Sunday, December 10, 2017

Virginia State's Cannon named Lanier Award winner

ETTRICK, Virginia -- Virginia State senior tailback Trenton Cannon was honored with the Lanier Award, given to the top Division II/III or NAIA player in the state, after leading the Trojans (10-1) to a CIAA championship and playoff appearance.

Following Meadowbrook graduate Bryant Frazier, Cannon is the second consecutive Trojan to win the Lanier Award. The award is named after Willie Lanier, who played for Maggie Walker High School, Morgan State University and the Kansas City Chiefs and who also was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Cannon helped do the same at Virginia State on his way to the Lanier Award. He produced 245 all-purpose yards per game in carrying the Trojans to their first 10-0 start in school history.

Averaging 7.7 yards per carry, Cannon compiled 1,638 yards on the ground to lead the CIAA and scored 22 total touchdowns. He became Virginia State’s all-time leading rusher this season with 4,030 career yards.


Coach James Hill Jr. Wins 200th Career Game

MANSFIELD, Pennsylvania (12/6/17) –  On the surface, Virginia State defeated the Mountaineers of Mansfield University 52-51 tonight at Marion Decker Gymnasium. However, the victory had much more meaning than usual. When the final horn sounded, James Hill Jr. found himself the winner of his 200th career game.

Coach Hill has been at the helm of the VSU women's basketball program for the past eleven seasons. Hill currently holds a 200-125 overall coaching record. Before taking over the program at VSU, Hill served as assistant women's basketball coach at Shaw University from 2003-2006.

James Hill Jr., has elevated the women's basketball program since arriving on campus at Virginia State University in 2006. He has secured five 20 plus winning seasons since arriving at VSU, the most in VSU women's basketball school history. In 2013-14, Hill was recognized for a year of excellence where the women's basketball program held the best start to the season (11-0 record) in school history, longest winning streak (15 games), best record since 1988 (24-1), highest National Collegiate Athletic Association Ranking in School History (#10), ranked first in Historically Black Colleg53e and University out of all the NCAA Divisions, made an NCAA appearance and had the best basketball overall record (25-3) in VSU's men's and women's basketball history. Coach Hill was named the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Associations (CIAA) Coach of the Year three times and HBCU Mid-Major Coach of the Year twice.

Under Hill's leadership, the 2013-14 team were CIAA Northern Division Champions, three of his players were selected to the First Team All-Conference, and the Trojans were ranked no.1 in defense and 5th in the regional ranking. Coach Hill also received the Big House Gaines Award during the 2014-15 season. In 2015, Trojan women's basketball team claimed the CIAA Championship Title, while most recently Hill was named Coach of the Year by SportsTalk 1450 WCLM for the 2016-2017 season. Hill ensures that the team is well rounded in academic success and community outreach.

Under the leadership of James Hill Jr., The VSU Trojans finished its 2017 season with an impressive 22-8 overall record. The CIAA Co-Northern Division Champs finished the final game of the regular season (19-7, 11-5 CIAA) with a 69-50 victory over the Lady Lions of Lincoln University on the road. The Virginia State University women's basketball team secured its twentieth win of the season with an impressive 73-40 win over St. Augustine's University in the first round of the 2017 CIAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Bojangles Coliseum on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. In addition to a very impressive season the Virginia State University women's basketball team secured the 10th spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Atlantic regional rankings.

Virginia State University Head Women's Basketball Coach was inducted into the Shaw University's Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 2, 2017. Coach Hill continues to add on to his long list of accomplishment with the start of the 2017-18 season as the Trojans remains undefeated!

Congratulations to Coach Hill on his monumental win!


History repeats itself as Delaware downs Delaware State in women's basketball

NEWARK, Delaware -- Meeting for the first time in 10 years, Delaware and Delaware State followed a familiar pattern, despite the long layover, in their women’s basketball encounter Sunday.

Delaware was dominant, putting together a 17-point first-quarter run that removed any mystery en route to an 84-49 victory in front of 1,311 at the Carpenter Center.

“That’s a good in-state win,” said first-year Delaware coach Natasha Adair.

Delaware has won all 10 meetings between the state’s lone Division I programs, and Sunday was the 25th anniversary of their first get-together on Dec. 10, 1992, in Dover.

Sophomore Samone DeFreese scored a game-high 19 points for Delaware. Nicole Enabosi’s 17 points and 11 rebounds comprised the junior’s eighth double-double this year and 29th of her career.

The Blue Hens (6-4) have won four of their last five and feel like they’ve found a groove.


Texas Southern Lady Tigers turn away Northwestern State Demons for third straight win

ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana – The Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University jumped out to an insurmountable lead in the first quarter Saturday and never looked back as claimed a 56-43 win over Northwestern State.

Joyce Kennerson maintained her place as the nation's second-leading scorer after pouring in a game-high 28 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The junior from Port Arthur drained four out of her five 3-point tries and handed out a career-best eight steals.

Kaitlyn Palmer and Catherine Okwilagwe scored 10 points apiece for the Lady Tigers (4-4), who won their third straight game, and second over a Southland Conference opponent in as many contests. Okwilagwe's 10 points marked a career high, while Palmer matched a career high with three blocked shots.

Cheyenne Brown scored 15 points to lead Northwestern State (4-4).

The Lady Tigers return to action Sunday, Dec. 17, when they host Paul Quinn College at TSU's H&PE Arena. Tipoff has moved from its original start time to 7 p.m. to accommodate a Houston Cougars men's basketball game earlier that afternoon.

The Lady Tigers needed only one quarter to seize control of the game as they outscored Northwestern State 26-9 over the first 10 minutes. Palmer's 3-pointer with 8:43 remaining in the period broke a 2-2 tie and gave TSU a lead it would not relinquish for the duration of the game.

A 13-2 TSU run between the 7:14 and 2:10 marks of the opening period gave the Lady Tigers a commanding 21-6 lead. After NSU's Jocelyn Scott knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining to cut the deficit to 21-9, the Lady Tigers finished by scoring the final five points of the first quarter.

The Lady Demons simply had no answer for Kennerson and Palmer in the first 10 minutes, as each player scored 10 points while shooting perfect from the field. Palmer was 4-of-4 from the field, while Kennerson shot 3-of-3; both players made both of their first-quarter 3-point tries.

