Thursday, May 31, 2012

California defensive specialist is sixth to sign with Xavier Nuggets

photos from the signing ceremony
 (via Facebook)
NEW ORLEANS — Alexis Clay, a 5-foot-1 defensive specialist from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., is Xavier University of Louisiana's sixth women's volleyball signee for the 2012 season.

Clay signed with the Gold Nuggets on May 22.

Clay was a four-time defensive player of the year on the Palos Verdes Peninsula High School varsity, and she was second-team All-Bay League as a senior. She led the Panthers this past fall with 247 digs and averaged 3.58 digs per set.

"We are very excited to add Alexis to our volleyball family," XU coach Christabell Hamilton said. "She will definitely bring in a high level of play as well as a thirst for competition. So far she's our only true libero we've signed and she's excited to take on such a big role, especially coming in as a freshman."

Clay will be a communications major at Xavier.

"I was most interested in attending an HBCU," Clay said. "After researching Xavier and visiting the campus, I knew it was a place where I would fit in. And I am so looking forward to playing for Coach Hamilton. I love that she can be fun and serious at the right times."

Previously signed with the Gold Nuggets were defensive specialist Darian Harris of Gretna, La., middle blocker Claudia Haywood of Memphis, Tenn., middle blocker Jodi Hill of Prairieville, La., right-side hitter Patrice Smith of Glenn Heights, Texas, and outside hitter CeCe Williams of Houma, Louisiana.

Xavier was 23-7 in 2011, won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships and qualified for the NAIA National Championship.

2012-13 Xavier women's volleyball signees

Name Pos. Ht. Yr.* Hometown High School (College)
Alexis Clay DS 5-1 Fr. Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Palos Verdes Peninsula
Darian Harris DS 5-3½ Fr. Gretna, La. McGehee
Claudia Haywood MB 5-11 Fr. Memphis, Tenn. Cordova
Jodi Hill MB 5-9 Fr. Prairieville, La. Dutchtown
Patrice Smith RS 5-9 Fr. Glenn Heights, Texas DeSoto
CeCe Williams OH 5-6 Fr. Houma, La. Vandebilt Catholic
* classification at Xavier in 2012-13

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Chuck Landon: Former MU assistant is first white SWAC coach

ALCORN STATE, Mississippi -- Doesn't Jay Hopson's new job count as a minority hiring? It should. When a black man is hired as a head football or basketball coach at a college, isn't it hailed as a progressive move in racial equality? Yes. So, shouldn't the converse also apply? I believe so.

And that's precisely what happened when Hopson, a well liked and fondly remembered former Marshall University assistant coach, was hired Monday to be Alcorn State University's head football coach. Hopson is white, you see.

But Alcorn State is a historically black school. So, when Hopson became the Braves' 18th head coach in school history, he also became Alcorn State's first white football coach.

Videographer: cameraguy06


S.C. State AD Charlene Johnson Joins NCAA D-I Football Championship Committee

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina - South Carolina State Athletics Director Charlene Johnson has been appointed to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee, as announced by Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Media Relations Office.

Johnson will join a committee that will focus on developing policies and procedures that govern the administration of the NCAA Division I Football Championship. Her term on the committee began immediately and will run through September 1, 2015.

"I'm excited and pleased to ...


MSU men's basketball team signs three

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- The Morgan State University men's basketball team signed three players to national letters of intent.

The new additions are: Donte Pretlow, a 6-foot, 185-lb., guard from Baltimore, Cedric Blossom, a 6-6, 225-pound forward from Columbia, Md. and JuCo transfer Daryl Traynham, 5-9, 180-pound point guard from Upper Marlboro, Md.

Pretlow played at Dunbar where he played for head coach Cyrus Jones. While there, he helped guide the Poets to Class 1A state championships in 2011 and 2012.

“Ever since he came up to varsity, he's been winning state championships,” Jones said. “He's played a valuable role in those titles. He was really the leader out there on the court.”

