Monday, June 19, 2017

SAU's Jeffries Wins USTFCCCA National Communications Honor

RALEIGH, North Carolina  – Sports Information Director Anthony Jeffries of Saint Augustine's University was selected the NCAA Division II national winner of the Excellence in Communications Award on Monday, June 19 for his outstanding track and field coverage for the 2016-17 season. The honor was announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Jeffries was one of three honorees picked by the USTFCCCA communications staff after a nomination process. The other recipients are Jared Prescott of the University of Tennessee (NCAA Division I) and Alex Keil of Illinois College (NCAA Division III). The award highlights athletics communications representatives at conferences and/or schools who have committed to outstanding coverage and support of collegiate track and field. To read more about the honorees, click HERE.

Jeffries, in his 11th season at Saint Augustine's University, received the award for promoting the internationally renowned Saint Augustine's University track and field program led by legendary Athletic Director and Head Coach George Williams, who has won the most NCAA track and field championships (39) of any coach, regardless of division.

"I am very proud and elated to be recognized by the USTFCCCA on a national level," Jeffries said. "I would like to thank Coach Williams who has supported me over the years. His teams provide plenty of material to promote."

Marketing for this season began in the summer of 2016 for Jeffries, who helped the nationally-syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show set up an interview with Coach Williams. The track and field team and Coach Williams were also featured prominently on's The Undefeated website. In August 2016, Jeffries wrote an article about the George Williams Exhibit at the City of Raleigh Museum which appeared on the website of Track & Field News, which bills itself as the bible of the sport.

In addition to writing numerous articles during the indoor and outdoor seasons, Jeffries placed photographs and videos on social media during the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Bradenton, Fla. which were well-received by the public. The more popular videos were the Falcons receiving their fifth straight men's outdoor national title while confetti poured on them and Tia-Adana Belle (Sr./St. George, Barbados) breaking the Division II record for her third consecutive 400-meter hurdles crown.

His championship recaps were published on several websites including He also was a member of the CIAA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Committees, providing recaps for the conference as well as the university during the CIAA championships.

The accolade is the third in the profession for Jeffries, who was the 2008 and 2012 CIAA Sports Information Director of the Year. A Raleigh, N.C. native, Jeffries covers 14 sports for the athletic program at Saint Augustine's University.


Dave Robbins' Virginia Union legacy has passed the test of time

RICHMOND, Virginia -- Almost a decade has passed since Dave Robbins hung up his coaching whistle after making basketball history at Virginia Union University.

Robbins, 74, spends his time on the golf course, traveling with his wife and fishing on a pond on a little farm the couple bought in Amelia County, about 45 miles outside Richmond. He still attends Virginia Union home games, and he keeps up with the game, loves the way U.Va.’s Tony Bennett runs his program and occasionally works on a book that he’s been drafting for several years.

At the annual Virginia Sports Hall of Fame golf tournament and reception held two weeks ago at Staunton’s Ironwood Golf Club, Robbins (Class of 2012) showed up, which was a treat for the impressive gathering.

Most younger-generation basketball fans aren’t familiar with Robbins’ accomplishments. In 1978, he took over a Union program that had never won a CIAA title and never won an NCAA tournament game. It was a controversial hire at the time because Robbins was the first white coach in the CIAA, historically made up of predominantly black colleges and universities.

Nobody complained over the next 30 years as Robbins directed the Panthers to three Division II national championships (1980, 1992, 2005), 14 CIAA championships and 21 NCAA tournament appearances. Along the way, he compiled a record of 713-194 and produced five NBA players: Charles Oakley, Ben Wallace, A.J. English, Terry Davis and Jamie Waller.


Hines: ASU not leaving the SWAC

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Any rumors of a possible move by Alabama State were dismissed as such by athletic director Melvin Hines during a press conference on Monday.

Several online message boards cited rumors of potential moves by both Alabama State and Alabama A&M to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The MEAC, which is headquartered at Norfolk, Virginia, currently has 11 football-playing members.

Savannah State is scheduled to leave the conference following the 2018 season.

Hines was asked about the rumors during his address which reviewed the 2016-2017 athletic season at ASU.

“They’re just rumors,” Hines said. “We’reC very proud to be a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. We’re excited about what we’re doing and we’ve gone to new heights in the SWAC.”

Current Alabama State head football coach Brian Jenkins won four MEAC titles and was a three-time MEAC Coach of the Year at Bethune-Cookman, where he coached from 2010-2014.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

TSU Women’s Basketball Adds Lenise Stallings to Coaching Staff

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Tennesssee State University head women's basketball coach Jessica Kern announced the hiring of Lenise Stallings as an assistant coach on Wednesday.

Stallings will work with the guards while also serving as the academic liaison and camp coordinator.