A defensive struggle ensued in the second period as each team managed only four points apiece while combining to shoot 3-of-27 from the field. The second period was scoreless for more than four minutes until Kennerson's layup with 5:42 remaining gave the Lady Tigers their largest lead of the game at 28-9.

Northwestern State would close the gap to 10 points in the third quarter, only to see TSU pull away. A 6-0 run in the fourth quarter pulled the Lady Demons to within eight with 5:43 left in the final period, only to see the Lady Tigers again respond with four consecutive points of their own.

• The Lady Tigers won their sixth consecutive neutral-court game dating back to the 2016 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament.
• Isis Lane pulled in a career-high 15 rebounds for the Lady Tigers, while guard Camille Mills hauled in 10 rebounds.
• The Lady Tigers shot 10-of-12 (83 percent) from the floor in the first period, and 10-of-39 (26 percent) for the remainder of the game.
• The win was the TSU's first-ever triumph over Northwestern State, which had won the three previous meetings between the two teams.
• The matchup marked the first time the Lady Tigers had faced Northwestern State since the 1986-87 season. The Lady Demons also swept a home-and-home series from TSU during the 1983-84 season.
• Kennerson pushed her career point total to 1,073 points. She is only 71 points away from tying Darlene Hale (1978-82) for seventh place on the TSU's all-time scoring list.
• The game was played at Alexandria's Rapides Parish Coliseum, approximately 50 miles from the Northwestern State campus, as part of the men's and women's basketball teams' CenLa Showdown. The NSU men hosted nearby Division III opponent Louisiana College.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

ASU Hornets got 'that guy' they wanted in Hill-Eley

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The day before Alabama State officially removed his interim tag Thursday, Donald Hill-Eley found out just how much the Hornets wanted him to stay.

“I learned that the players had got together and did a petition on my behalf, and I didn’t know about it,” Hill-Eley said.

The Hornets have the guy who brought them together after an 0-5 start and the firing of Brian Jenkins.

“He’s got everything a head coach should have,” said ASU senior left guard Edward Sanders, who is graduating Friday with a degree in criminal justice. “He’s that guy.”

Alabama State has the guy who went 5-1 as an interim with the loss coming to repeat SWAC champion Grambling. Now ASU believes it has a coach who can lead it to a conference championship sooner than later.

“It just warms your heart when you right by people and people stand up to do right by you,” Hill-Eley continued. “Those guys, I love each one of them and they love me and through that, we’ll work and do everything we can to lead this place to victories."


HBCU Football Head Coach and Conference Changes

December 9, 2017

COLLEGE                        NEW COACH          FORMER COACH
Alabama State                   Donald Hill-Eley        Brian Jenkins
Alabama A&M                                                      James Spady
Arkansas - Pine Bluff                                            Monte Coleman
Florida A&M                      Willie Simmons*         Alex Wood
Delaware State                                                       Kenny Carter                   
Hampton                             Robert Prunty            Connell Maynor
Mississippi Valley State                                        Rick Comegy
North Carolina Central      Granville Eastman$   Jerry Mack
Prairie View A&M             Bubba McDowell**     Willie Simmons 
Lincoln (Pa.)                                                          Reginald Byarse Jr. 
Edward Waters                                                      Alvin Wyatt
Virginia Union                                                       Mark James                                                                 
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC)


COLLEGES                NEW CONFERENCE         OLD CONF.

Hampton                       Big South                                 MEAC
Savannah State             SIAC                                        MEAC
Langston                        SAC                                         RRAC
Texas College                SAC                                         RRAC

*Awaiting official announcement by FAMU Administration
$ Interim for 2018

Howard defeats St. Francis-Brooklyn in overtime, 72-69

WASHINGTON, D.C.  –  Coach Ty Grace and the Howard University Women's Basketball team earned its third straight win with a 72-69 overtime victory over St. Francis-Brooklyn (SFC) inside Burr Gymnasium.

Four Bison reached double-figures, led by sophomore Ayonna Williams. The D.C. native had a game-high 19 points, five boards, and two dimes in the win.

SFC's Alex Delaney connected on two freebies and gave the Terriers a slim advantage with 3:43 remaining in the third, 47-46. HU responded and closed the period an 11-3 run to take a seven-point lead into the fourth, 57-50.

St. Francis opened the fourth with a 7-0 spurt and tied the contest after layup from Abby Anderson, 57-57. Howard regained the upper hand and held a five-point advantage with less than 90 ticks remaining. SFC battled back as Dana Direnzo scored the final five points of the period, including the layup that sent the game into overtime, 63-63.

Sophomore Jayla Myles tied the contest with a layup at the 2:13 mark in OT. Then, spilt a pair of free throws and gave the Bison its first lead in the fifth period. From then on, HU never relinquished the lead.

Myles, senior Tajzhane Dopson, and freshman Tariah Johnson each had 10 points. Sophomore Imani Bryant racked up 10 rebounds, five points, and three rejections in the victory.

St. Francis took a double-digit lead after one, 25-15. After shooting 50-percent (10-of-20) in the first period, SFC could not duplicate in the second period as they shot under 40-percent (3-of-8); thus, the Bison capitalized and scored 14 unanswered to take the lead with more than five minutes before intermission, 29-25.

SFC went 7-of-8 at the foul line and kept themselves in the game. HU took the lead late in the second, but a layup from Delaney tied the contest at intermission, 38-38.

For SFC (3-6), Jade Johnson recorded a team-best 14 points while Delaney and Direnzo combined for 23 points in a losing effort.

HU begins a three-game road trip at Cincinnati (Dec. 14). Game-time is set for 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Bison Athletics website at



Delaware State Rise to #6, Maryland Eastern Shore #8 in National Bowling Poll

BROOKLYN, New York -- University of Nebraska receives 36 first place votes to climb back to the top of the National Tenpin Coaches Association December Poll. The Cornhuskers started the season 33 and 5, with two first place finishes in three tournament appearances. McKendree University also received a first place vote and is No.2 to wrap up the Fall semester.

Arkansas State University, Vanderbilt University, and Sam Houston State University keep the same ranking from the 2017-2018 NTCA Preseason Poll. Arkansas State won the 2017 Warhawk Classic for the second straight season. Vanderbilt University finished third at the 2017 Warhawk Classic and finished with a top four appearance at the 2017 Hawk Classic Invitational. Sam Houston State University was victorious at the same 2017 Hawk Classic Invitational.