“Donte is a tough hard-nosed guard in the tradition of a long list of Dunbar-Baltimore point guards,” said MSU head coach Todd Bozeman. “He brings that Baltimore inner-city toughness to the program. He can really run a team, can defend, has tremendous poise and can make the open shot. He's certainly going to give us added depth in the backcourt.”

Pretlow, whose Poets (24-3) finished the 2011-12 season as The Baltimore Sun's No. 1 boys basketball team, averaged around 10 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals. At Morgan, he'll be expected to continue filling up the stat sheet and serving as a leader.

Blossom spent a season at Hammond before transferring to powerhouse Montrose Christian where he started in just about every game during his two years. Last season he was named co-captain and was a supporting player on a team that featured Tyrone Johnson (Villanova), Tyler Hubbard (Loyola) and Justin Anderson (Virginia), among others.

“Cedric is a young man that is a 6-foot-6 versatile player who will allow us to play in different ways,” Bozeman said. “He can play on the perimeter or in the post, in terms of the wing or the four. Something he did in high school.”

“He comes from Montrose Christian, a perennial basketball powerhouse, and has played with great players and knows what it takes to win. He is a good rebounder with a great nose for the ball, as well as a great defender and is extremely athletic. He's going to add depth to our team for sure.”

Traynham spent last season as the starting point guard for Palm Beach State, which is one of the most renowned junior college basketball programs in the country. He helped lead the head coach George “Butch” Estes' Panthers to a 26-5 record and the FCSAA/District 8 State Semifinals.

“He's a general,” Bozeman said. He can really run a team and create for others. He started his career at UMass, before transferring to junior college. I've been knowing him ever since he was a young kid.”

Traynham completed the 2011-12 season by averaging 10.8 points per game, 5.7 assists and 2.5 steals for the Panthers.


Breakout freshman softball season for SAU's White

RALEIGH, North Carolina - Jolanda White’s St. Augustine’s College softball team practiced on a baseball field. It’s hardly surprising that she maintained her baseball-length hitting when the Falcons played on softball dimensions.

White, a freshman from Leland, bashed a Central Collegiate Athletic Association-leading 10 home runs, while batting .396, 10th best in the league. She also stole 18 bases, third best in the conference, was first in slugging percentage (.783) and was fourth in total bases (83). She led St. Augustine’s in nearly every offensive category.

“I was expecting to do good, but I wasn’t expecting to ...


Who will be the next commissioner of the CIAA?

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - Who will be the next commissioner of the CIAA? That is the question on everyone’s mind around the conference.

Leon G. Kerry, who had led the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) for the past 22 years retired unexpectedly this year. While the CIAA suggests that Kerry stepped down on his own volition, there is speculation that the CIAA's chief might have departed involuntarily due in part to ethical questions surrounding $100,000 in payments that went to Ereka Crawford-Brim, an employee with Charlotte's Regional Visitor Authority. Kerry was also a big part of the move that shifted the conference tournament from Raleigh to Charlotte.

Peggy Davis, who had ...


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Black Nouveau | Program: New Orleans - Xavier and Dillard Universities and more...

Black Nouveau and the Running Rebels Community Organization, which serves at-risk youth from the Milwaukee area, travel to New Orleans to volunteer, learn, and gain new experiences. The group visits the French Quarter, tours Xavier University and Dillard University (both Historically Black Colleges and Universities), views the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and cleans up the town of Violet. In Oxford, Mississippi, they visit the University of Southern Mississippi--Brett Favre's Alma mater, and later, they experience horse riding.   Let us never forget the challenges ahead ... And Still We Rise!

NCAA Baseball Tournament 2012: Prairie View A&M Glad To Be Playing In Houston

HOUSTON, Texas - The ultimate underdog in the Houston Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament has to be the Prairie View A&M Panthers of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), a league of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are rarely expected to compete with the larger schools for college baseball supremacy.

But Prairie View is no slouch and Rice would be wise not to overlook the Panthers in their first-round matchup on Friday. In 2006, it took a ninth-inning single with the bases loaded to keep Prairie View from upsetting Rice in the first round.