"Coach Stallings is a fantastic addition to our family," commented Kern. "Her stellar experience as a player, ties to Mississippi talent, and keen eye for offense will be key components to our future growth. With her extensive academic background and hunger to grow in this business - we are extremely lucky to have this rising star. A decorated student- athlete at Mississippi Valley State University and a known pure shooter, Coach Stallings will be instrumental in guard development. I look forward to seeing her hunger for the game manifest into a championship spirit for our program."

Stallings comes to TSU after serving on Kern’s staff at Mississippi Valley State University. She helped secure the program’s largest recruiting class and a spot in the top 25 most improved Division I women’s basketball programs.

Prior to her position as assistant coach for MVSU, she served as a graduate assistant with the program from 2014-2016.

As an undergrad, Stallings competed four years with the MVSU women’s basketball team. She played in 124 career games during her collegiate career and helped MVSU to a 2013 appearance in the SWAC Basketball Tournament Championship game. In 2012, she aided her team in earning a SWAC regular season title and a bid to the WNIT.

During her junior and senior campaigns, she led the conference in three-point field goal percentage, shooting just over 40 percent.

A native of Hattiesburg, Miss, Stallings earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2013 and a master’s degree in Bioinformatics in 2016. She has one daughter, Kyia.


WSSU stays committed to baseball program

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- The CIAA’s decision to drop baseball is something coach Kevin Ritsche of Winston-Salem State has been bracing for.

When Elizabeth City State dropped its program before the 2014 season, the conference had slipped below the NCAA minimum of six schools sponsoring baseball to qualify for an automatic berth into region play. Even though the CIAA had five baseball programs, the NCAA gave the conference a break over the next three seasons, with the conference champion still getting rewarded with an automatic berth into regional play.

The conference decided to drop the sport because there was no sign of another CIAA school adding baseball to compete with teams already at WSSU, Chowan, Saint Augustine’s, Virginia State and Lincoln (Pa.).

WSSU athletics director Tonia Walker said the school is committed to the sport.

“We will maintain baseball as an independent sport with hopes that the CIAA will increase membership with other schools who play baseball or if current schools add it,” Walker said.


Horn voted GCAC Athletic Director of Year for 2016-17

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Jason Horn has been voted by his peers the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Athletic Director of the Year for 2016-17.
Horn joined XULA March 31, 2014, as director of athletics & recreation. Department highlights since his arrival:

     •  NAIA national runner-up finishes for men's tennis in 2016 and 2017 — the first two in XULA history.
     •  Fifteen GCAC and/or NAIA unaffiliated group championships.
     •  Appearances by each of XULA's nine teams at NAIA National Championship events — 23 total.
     •  Ninety persons representing the department — athletes, managers and staff — received XULA degrees.
     •  Four student-athletes were selected as CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.
     •  Men's basketball won the Buffalo Funds Five-Star Champions of Character Team Award in 2015-16.
     •  Community service which includes XULA student-athletes assisting with catastrophic flooding in Baton Rouge, La., this past August and after a tornado in New Orleans East in February.
     •  Average home attendance gains by the Convocation Center's three primary tenants — men's basketball, women's basketall and volleyball.
     •  Horn-negotiated multi-year deals with Ochsner Health System's sports medicine division, apparel provider adidas and website provider SIDEARM Sports.
"I cannot imagine one more deserving of this honor that Jason Horn," XULA President Dr. Reynold Verret said. "Through the quality and prudence of his judgment, Mr. Horn keeps first in mind the progress of Xavierites as both scholars and athletes. Xavier is fortunate with Jason Horn as AD."
"Congratulations to Mr. Horn on this great honor," XULA Vice President for Student Services Joseph Byrd said. "I knew when we selected him as our AD, we had selected one of the best. Now all of the GCAC knows what we have known for three years. His selection not only brings honor to him but to all athletes and the university community as a whole. We are proud of him."
"Mr. Horn is extremely deserving of this award," GCAC Commissioner Steve Martin said. "His intellect, hard work and business acumen are assets to the conference, and he has been a vital part of the GCAC's growth during his tenure at Xavier."
XULA is one of 47 colleges listed as a "Best Buy School" in the 2017 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bishop McNamara grad signs National LOI with Alcorn State

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Illinois -- Since his little league days, Brandon Thomas has always wanted to play baseball at the Division I level. Next season, he'll finally have his chance.

Thomas, a 2015 graduate of Bishop McNamara, has spent his last two baseball seasons pitching for Prairie State College, an NJCAA program in Chicago Heights.  This fall, he'll take his talents to Mississippi after signing a National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at Alcorn State University — a Division I program.

"To be completely honest, it was a shock to me," Thomas said. "It's already something I've been working hard towards. I can't really explain the feeling right now. I'm just going to keep trying and keep pushing every day and see what goes on after that."

While a step up in baseball's never-ending talent pool means a better chance of being noticed by Major League Baseball scouts, Thomas says he doesn't have control over what happens next.