Delaware State University breaks into the top 10, holding strong at No. 6. The Hornets are leading the Northern Division of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore round out the top 8.

Other top 10 teams include, Tulane University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tulane University makes the biggest jump from the last poll, going from 17th to 10th to complete the top ten of the 2017-2018 NTCA December Poll.

NCAA bowling competes as a National Collegiate sport, in which all three divisions compete for one National Championship. This year’s National Championship will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. It will be the first year that automatic qualifiers will take place in the sport of bowling; the six established conference winners will be added to the four schools selected at-large, who will compete for eight spots at the championship.

The National Tenpin Coaches Association 2017-2018 December Poll

UAPB releases names of football coach applicants

PINE BLUFF, Arkansas -- Following a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Commercial last week, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has released the names of 37 applicants who have applied to be the next head football coach for the Golden Lions.

A search committee has been in place to help aid the university in making the hire.

Shortly after former head coach Monte Coleman was fired last month, UAPB Athletic Director Lonza Hardy Jr. ensured that the goal is to name a coach before the Christmas break on Dec. 14.

“An ideal situation is that we can name a new coach before we depart for the Christmas holidays,” Hardy said in a previous interview. “We would like to have someone in place by then. We will proceed quickly, but at the same time we’ll make sure we handle things correctly.”

Hardy has not returned recent calls by the Commercial on the issue.


Still Undefeated: Georgetown Rides A Hot Start To Victory Over North Carolina A&T

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Georgetown men’s basketball team (8-0, Big East) remains undefeated after beating North Carolina A&T (5-4, MEAC) by a score of 83-74. Junior center Jessie Govan led the Hoyas with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while freshman guard Jamorko Pickett and junior guard/forward Kaleb Johnson also scored in double digits. Aggies junior guard Milik Gantz led NC A&T with 21 points.

The Hoyas came blazing out of the gates and took a quick 10-0 lead before the under-16 media timeout. However, the scoring slowed from there, as Georgetown only provided four more points in the next four minutes despite stifling the Aggies offense with their length and physicality.

“We’ve been doing a good job of going out to leads, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re up,’” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said. “We’re letting teams back in, and that’s something that we can’t do, especially when we start playing much better teams.”

Gantz scored the first Aggies points from the free throw line after more than eight minutes of play, and, from there, NC A&T was able to keep up with Georgetown’s offense. The Aggies scored 10 points in the next four minutes while Govan made use of his size advantage down low, approaching yet another double-double by the under-8 timeout in the first half.

Aggies junior guard Aaren Edmead hit the first three-pointer of the game for either team to cut the Georgetown lead to 10 with 7:26 remaining in the half. The Hoyas owed much of their early defensive success to junior forward Marcus Derrickson, who had two first-half blocks and took two charges.


The Mike Prince Radio Show: Coach Willie Simmons

Looking for immediate help, JSU set to host 'Juco Weekend' for recruits

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Tony Hughes wants to build a developmental program. A program based on recruiting good high school players who project as eventual starters at the FCS level.

His first two classes have been a step towards rebuilding the roster from the ground up. Jackson State has 41 freshmen and sophomores that will be sophomores and juniors next year.

But circumstances being what they are — JSU currently has just 10 rising seniors with major playing experience coming back — the Tigers are going to need to land some immediate help this recruiting cycle.

That's why this weekend, Hughes and his staff are hoping to land a few high-profile junior college transfers by hosting as many as a dozen prospects on campus for a "juco recruiting weekend."

"If we started tomorrow we would have 10 seniors and 16 juniors," Hughes said. "That gives us roughly 25 players in our junior and senior class, and that means we'd be playing in excess of 50 freshmen and sophomores. We need some older kids to balance our team and our program."


Official Statement On Prairie View A&M Football

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- After three seasons as head coach, Willie Simmons has left the Prairie View A&M University football program.
"We want to thank Coach Simmons and his family for their contributions to Prairie View A&M University," said Vice President/Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson. "He led Panther football through an exciting period with the opening of our new football stadium and helped Prairie View A&M to again become a contender in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. We wish him success in his future endeavors."
Assistant head coach Bubba McDowell has been named Interim Head Coach. He and quarterbacks coach K.J. Black will lead the program during this transition.
Dr. Corey Bradford, Senior Vice President of Fiscal Affairs, will chair the committee and the national search for the next football coach at Prairie View A&M University.



Ram Ramblings: Buck Joyner's funeral will be Friday in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Ed “Buck” Joyner’s funeral will be held Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the United Metropolitan Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Joyner, a former CIAA head coach at St. Paul’s and Livingstone, died on Dec. 6 at the age of 68.

Joyner, a Winston-Salem native, was a Parkland High School graduate who spent more than 45 years coaching basketball. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Johnson C. Smith with his brother, Steve, who is the longtime coach of the Golden Bulls.


Hampton University Introduces Prunty as New Football Coach

HAMPTON, Virginia — Robert Prunty was introduced as the 21st head coach of the Hampton Pirates at a news conference Dec. 8 at Hampton University’s Student Center Theater.

“I am up for the challenge,” Prunty said.

Eugene Marshall Jr., Director of Athletics at Hampton University, welcomed Prunty, a Hamptonian with more than 30 years of football experience as a player and coach and a four-time conference recruiter-of-the-year honoree with two different Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs.

“Coach Prunty’s record speaks for itself,” Marshall said. “He’s from Virginia. He played for Hampton. It was very refreshing to hear him say ‘I want to come back to Hampton.’”

Prunty served last season as East Carolina University’s associate head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Prior to that, he served four years as the University of Cincinnati’s associate head coach and defensive ends coach and three years as co-defensive coordinator. Before impacting the Bearcat program, Prunty spent three seasons under Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, 2010-2012, directing the Red Raiders’ defensive ends.

“You have no idea how great it is to be back at Hampton,” Prunty said. “This is not my team. It belongs to the university, the alumni, the fans and I want to make that clear.”

Prunty is up to the challenge of taking a winning Pirate team into the bigger spotlight of the Big South Conference, which Hampton University joins next July.

“We will be fundamental and disciplined,” he said. “I didn’t come to Hampton to lose!”