Panthers head coach Waskyla Cullivan is glad to be playing in Houston for the sake of the PV fan base.


TSU Coaching Legend Gilliam, Sr. Honored in Roast

NASHVILLE, Tennessee - Former Tennessee State University football players, alumni and fans showed their gratitude last Saturday as the group honored TSU coaching legend Joe Gilliam, Sr. in a roast at the Sheraton Music City Hotel.

Coach Gilliam was greeted by hundreds of supporters including NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent and former Dallas Cowboy Ed 'Too Tall' Jones. Several other players also showed their gratitude to Coach Gilliam, who spent two-plus decades at Tennessee State.

As an assistant coach under John A. Merritt, Gilliam helped create one of the best defenses in the country.

While at Tennessee State, Gilliam posted a record of 164-31-6 in his 25 years. The Tigers posted four undefeated seasons and won seven Black College National Titles.


Gilliam then returned to TSU as the head coach in 1988 and was named OVC Coach of the Year in 1990. Over 80 TSU student-athletes reached the NFL during Gilliam's tutelage.

Not only was Coach Gilliam a success on the field, approximately 74 percent of his student-athletes graduated from Tennessee State. The men have professions in the business, education and in the medical field to just name a few.

In 2007, Coach Gilliam was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. At the ceremonial roast on Saturday, Gilliam received recognition from the State of Tennessee and the City of Nashville.


Texas Southern Football: A New Era Begins

XU has basketball and volleyball camps, summer league

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana will offer summer camps in basketball and volleyball and, for a fourth consecutive season, play host to the Super Elite Summer League in boys basketball.

Dates of the basketball camp, for boys and girls age 6-16, will be July 9-12. The volleyball camp will offer sessions for ages 9-13 from July 16-18 and ages 14-18 from July 19-21.

The Barn, the 75-year-old gymnasium in its final months as the home of XU athletics, will be the site of both camps and the summer league.

More information on the camps can be obtained by visiting or by contacting Alfred Williams (basketball) at (504) 520-6778 or or Christabell Hamilton (volleyball) at (504) 520-5344 or

Twelve schools — Brother Martin, Catholic (Baton Rouge), East St. John, Ellender, Jesuit, Madison Prep, McDonogh 35, O. Perry Walker, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Scotlandville and Riverside — will compete in the summer league. Jesuit will play Madison Prep at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first of the six opening-day games. The league will run for five consecutive Wednesdays and conclude June 27. Xavier and O. Perry Walker co-sponsor the league.

Basketball Camp
click here for information

Volleyball Camp
click here for information

Super Elite Summer League
click here for information

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Three Added to TSU Men's Basketball Staff

NASHVILLE, Tennessee - Tennessee State University head coach Travis Williams announced his coaching staff for the 2012-13 season on Tuesday afternoon. Ben Betts, Rodney Hamilton and Brandon Johnson join the Tigers men's basketball program - all of which have experience at the NCAA Division I level.

Williams brings three staff members that have a strong expertise in academics, recruiting and success. Betts and Hamilton have been head coaches at previous stops, while Johnson served as an assistant with former TSU head coach John Cooper at Auburn.

"I was really overjoyed by all the national interest our program generated for these positions," said Williams. "I wanted to hire guys with great experience coaching on all levels and fit the criteria to carry on what we have started here at TSU."

Betts was head coach at South Carolina State from 2004 until 2006 and most recently worked in collegiate hoops as an assistant under Jeff Capel at Oklahoma in 2011. He helped the Sooners to an elite appearance with future NBA star Blake Griffin in 2009.

Last season, Betts spent the year as the Director of Basketball at the Spectrum Sports Academy in Roanoke, Virginia.

Hamilton joined the Tigers after three successful years as head coach of Indiana Tech's women's basketball program. The Memphis native guided Indiana Tech to a No. 15 ranking and helped the team tie for the most regular season wins in the past nine seasons.

Hamilton previously worked at Ohio Valley Conference foe Southeast Missouri for two seasons.

Johnson joins the Tigers after spending the past three years as an advisor for John Lucas Basketball Resources.

