgers Scarlett Knights on Sept. 16 at High Point Solutions Stadium.
MSU returns home for its conference opener against North Carolina A&T on Sept. 23. It will mark the Aggies first trip to Hughes Stadium since suffering a 24-23 loss to the Bears in 2013. It will also be the first meeting between the teams since 2014. 
Following a bye, the Bears travel to South Carolina State on Oct. 7 for their first meeting in Orangeburg (S.C.) since 2013.
Homecoming is slated for Oct. 14 against Savannah State, followed by short road trip to face Beltway rival Howard for the Bisons' Homecoming on Oct. 21.
The Bears entertain Florida A&M on Oct. 28, followed by a 2-game road trip, first at Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 4 and then at Delaware State on Nov. 11.
Morgan State concludes its 2017 regular season when Norfolk State enters Hughes Stadium for a Nov. 18 matchup.
Game times and television plans for MSU's 2017 games will be announced at a later date.

All home games will be played at Earl C. Banks Field in Hughes Stadium.
The 2017 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl will be played in December at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The Bears open the 2017 campaign under head coach Fred Farrier, set to enter his first year at the helm without the interim tag, and his fourth year at Morgan State.
"This will be a fantastic schedule for our team and for our fans," said Farrier. "We get to open with a game right here in Baltimore and it will be a great opportunity for our fans to come out and support us just like a home game. It would be great for our fans to take over their stadium and tailgate areas with orange and blue!"

"We follow that with a home game in week two and travel to play a Big 10 opponent in the third game," added Farrier. "It will be an exciting start before we head into our MEAC schedule with an opening home game versus North Carolina A&T."

"We need all of our alumni, fans and supporters at every game to show what great school spirit we have and that everybody is involved with helping Morgan State University RETURN TO GREATNESS!"

Morgan State opens spring drills on March 29 and will conclude with the annual spring game at Hughes Stadium on Saturday, April 29.

Fans can keep up-to-date with all MSU Athletics via twitter at You can also become a fan of the Bears on Facebook at

Sept. 2at Towson
Sept. 16at Rutgers
Sept. 23N.C. A&T*
Oct. 7at South Carolina State*
Oct. 21at Howard*
Nov. 4at Bethune-Cookman*
Nov. 11at Delaware State*
* Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game