Prunty has been part of five bowl appearances, a conference co-championship and has been recognized by as the Big 12 Conference Recruiter-of-the-Year in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before earning similar honors as the American Athletic Conference’s (AAC) top recruiter in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

His player evaluation and relationship cultivation skills produced Texas Tech’s second-highest rated class in school history in 2012 and his efforts were saluted by both and Fox Sports. Prunty plans on putting that skill to work on tapping the Hampton Roads rich high school talent pool for the Pirates.

“The 757 area: it will be our bloodline,” Prunty said. “Every coach on my team will be looking for 757 talent.”

Prunty is a Chatham, Va., native and a 1983 Hargrave Military Academy graduate. Prunty split his collegiate career between Hampton University and Alabama A&M, where he graduated in 1988.

For more information on Hampton University football, contact the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5757, or visit the official Pirates website at


Savannah State moves to Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- Savannah State University (SSU) President Cheryl Davenport Dozier today announced intentions to pursue membership in the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), pending NCAA approval. SSU’s application to begin the official transition to NCAA Division II will be submitted by February 1, 2018.

SSU competed in the SIAC from 1968 until 2000 when the university was approved for Division I membership as an independent. Savannah State was accepted into the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) as a provisional member in 2010 and attained full membership a year later.

“With the input of the athletics transition taskforce and the athletics department, it was determined that the SIAC was the best fit for SSU and its students,” said Dozier. “I look forward to renewing old SIAC rivalries and establishing new ones that will engage SSU Tiger fans.”

SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore stated: “Welcoming Savannah State University to the SIAC not only adds a 15th outstanding institution, but also restores important historic and geographic rivalries, which I’m certain SIAC alumni, students and fans will enjoy.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Savannah State University back to the SIAC,” stated Council of Presidents Chairman and Miles College President George T. French Jr. “The historical ties shared by Savannah State and the SIAC, coupled with a shared commitment to academic and athletic excellence, makes them a perfect fit for our great conference.”

Savannah State will become the 15th member of the SIAC, joining other Georgia colleges and universities including Albany State, Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Morehouse and Paine, in conjunction with its other member institutions: Benedict, Central State, Claflin, Kentucky State, Lane, LeMoyne-Owen, Miles, Spring Hill, and Tuskegee.

Earlier this year, SSU announced its intent to leave MEAC at the end of the 2018-19 academic school year and to return to NCAA Division II Athletics. Following the announcement, an athletics transition taskforce was established to explore Division II conference options.

The SIAC, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., was established in 1913 and is the largest HBCU Conference in the United States. In addition to football, the SIAC sponsors baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's golf, women's golf, softball, women's track & field, men's track & field, men's tennis, women's tennis and women's volleyball.

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The university's 4,900 students select majors from 30 undergraduate and six graduate programs in three colleges ‐ Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Sciences and Technology ‐ and the School of Teacher Education.


Cheyney University finally fumbles its football program

THORNBURY, Pennsylvania -- It’s been the subject of speculation and rumor for years, but it’s now official: Cheyney University is dropping football due to worsening financial constraints.

Head coach Chris Roulhac confirmed that Wednesday evening after meeting with Cheyney President Aaron Walton, the coaching staff and players.

“We were invited to a meeting with the president on Wednesday and told that due to budgetary restraints, the football program was being discontinued,” said Roulhac, who returned for his second stint as head coach at CU in 2015. “It’s been a very sad last 24 hours, but there is really nothing we can do about it. You hear rumors, but we always held out hope that the program could be saved.”

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference sent out a release Thursday about the move. Calls to the Walton’s office and Cheyney’s interim Athletic Director Sue Kilian were not returned. Nothing about the move was mentioned on the school’s main website or athletic website as of Thursday evening.



LOCK HAVEN, Pennsylvania --- The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is aware of Cheyney University’s announcement of dropping football from its sports sponsorship menu.

We have been in contact with Cheyney University President Aaron Walton as he and his staff deliberated potential actions. The communications between the Conference and President Walton have been objective and forthright on both sides.

These are very difficult times financially for many institutions of higher education in the country and the Commonwealth. Cheyney’s decision is a result of that.

The Conference Office will work with its member institutions to find potential opponents in the 10 now open dates in mandated league schedules.

SWAC issues go beyond figuring out football future

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Last week’s SWAC championship game was supposed to be the conference’s last one.

Back in June, the conference announced plans to “suspended” its title game to place more emphasis on the Celebration Bowl between SWAC and MEAC champions in Atlanta to kick off the bowl season.

“We are pleased with the commitment demonstrated by both conference commissioners, their council of presidents and chancellors,” said John Grant, the bowl game’s executive director, back in June. “This is great news for HBCU football fans, and reflects a greater understanding of the opportunity that the bowl game presents.”

The SWAC looked to eliminate divisions as part of eliminating the conference title game, but both may stay in intact for the 2018 season.

“I got an email yesterday that they’re going back to the divisions,” Alabama State coach Donald Hill-Eley said Thursday. “We’ll be prepared either way because the bottom line is we have to take it one game at a time.”


2017 Celebration Bowl tickets on sale now

ATLANTA, Georgia -- With the college football postseason fast approaching, tickets are now on sale for the third annual Celebration Bowl. As the Bowl season’s opening game, the Celebration Bowl is a championship-style game between the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champions. The game will be broadcast live on ABC at noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 16, from the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. SportsCenter on the Road will once again air live from the Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.

Establishing itself as a premier bowl game, the Celebration Bowl celebrates the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. ESPN works with 100 Black Men of Atlanta to organize the game’s ancillary events which include a youth symposium, robotics showcase, fan experience and more. Each conference has claimed a victory in the event’s first two years, with MEAC Champion North Carolina A&T defeating Alcorn State 2015 and SWAC Champion Grambling State beating North Carolina Central in 2016. Two bowl champions were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft: 2015 Offensive MVP Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears) and 2016 First Team All-SWAC member Chad Williams (Arizona Cardinals).

Fans can purchase tickets to the Celebration Bowl online at or, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Prices range from $50 to $175. A full list of events surrounding the game are available on the event’s website.

For more information, visit, and follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.


NCCU Promotes Eastman to Interim Head Football Coach for 2018

DURHAM, North Carolina -- North Carolina Central University promoted Granville Eastman to serve as interim head football coach for the 2018 season on Friday, as Jerry Mack departs NCCU for another coaching position.