The veteran coached five years at Auburn. During that time, he played a vital role in helping revitalize the Auburn basketball program as the Tigers nearly claimed a SEC West Division title in 2007.

"I felt very comfortable hiring Ben, Brandon and Rodney," noted Williams. "These individuals bring a great level of professionalism, integrity, work ethic, recruiting and coaching experience."

Tennessee State posted a 20-13 record - the best in 32 seasons for the Tigers. Coach Williams was named the 16th TSU head men's basketball coach on April 13.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats to face Florida Gators

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- There was little drama to Bethune-Cookman's NCAA baseball selection party Monday at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The players barely had time to look up from their plates when they saw their school's name flash on the screen. There was a hoot or two in the crowd, but the players remained stoic when they saw they will be heading to the Gainesville Regional where they will meet No. 1 overall seed Florida at 7 p.m. Friday.

"We take it as a business trip," B-CU sophomore outfielder Josh Johnson said. "We're not going to throw fireworks in the air. Wherever we play, that's where we play."

The selection party is old hat for the Wildcats, who qualified for the NCAA's 64-team field for the seventh straight year after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament May 20. This will be the third time in four years they will be playing in the Gainesville regional.


Alcorn State Taps Hopson as New Head Football Coach

Mississippi native Jay Hopson (L) brings an impressive resume'
to Alcorn State with a vision of building a championship
program, both academically and athletically.  Hopson
becomes the first non-black head football coach in the
Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), a league
with four head football coaches that earned
Super Bowl championships as players -- Doug Williams
(GSU), Monte Coleman (UAPB), Anthony Jones
(AAMU) and Reggie Barlow (ASU).
(Photo Courtesy ASU University Relations)
ALCORN STATE, Mississippi — No matter the setting, Jay Hopson knows how to use his passion and love for the game to inspire enthusiasm in others and that, coupled with his ability to set high core values, will work well at Alcorn, said President M. Christopher Brown II.

“Knowledge and character matter at Alcorn,” Brown said as he introduced the next leader of the institution’s football program on a day we will all remember. “It is our goal to build not only an outstanding program, but a winning program where student athletes thrive. And Hopson was the only candidate who mentioned that the character of your team will define the success of your program.”

President Brown jokingly added while talking with alumni about the new hire, “We are not just interested in winning the SWAC championship next year—although that would be great—but we want to build a legacy by developing a championship program.”

By no means is it coincidental that Hopson, 43, was named Alcorn’s 18th head football coach by the 18th university president. For years Hopson envisioned Alcorn as his dream job. “I have often dreamed of working with Alcorn and I am elated to have the opportunity to work with the Alcorn community to establish a program that the Alcorn family can be proud of for years to come.”

Members of the search committee, campus alumni, community leaders, and university donors cheered as Brown welcomed Hopson to the podium.

The Vicksburg native played defensive back at Ole Miss and most recently was a defensive coordinator for Memphis University. He has also been an assistant at Ole Miss, Southern Miss and the University of Michigan.

“President Brown is dedicated to creating a new Alcorn and together we, not I, will lead the Braves to victory,” Hopson said. “We are all purple and gold and I am proud to be an Alcornite.”

Vicksburg mayor Paul Winfield celebrated the University’s decision and Dr. Brown’s vision for a great Alcorn. “Vicksburg supports Dr. Brown, Coach Hopson and the Alcorn family. We believe in the president’s vision and Alcorn’s future. Vicksburg is here to assist Alcorn anyway we can.”

Videographer: cameraguy06

Alcorn has become the first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) school to name a non-black as Head Football Coach.

Dr. Brown said “The future for Alcorn football is bright and I am excited that Coach Hopson will lead us forward.”

Brown also informed the crowd that Coach Hopson's application included an extensive statement on APR – a critical marker for post-season eligibility and student-athlete graduation rates.

Coach Hopson stated that “He believes in Dr. Brown's vision for this university.” The newly appointed football coach's first order of business is putting together his staff and getting acquainted with the team.