"North Carolina Central University is excited about Coach Jerry Mack's new appointment and salute his contributions to our student-athletes and athletics program," said NCCU Chancellor Dr. Johnson Akinleye. "Over the past four years, our football program has experienced tremendous success, including capturing three championships under the leadership of Coach Mack. He and his staff's dedication to our student-athletes and this university has built a nationally-ranked program that has garnered increased exposure for NCCU throughout North Carolina and around the country.

"Granville Eastman is an accomplished coach who has been part of our championship-winning coaching staff," Johnson added. "We are thrilled he accepted our offer to serve in this new role and look forward to the continuity his leadership will bring."

With 24 years of collegiate coaching experience to his credit, Eastman has been an integral part of the Eagles' success during the past four years as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and safeties coach.

"Coach Mack and his staff have achieved significant accomplishments over the past four seasons and have created a championship brand of FCS football at NCCU. I am proud that our student-athletes have developed academically and athletically under the leadership of this group of coaches," said Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree, NCCU Director of Athletics. "I am confident in Coach Eastman's ability to continue leading our program, further our winning culture and ensure the academic and athletic success of our student-athletes at NCCU."

Since joining NCCU in 2014, Eastman has engineered one of the nation's top defensive units. Under his tutelage, the Eagles have ranked among the NCAA Division I-FCS top-10 statistical leaders in tackles for loss, fumbles recovered, red zone defense, turnovers gained, and third-down and fourth-down conversion percentage defense.

"I am so proud and happy for my friend Jerry Mack. I wish him and his family all the best in this next chapter of their journey," said Eastman. "I am most proud of what we have established here at North Carolina Central University. Coach Mack was the architect for designing a football program for success both on and off the field. I consider it an honor and a privilege to carry on the tradition of excellence in his footsteps."

Prior to joining NCCU, Eastman spent nine seasons as the defensive coordinator at Austin Peay State University in Clarkesville, Tennessee. During his 11 total seasons at APSU, he coached defensive backs and linebackers, and also served as special teams coordinator and interim head coach.

Eastman coached four seasons (1999-2002) at Tiffin University in Ohio, including the last three seasons as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, while working with defensive backs and defensive line during his tenure.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Eastman secured his first coaching position at York University in his hometown, where he spent two seasons (1994-95) working with defensive backs.

He then served as a defensive graduate assistant for three seasons (1996-98) at Arkansas State University, earning a master's degree in sociology in 1999.

He has interned with five NFL teams since 2002, lending his services to the Detroit Lions (2002), Arizona Cardinals (2004), Tennessee Titans (2006), Indianapolis Colts (2011) and Minnesota Vikings (2012).

Eastman was a two-time all-city defensive back at Stephen Leacock High School in Toronto before attending Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he was a three-year letterman as a defensive back. Twice Saint Mary's played in national title games while he was there. Eastman earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Mary's University in 1992.

Eastman also volunteers as a coach and mentor with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He is married to the former Lynnette Armstrong. They are the proud parents of two sons - J.R. and Brandon.

The Granville Eastman File

Saint Mary's University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), 1992, bachelor's degree/criminology certificate
Arkansas State University, 1999, master's degree in sociology

Collegiate Playing Experience:
Saint Mary's University, defensive back (1989-92)

Coaching Experience:
York University (Toronto, Canada), assistant coach (defensive backs), 1994-95
Arkansas State University, graduate assistant (defense), 1996-98
Tiffin University
- assistant coach (defensive backs/recruiting coordinator), 1999
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/defensive line/recruiting coordinator), 2000
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/defensive backs/recruiting coordinator), 2001-02
Austin Peay State University
- assistant coach (defensive backs/special teams coordinator), 2003-04
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/special teams/outside linebackers/safeties), 2005-06
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/special teams/defensive backs), 2007-09
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/special teams/linebackers), 2010
- assistant coach (defensive coordinator/safeties), 2011-12
- interim head coach, January-March 2013
- assistant head coach (defensive coordinator/secondary), 2013
North Carolina Central University
- assistant head coach (defensive coordinator/safeties), 2014-17
- interim head coach, 2018

NCAA Division I-FCS Statistical Rankings – NCCU Team Defense under Defensive Coordinator Granville Eastman
2017: 2nd Third-Down Conversion Percentage Defense, 17th Sacks, 17th Red Zone Defense, 19th Rushing Defense, 19th Defensive Touchdowns
2016: 6th Tackles for Loss, 14th Sacks, 17th Fumbles Recovered
2015: 1st Fourth-Down Conversion Percentage Defense, 3rd Tackles for Loss, 8th Red Zone Defense, 10th Fumbles Recovered, 17th Sacks
2014: 2nd Fumbles Recovered, 5th Turnovers Gained, 7th Third-Down Conversion Percentage Defense, 19th Passing Yards Allowed


Coach Jerry Mack leaving NC Central for offensive coordinator job at Rice

DURHAM, North Carolina -- N.C. Central football coach Jerry Mack is leaving Durham to become the next offensive coordinator at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Mack said Friday.

The Owls earlier this week named former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren as their new head coach replacing David Bailiff, who was fired in November after 10 years of leading the program.

Bloomgren and Mack have history, both serving on the staff at Delta State when Mack was a graduate assistant there in 2004-2005. Bloomgren was the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and special teams coach from March 2005 to February 2007. A chance to coach at the highest level and to coach with his good friend Bloomgren was a chance Mack jumped at.

“I just couldn’t turn down this opportunity for me and my family,” Mack said.

Mack, 37, was named the Eagles 22nd head football coach in 2013. The Memphis, Tenn. native was the third-youngest active Division I coach. In four years in Durham, Mack led the Eagles to a 31-15 record and three consecutive MEAC championships. During the 2016 season, N.C. Central cracked the FCS Top 25 poll for the first time since making the jump to Division I, earning a trip to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.


Alabama State Names Donald Hill-Ely Head Football Coach

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Alabama State University and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that the interim tag will be removed from Donald Hill-Eley Thursday afternoon, and he will become the 29th head coach in school history.

"Coach Hill-Eley is a veteran who has already proven his ability to provide the kind of leadership that is needed for the University's football program," said Alabama State University President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr. "I would like to thank Interim Athletics Director, Jennifer Williams, and the search committee for their due diligence and thoughtful deliberation in sending the recommendation of Donald Hill-Eley as ASU's next head football coach. In making this announcement, the University's leadership is affirming our commitment to the continued success of ASU's athletics program."

Eley was named to the interim role on October 6 after an 0-5 start to the season, and guided the Hornets to five wins in their final six games including a victory in the Magic City Classic over Alabama A&M and pair of wins on opponents' homecoming weekends. He also guided the Hornets to four road wins to close the season, all in conference play.

He joined the program in 2015 after a one-year stint as the wide receivers coach at Norfolk State and has served in the role of Associate Head Coach during that time. The longtime Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) coach spent 13 seasons at Morgan State (2001-13). After his first season as offensive coordinator, Eley spent the final 12 as head coach and was named 2002 MEAC Coach of the Year. His 59 wins rank third all-time in Bears' history, and he turned around a program who had not had a winning season in 23 consecutive seasons by going 7-5 in his first year at the helm.

Eley also spent four seasons at Hampton (1997-2000) as offensive coordinator and pro liaison, helping the Pirates win an HBCU National Championship, two MEAC titles and the 1999 Heritage Bowl.

He spent four seasons in professional football in the Canadian Football League, first with the Baltimore Stallions (1994-95) as receivers coach before two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts as a guest coach (1996-97). Hill was on the staff of three straight Grey Cup championship teams (1995-97) during his time in the CFL.

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FAMU set to hire Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons to lead football program under a 5-year deal

Willie Simmons, the Panthers’ coach for the past three season, was offered and has accepted the same position at Florida A&M and is reportedly expected to officially be announced sometime this weekend.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- A source close to Florida A&M's athletic department confirmed to the Tallahassee Democrat the football team's next head coach will be Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons.

Simmons, 37, has been at the helm of Prairie View A&M for the last three seasons and has compiled a 21-11 record with the Panthers. Praised for overseeing strong offenses, Simmons has put together winning seasons in each of his three years as a head coach.

Before being hired at Prairie View, he was the offensive coordinator at Alcorn State. In 2014, Alcorn State won the Southwestern Athletic Conference title and were No. 2 in the FCS in scoring (44 points per game) with Simmons as the team's offensive coordinator.

The Panthers went 6-5 last season. The Panther's were third in the SWAC in scoring offense (30 points per game) and second in total offense (424.2 yards per game).

Simmons was born in Tallahassee and attended James A. Shanks in Quincy.


Grambling State OC considered for 2 SWAC head coaching vacancies

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- When an offense has built the type of product and manufactured the recent results Grambling State’s has the last couple of seasons, naturally other schools in need of a coach will come calling.

As football season has entered the lull before the bowl season officially starting next Saturday with the Celebration Bowl between GSU, the reigning SWAC champions, and North Carolina A&T, the MEAC champs, kicking things off at 11 a.m. for the HBCU national title, the Tigers' offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Eric Dooley has surfaced as a candidate for two SWAC head coaching openings.

Reported by The Pine Bluff Commercial earlier Friday following a Freedom of Information Act request, Dooley was listed as one of 37 applicants for the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff head coaching job. Former coach Monte Coleman was fired from his post Nov. 20 and at the time, UAPB Athletic Director Lonza Hardy Jr. told reporters that he’d like to have his new coach in place before Dec. 14, when the school breaks for the holidays.

Dooley served as offensive coordinator of the Golden Lions under Coleman from 2011-13, playing a part in the team winning the SWAC title during his first season, before joining GSU head coach Broderick Fobbs’ staff in the same position before the 2014 season.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Raynard, Leonard Names 2017 MEAC Offensive, Defensive Player

NEW YORK CITY - North Carolina A&T State quarterback Lamar Raynard and South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard were named the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. The players were named officially at the 60th annual National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame press conference on Tuesday morning in New York City live on ESPN3.

This marks the fourth consecutive year a player from North Carolina A&T State has been named offensive player of the year as Raynard passed for a MEAC-best 2,707 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to a 11-0 regular season mark and a berth in the Celebration Bowl. The redshirt junior from High Point, N.C. leads the MEAC in eight (8) statistical categories and shattered the Aggie record books as he broke the North Carolina A&T State single-season school records for touchdowns responsible, passing, total offense, touchdown passes and completions in a season.

Nationally, Raynard ranks third in passing efficiency and yards per pass attempt while ranking 17th in passing yards and second in total offense en route to a 26-0 record as a starter.

Leonard keeps the defensive player of the year trophy in Orangeburg for the fifth straight year as SC State defenders have won the award every year since 2013. The redshirt senior from Lake View, S.C. currently ranks fourth in the FCS with 113 tackles (11.3 per game) and second in solo tackles (7.3 pg). He also picked off two passes and had seven (7) sacks while finishing his career as the all-time leading tackler in SC State football history with 393 tackles. Leonard had six games in 2017 with 12-plus tackles highlighted by a high of 18 versus Morgan State.


Martin's 25 points, tying 3-pointer help Towson men beat Morgan State in OT, 82-78

TOWSON, Maryland -- Over its first nine games this season, the Towson men’s basketball team had played on Florida’s Gulf Coast and Northern Ireland’s East Coast. It had won in blowouts and on last-second jumpers, as in Saturday’s Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic final.

But what happened in Belfast — the seventh and eighth wins of the program’s best-ever start in Division I — would be moot if business were not taken care of in Baltimore. The Tigers have been workmanlike under coach Pat Skerry in that respect, having won eight straight games against Baltimore-area teams coming into the “Battle for Greater Baltimore” against Morgan State.


Sources: FAMU targeting Prairie View A&M coach Willie Simmons for next head coach

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Per multiple sources close to FAMU's athletic program, the athletic department has targeted Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons as the Rattlers' next head football coach.

An announcement could come as soon as Friday, per a source.

At the very least, interim head coach Edwin Pata will not be FAMU's next head coach. Pata on Wednesday informed the team he wasn't being considered to be the Rattlers next head coach.

"These folks really didn’t consider Coach Pata as a head coach... what kinda BS is that?" FAMU cornerback Orlando McKinley tweeted Wednesday night.

Simmons has been the head coach at Prairie View A&M for the past three seasons and has complied 21-11 overall record at the helm. His first season was by far his best. He led the Panthers to an 8-2 overall season with an 8-1 record in the SWAC.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Black College Football Hall of Fame Announces BCF Player of the Year Award Finalists

#25 RB Trenton Cannon. Virginia State University

ATLANTA, Georgia -- The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced today four Finalists for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) that embodies the rich tradition of athletic excellence and integrity associated with HBCUs. Former North Carolina A&T State University, and current Chicago Bears Running Back, Tarik Cohen was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2016.