Hopson is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi and was a four year letter winner as a defensive back at the University of Mississippi 1988-91. During his matriculation at Ole Miss, he was named to the Academic All-SEC four times, and was also a member of the CoSIDA District VI Academic All-America team in 1991.

He received a Bachelor in Business Administration from Ole Miss and a Master's in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Delta State University.

As a coach, he received All-American Football Foundation Top Assistant Coach honor in 2007. Coach Hopson brings experience from Marshall, Delta State, Southern Mississippi, Michigan and Memphis.

Alcorn State will open the 2012 season against Grambling State in the Port City Classic on September 1, 2012.

For photos of today's press conference, please click on the link below.

Jay Hopson Press Conference Photo Gallery:  Photos Courtesy of Mike Jones


CFL's Roughriders name guest coaches for training camp

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Canada - The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to welcome a group of guest coaches to the 2012 Training Camp beginning June 3rd at the University of Regina.

Cheston Blackshear joins the Riders after spending the last three seasons at the University New Mexico working with the Offensive Line and Tight Ends and has nine years’ experience coaching at the collegiate level. Blackshear entered coaching after an outstanding playing career at the University of Florida where he was a four-year letter winner (1996-99) with 28 career starts at offensive guard. He will work alongside Offensive Line Coach Kris Sweet.

Jeff Cummins is the head coach of the Acadia University Axemen. In his seven years at Acadia, Cummins has captured back to back AUS Football Championships (2005, 2006) and was named AUS Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Following his graduation from the University of Oregon, Cummins played six seasons in the Canadian Football League with stops in Las Vegas, Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton where he captured the 1999 Grey Cup with the Tiger-Cats. Cummins will work with Rider Coach Mike Walker and the Defensive Line.

Richard Kent spent the 2011 season with the United Football Leagues Omaha Nighthawks. Kent comes to the Riders with over 20 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels. Previous to Omaha, Kent spent the 2009 season as the secondary coach with the Toronto Argonauts. As a player, Kent was a quarterback and receiver at Appalachian State from 1979-81. Kent will spend time with Special Teams Coordinator, Craig Dickenson and Linebackers Coach, Alex Smith.

Ben Norton guests with the Riders after spending the 2011 season with the UFL’s Hartford Colonials where he filled the triple role of offensive line assistant, special teams assistant and offensive quality control coach. In addition, Norton has over 17 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, working mostly with offensive linemen. As a player, Norton was a four year letter winner at Stephen F. Austin State in Texas and was a member of the team that played in the 1989 NCAA FSC national championship game. Norton will spend time working with Running Backs Coach, Bob Dyce as well as Coach Kris Sweet and the offensive line.

Jamie Stoddard joined the University of British Columbia in 2010 as a Receivers Coach. Before getting into coaching Stoddard enjoyed an impressive nine year professional career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a non-import wide receiver. While with Winnipeg, Stoddard had 191 receptions and amassed 2,808 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Stoddard will work with Receivers Coach Jason Tucker.

Ted White joins the Riders from Howard University where he is currently the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach. From 1994-98 White attended Howard where he is the Bison and MEAC all-time passing leader and total offense leader with almost 10,000 yards during his productive collegiate career. Following that, White played professionally for five years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also had stints with the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe and the Montreal Alouettes. White will join Coach Khari Jones working with Rider quarterbacks.

Current imports from HBCU on the Roughriders active roster are:

1. Patrick Brown, WR, Bethune-Cookman
2. Jalil Johnson, DB, Jackson State
3. James Patrick, Safety, Stillman College

Monday, May 28, 2012

Prairie View A&M and Grambling State, like Texas and OU, will also play at the Cotton Bowl through 2020


DALLAS, Texas - But the council also has some voting to do: It’ll be asked to sign off on issuing $25.5 million in debt to renovate the Cotton Bowl, which council has already indicated is a done deal — in large part to keep Texas and Oklahaoma’s Red Rivary Rivalry at Fair Park through 2020. And, as Rudy noted Friday, that too has been wrapped up, thanks in large part to Pete Schenkel, who got the schools to sign on the dotted line on behalf of the State Fair of Texas.