The 2017 Finalists include RB Trenton Cannon (Virginia State University), QB Amir Hall (Bowie State University), QB DeVante Kincade (Grambling State University) and QB Lamar Raynard (North Carolina A&T State University).
The Finalists were chosen by a five-member Selection Committee, which is composed of Black College Football Hall of Fame founders James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams, longtime SBN Broadcaster and Director of News and Sports for the Power News Radio Network Ty Miller, former USA Today sports writer Roscoe Nance, and ESPN College Football Analyst Jay Walker.
“The Black College Football Player of the Year Award showcases the immense talent of our HBCU student-athletes today,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “Each finalist has had an incredible season and we are excited to celebrate their success.”
The winner of the 2017 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on February 10, 2018 at the Ninth Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy, named in honor of the football legend and inaugural BCFHOF inductee.
“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees, we congratulate the Black College Football Player of the Year Finalists,” said James “Shack” Harris, Co-Founder and 2012 Inductee. “These student-athletes represent the very best of HBCU football.”
The Finalists will also be recognized at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on December 16th, along with the BCFHOF Class of 2018, which will be televised on ABC.

Running Back … Virginia State University … Senior … Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA) Offensive Player of the Year … 1st Team All-CIAA as a running back and kick returner … Led CIAA in rushing yards (1,638), rushing avg. (7.7 YPC) and all-purpose yards (2,686) … Scored 22 total touchdowns (2nd in CIAA) … Named CIAA’s Offensive Back of the Week five times … Became Virginia State's all-time leading rusher … Candidate for The Harlon Hill Award (Division II College Football Player of the Year) … Two-time All-CIAA 1st Team (2016 and 2017) … Born July 23, 1994. 
Quarterback … Bowie State University … Junior … Two-time 1st Team All-CIAA … Led conference in passing yards (3,519), passing touchdowns (41) and total offense (3,929) … Also had 406 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns … Owns nearly every quarterback record for Bowie State, including career passing yards (6,974), passing touchdowns (69) and passing efficiency (163.6) … Candidate for The Harlon Hill Award (Division II College Football Player of the Year) … 2016 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year … Born September 26, 1997.
Quarterback … Grambling State University … Senior … Led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in passing yards (2,409), efficiency (143.8), completions (184) and total offense (2,649) … Threw 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions … 2016 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year … 2016 1st Team All-SWAC … 2016 Black College Football Player of the Year Finalist … Led Grambling to the SWAC Championship both years as starting quarterback and the 2016 Black College Football National Championship (Celebration Bowl) … Born September 16, 1994.
Quarterback … North Carolina A&T State University … Junior … 1st Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) … Led MEAC in passing yards (2,707), efficiency (171.6), completion percentage (65.3%) and touchdowns (26) … Broke school record for passing yards in a season … Also had 168 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns … Finalist the Walter Payton Award for FCS Offensive Player of the Year … Led the Aggies to an undefeated season and the MEAC Championship … 2nd Team All-MEAC in 2016 … Born February 1, 1996.


David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. He won unanimous All-NFL honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones is an inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2010) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Morgan State Drops FIU 62-51

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- FIU lost its third of three games on its mid-Atlantic road trip, falling 62-51 Monday afternoon in NCAA women's basketball action. FIU is now 2-7 on the season. Morgan State improved to 6-3, winners of six in a row at home, dating back to last season.

- Redshirt junior Kiandre'a Pound (Gifford, Florida / Sebastian River HS) finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. She hit six of 12 field-goal attempts, the best shooting mark for any Panther for the afternoon.

- The Panthers had trouble finding the bottom of the net early on, starting 1-for-10 from the floor. After a Panthers' timeout and quick refresher of the game plan, FIU hit its last four attempts to pull to within six at the quarter break, 16-10.

- The Panthers tried to run a little more in the second, but missed layups cost the team on several possessions. FIU was 6-for-18 in the second quarter, while the Lady Bears were a scorching 9-for-18 (.500) and extended the lead to 13 at intermission, 38-25. It was FIU's lowest-scoring first half of the season.

- FIU shot its best quarter of the game in the third, but the Lady Bears had twice as many shot attempts due to six FIU turnovers and three MSU offensive rebounds.

- The Panthers outscored Morgan State 13-10 in the fourth, but the margin was too great to overcome.

- In addition to Pound's 17, freshman Callie Cavanaugh (Holyoke, Massachusetts) scored 10 and a season-high 10 came from freshman Cabria Lee (Lake Worth, Florida / Northeast HS). Lee finished with a season-best three assists and hit her first collegiate three-point bucket in the game.

Stat of the Match
FIU had 10 more free-throw attempts and eight more rebounds, but MSU gained a 20-point edge in points in the paint, along with eight blocks.

From the Sideline
"We really lacked energy today," said FIU Head Coach Tiara Malcom. "Toughness has been an issue and we really didn't focus on what we worked on defensively. Once we got down, we just could not get back in the game today."



Tennessee State Tiger Football Announces 2018 Schedule

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Tennessee State announces its 2018 football schedule, which features four home games and a trip to crosstown, Southeastern Conference (SEC) opponent, Vanderbilt.

The Tigers open the home slate by hosting Bethune-Cookman in the John Merritt Classic on Sept. 1. TSU will hit the road for the next six contests, including their annual meeting with Jackson State at the Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 8 in Memphis, Tenn.

The remainder of the home line-up consists of a trio of Ohio Valley Conference matchups. Tennessee Tech visits Nashville on Oct. 20 for Homecoming 2018, while Jacksonville State and UT Martin make visits to close out the Tigers regular season on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, respectively.

TSU will begin the road portion of the schedule at Hampton on Sept. 15, a week before the start of OVC play. The Tigers open conference play at Eastern Illinois on Sept.22. The Big Blue will step out of conference play on Sept. 29 with its second game with Vanderbilt in three years. It also marks the third consecutive year with a contest against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent.

The Tigers close out the road trip with stops at Austin Peay and Murray State. The final OVC road contest will take place on Nov. 3 at Southeast Missouri.