The schools will each receive $500,000 a year to play in the Cotton Bowl — an amount OK’d in ’07, when Texas and OU signed their most recent agreement that ramped up payments leading to this year’s game. Per the council’s recap: The schools received “$125,000 each in 2007, $425,000 each beginning in 2008 through 2011, and $500,000 each beginning in 2012 through 2015.”

One thing not noted at the end of last week: Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M University have also agreed to stick around till 2020, though at a greatly reduced price. They’ll each receive $75,000 to play at the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic, the same amount the teams have been receiving since their respective $25,000 checks were upped to $75,000 in 2008. (No word on how much the marching-band members get — though it should be a lot, since they’ve long been the game’s most featured attraction.)


Sunday, May 27, 2012

NCAA penalizes Grambling for academic performance

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- Joseph Price didn't have to wait long to learn the specific challenges he'll face as Grambling's new men's basketball coach.

Walter Harrison, the NCAA Division-I Committee on Academic Performance, notified Grambling President Frank Pogue on Friday of the committee's decision regarding the Tigers' Academic Progress Rate-related penalties.

Grambling announced Monday five sanctions that include limited practice, a shortened season and a reduction to 10 scholarships.

The Tigers played the 2011-12 season under the third phase of APR penalties, including a postseason ban and reductions to both its schedule and available scholarships.


Grambling State's Coach Patricia Bibbs Press Conference

Texas Southern barred from postseason play

Houston, Texas – Texas Southern University announced Friday that the football team has been barred from postseason play for the 2012-2013 seasons due to falling short in fulfilling an NCAA graduation rate requirement.

The school disclosed that when the NCAA releases its annual Academic Progress Report (APR), it will show the football program failed to meet the required average score over the most recent four-year evaluation period for graduation rates.

Last month, representatives from Texas Southern met before an NCAA committee and learned the football program had received a four-year average score of 811 out of 1,000. The NCAA standard rate is 930. Because of this, the football team is ineligible for postseason play, and that includes the SWAC Championship Game and NCAA Division I FCS championship.


CIAA honors WSSU programs, coaches

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina - CIAA officials presented Winston-Salem State officials with the Loretta Taylor Women's All-Sports Trophy and the C.H. Williams Men's All-Sports Trophy on Thursday at the conference's annual coaches-of-the-year awards luncheon in Newport News, Va.

WSSU won conference titles in women's cross country, men's basketball, softball, baseball and football and had second-place finishes in men's cross country and men's and women's tennis. Winners of the trophies are determined by a points system tied to finishes in conference championships.

Individuals from WSSU who were honored were athletics director Bill Hayes, associate AD Tonia Walker and coaches Connell Maynor (football), Inez Turner (women's cross country), Kevin Ritsche (baseball) and LaTaya Hilliard-Gray (softball).


Edmonds, Murray Spark Falcons To Third-Place Tie In D-II Track Championships

PUEBLO, Colorado – Led by Josh Edmonds (Soph./Jacksonville, Fla.) and Ty'reak Murray (Soph./Portsmouth, Va.), the Saint Augustine's College men tied for third in the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships late Saturday (May 26, 2012) at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl on the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus.

Edmonds claimed the 200 meter dash and was the anchor runner on the winning men's 4x400 meter relay team while Murray won the 110 meter hurdles for the Falcons, who tied Western State with 54 points. Adams State outscored Lincoln (Mo.) 77-73 for its first team outdoor title. Adams State joined Saint Augustine's College and Abilene Christian as the only three teams to win the NCAA D-II men's outdoor crown since 1982.

On the women's side, Grand Valley State held off Lincoln (Mo.) 90-79 for its second consecutive team crown while Adams State was third with 59. The Saint Augustine's College women tied for 17th with 14 points.

The participants competed in 90-degree temperatures with fierce wind gusts as high as 30 miles per hour and more. The weather was an impact, but Edmonds and Murray withstood the winds to become national individual champions.

Edmonds entered the championship meet as the top seed in the 200, and he didn't disappoint. His blazing start led to a career-best finish of 20.28. He scored 20.5 points for the Falcons after winning the 200, placing second in the 400 (46.38) and running the anchor leg on the winning men's 4x400 relay team.

Edwards passed Akino Ming of Johnson C. Smith near the finish line to give the Falcons the 4x4 victory in a thrilling finish between the two CIAA schools. The Falcons ran a winning time of 3:07.15 and Johnson C. Smith was second in 3:07.32. The Falcons' relay squad included Kelly Fisher (Sr./Tinton Falls, N.J.), Jason Boyd (Sr./Willingboro, N.J.) and James Quarles (Soph./Washington, D.C.).

The win on the final event of the day gave the Falcons 10 points which moved them into a third-place tie with Western State. It also prevented Lincoln from tying Adams State for the national crown. Lincoln needed the win to share the men's title with Adams State. Lincoln finished third in the relay.

The 4x4 win continued a tradition of dominance for the Falcons in the event at outdoor nationals. St. Aug has won 19 national titles in the event which is by far the most in Division II.

Murray was the winner in the 110 meter hurdles in a career-best 13.60. The 10th seed in the event, Murray outran his competitors in the finals for his first national title. Gerkenz Senesca (Sr./Newark, N.J.), the top seed, finished seventh and the second-seeded Boyd was ninth.

In other races featuring St. Aug competitors, Kelly Shaw (Jr./Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) placed third in the women's 400 dash in 53.02 while Nicketa Bernard (Jr./Westmoreland, Jamaica), the 2012 NCAA indoor champion, placed ninth. The Falcons were third in the men's 4x100 meter relay in 40.67. The members of the 4x1 team were Ramaan Ansley (Jr./Philadelphia, Pa.), Quarles, Sean Stuart (Sr./Miramir, Fla.) and Murray. The women's 4x400 relay squad was second in 3:38.09. The foursome consisted of Jaiviaria Bacote (Soph./Paterson, N.J.), Bernard, Cherrisse Lynch (Fr./Bridgetown, Barbados) and Shaw.

In the men's 400 dash, Quarles was seventh. Ansley was eighth in the men's 100 dash in 10.35. DeJon Wilkinson (Soph./Summerville, S.C.) was 14th in the men's triple jump, and Andrea Powell (Sr./Richmond, Va.) tied for 16th in the women's high jump.

Ranked first in D-II entering the championship meet, the Falcons climbed up the men's standings after starting the day with five points. They scored 49 points on Saturday.

The top eight individual and relay finishers earned All-America honors. The times were wind-aided.

Women's Final Results PDF
Men's Final Results PDF
Men  Final Team Scores
Women Final Team Scores


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alcorn State to name football coach on Monday

LORMAN, Mississippi - Alcorn State's long search for a new head football coach will end Monday with an announcement at the Southwestern Athletic Conference university.

Alcorn State president M. Christopher Brown II will introduce the coach at a 3 p.m. ET news conference on campus.

The Braves program has been without a head coach since Melvin Spears Jr. was fired in February.  Alcorn State announced last month that the head coach would be named during the university's commencement week May 7-12, but did not follow through with an announcement.

Last month, four finalists were named by ...


Barlow finds home at Alabama State

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- For Reggie Barlow, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney is something of a homecoming. The head football coach at Alabama State, Barlow served as the Hornets' quarterback coach at the first challenge in 2005. On Sept. 2, Alabama State will represent the SWAC at the annual HBCU game for the first time since that inaugural game, facing off against the MEAC's Bethune-Cookman at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

"It's a huge game," Barlow said. "It gives our student-athletes an opportunity to have a bowl-like atmosphere and experience. I'm excited about having the chance to be part of it. I remember the first one, when we lost to South Carolina State; it was my first year coaching. That was a fun game to be a part of."

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge -- the annual HBCU matchup between the two conferences -- isn't the only big game on the Hornets' schedule. Every year Alabama State faces archrival ...