Dates are subject to change and times will be announced at a later date.

2018 TSU Tigers Football Schedule

Sept. 1 Bethune-Cookman John Merritt Classic
Sept. 8 Jackson State Southern Heritage Classic
Sept. 15 at Hampton
Sept. 22 at Eastern Illinois
Sept. 29 at Vanderbilt
Oct. 6 at Austin Peay
Oct. 13 at Murray State
Oct. 20 Tennessee Tech (Homecoming)
Nov. 3 at Southeast Missouri
Nov. 10 Jacksonville State
Nov. 17 UT Martin


UMES Golf Coach Marshall Cropper Inducted Into Eastern Shore Golf Hall of Fame

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — Maryland Eastern Shore Athletics Hall of Famer and head men’s golf coach Marshall Cropper is slated for induction to the Eastern Shore Golf Hall of Fame, in a ceremony this Saturday (Dec. 2) at Ocean City Golf Club in Berlin, Maryland. Cropper helps to set a milestone as he is the first African-American to be inducted.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and will feature the induction of six new members. Tickets are $75 per guest and reservations can be made at 443-528-7945. Proceeds from the event will benefit Maryland Eastern Shore’s Professional Golf Management (PGM) program.

An Eastern Shore native from New Church, Virginia, Cropper studied physical education, played baseball and football, and found his interest in golf all while attending then Maryland State College in the 1960s.

Upon graduating in 1967, Cropper went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins. He found gratification for golf during Steelers training camp. The Steelers practiced by Arnold Palmer’s home and driving range in Latrobe, and after receiving many tips form Mr. Palmer himself, it paid off in the long run. Having a passion working with youth, he used golf as a tool to teach life skills, and used golf as a fundraiser during his NFL days to finance youth camps.

Following retirement from the NFL, Cropper was chosen to develop a degree program at Maryland Eastern Shore that would introduce more African-Americans to the game of golf. As a result in 2008 the Professional Golf Management (PGM) program was established, and Maryland Eastern Shore became the first HBCU in the nation with such a program.

His fundraising acumen continued with work for The Art Shell Golf Classic, an event so successful that it grabbed the attention from Congressmen, University administration and alumni. Now serving as head men’s golf coach and the as the Universities’ Golf Academy Coordinator, Cropper started a Hall of Fame Golf Outing this past fall, again featuring his former Hawk teammate and NFL Hall of Famer Art Shell. True to his fundraising roots, the proceeds were set aside for men’s golf.

Cropper was inducted to the Maryland Eastern Shore Hall of Fame for his contributions to the Hawks in 1984.


Monday, December 4, 2017

XULA defeats No. 13 OLLU for 5th straight victory

NEW ORLEANS — Essence Wells had a career-high-tying 18 points Saturday, and Xavier University of Louisiana produced its highest scoring second half of the season in a 70-65 women's basketball victory against NAIA No. 13 Our Lady of the Lake.

After trailing 31-27 at the break, the Gold Nuggets (5-2) outscored the Saints (5-4) 43-34 in the second half to extend their win streak to five games, XULA won for the third time in four days at its Convocation Center.

Wells, a sophomore guard, made 5-of-5 free throws in the 35th minute to give XULA a 60-56 lead. OLLU never got closer than four points in the final three minutes.

Ireyon Keith scored a season-high 12 points for XULA, and Gina Smith had season highs of 11 points and eight rebounds. Smith was 5-of-6 from the floor.

Francesca Patrick scored 16 points for OLLU, and Destinee King had 13 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and four steals.

XULA's previous high point total in a second half was 35, and the Gold Nuggets never reached 30 points in five of their first six second halves this season.

"Our chemistry is getting better," XULA coach Bo Browder said. "Our guards are learing how to play with our post players, and we're just doing a better job of moving the ball on offense."

Quintianna LeShore's basket at 6:04 gave OLLU an 11-4 lead. But the Gold Nuggets answered with seven straight points, and the Saints led 17-14 by the end of the quarter. OLLU three times led by seven points in the second quarter, but a Wells 3-pointer — her third of the half — reduced the Saints' advantage to 31-27 at the break.

Mikayla Bates's back-to-back 3-pointers — her only scores of the game — keyed a 13-2 run that gave XULA a 45-38 lead at 3:35 of the third quarter. The Gold Nuggets led 51-47 through three after scoring 24 points, their most in a third period this season.

Smith's layup — her final points of the game — came after a Jayla Nichols pass and put XULA ahead to stay, 54-53, with 7:38 remaining.

OLLU outshot XULA 42.3 to 34.4 percent from the floor, and both team made six treys. Boosting the Nuggets were a season-high 22 free throws made in 30 attempts. The Saints were 15-of-24 of the line, but they faded there after going 8-for-8 in the first six minutes. The Gold Nuggets produced a double-digit and season-best rebound margin for the third straight game — they won the boards 46-32.

XULA will break for fall-semester academic final exams, then visit the University of New Orleans in an 11 a.m. game Dec. 14. Note that UNO has pushed up the tip-off time.


Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Morgan State Bears Fall in Matinee Matchup at Navy 66-59

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland -- Hasan Abdullah scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Navy to a 66-59 victory over Morgan State on Sunday.

Along with his first career double-double, Abdullah made 4 of 6 3-point attempts and had six assists and three steals.

After freshman LaPri McCray-Pace hit a 3-pointer to get the Bears within four with a minute to go, Abdullah drove the lane to score, snagged a rebound after a Bears miss and made a free throw, and ended Morgan State's final possession with a steal.

Shawn Anderson added 11 points for the Midshipmen (7-3), who have won three straight.

Senior Phillip Carr scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first half. Junior guard added Martez Cameron 14 (8-8 FT) with six assists and McCray-Pace had 11 points for the Bears (4-4), whose three-game win streak was snapped.

Evan Wieck and Ryan Pearson scored five points each in a 13-5 run to end the first half and give Navy a 32-28 lead. Navy led throughout the second half and was ahead by 11 with four minutes to go.

Navy shot 9-of-24 on 3-pointers and outshot Morgan State in the game, 47 percent (23-of-49) to 39 percent (19-of-18).

The Midshipman out-rebounded the Bears by a commanding 37-24 margin and scored 28 points inside the paint.

Morgan State will be right back in action on Wednesday night when they face the Towson Tigers at SECU Arena.