Jackson State University Prancing J-Settes Halftime Show Compilation 2008-2012


Jacoby Jones celebrity event to benefit XU Gold Rush again

XU coach Dannton Jackson, left, and Jacoby Jones
NEW ORLEANS — The second annual Jacoby Jones Celebrity Basketball Slam Jam, a fundraiser game for the Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball program, will tip off at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 1 at The Barn, Xavier's gymnasium.

Jones is a New Orleans native and a wide receiver with the NFL's Houston Texas the past five seasons. He signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month.

Additional NFL players expected to participate include former New Orleans Saints Robert Meachem and Tracy Porter. Also scheduled to participate will be NFL players Vonta Leach, Brice McCain, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jimmy Smith, Tyrod Taylor and Torri Williams.

The event will include a free autograph session from 5:45-6:15 p.m. and a performance by the Honeybees dance team.

"Last year's event was fun and quite entertaining," XU coach Dannton Jackson said. "I'm certain it will be just as fun and entertaining this time."

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Friday, May 25, 2012

John Montgomery takes Alabama State's golf team to new heights

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - After John Montgomery made history as a freshman by becoming the first Alabama State golfer to participate in the NCAA tournament, coach Gary Grandison had a brief talk with him.

"Western Kentucky was hosting the tournament back in 2009, and I knew they'd earned a bid to host again in 2012," Grandison said. "So I asked John to help me in making sure our entire team played that course."

Montgomery, now a senior, and the rest of the Hornets team gave Grandison exactly what he wanted: For the first time in the program's history, the men's golf team claimed the SWAC championship to earn a spot in an NCAA regional -- the one in Bowling Green on the Western Kentucky course.

Grandison, a Mobile native and graduate of Shaw High, guided the ASU women's golf team into the NCAA field a year ago.

"This proves that last year was not a ...


Alabama A&M volleyball: After SWAC setback, Brown high on recruiting class

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Alabama A&M had its streak of four straight Southwestern Athletic Conference volleyball championships snapped last season. The Bulldogs also lost three key seniors, including four-year starter Karensa Beckford, who was the league's Most Valuable Player last season in addition to being a two-time MVP of the league tournament.

While Beckford will be hard to replace, A&M coach Nedra Brown has restocked the cupboard with a recruiting class she believes will keep the Bulldogs among the league's best teams.

Headlining the group is former Lee High School star Kyanna Sales, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter.

"We're excited to have Kyanna," said Brown, who has struggled getting local kids to sign with A&M. "We're looking for her to contribute right away. She's smart, hits hard, reads defenses and she can serve and pass. She's just a good all-around player."

Robyn Hancock, who comes to A&M from ...


Thursday, May 24, 2012

George, Seals set to run at 2012 NCAA Regional

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - Southern track sprinters Tiffany George and Erich Seal will compete in the 2012 NCAA East Preliminary Round Track Meet in Jacksonville, Fla. May 24-26.

George, a Tulane transfer, posted a 11.55 in the 100 meter dash during the outdoor season. She is scheduled to run in Heat 5 during the first round of the 100 meter dash which is scheduled to begin at 6:55 p.m Thursday, May 24.

"Tiffany has changed sprinting at SU," said Southern head coach Brian Johnson. "She has become one of the nations best sprints in a short period of time. I am so proud to call her a SU Lady Jag."

Seal, a two-time winner in the 110 meter hurdles, ran a best time of 14.17 during outdoor. Seal is slated to run in Heat 2 of the men's 110 meter hurdles on Friday, May 25 at 5 p.m.

"Erich has taught me what having the will to win at all cost is," said Johnson. "He has made tremendous strides in two years of being here at Southern University."

To watch George and Seals run their respective heats live,  click here.


James "Shirt" Williams, '70s Gold Rush standout, dies

Feb. 6, 1953 - May 22, 2012
NEW ORLEANS — James "Shirt" Williams, one of the top 20 scorers in the history of Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball, died Tuesday (May 22, 2012) of heart failure in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He was 59.

A 6-foot-4 forward, a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Xavier (1975) and Booker T. Washington High School (1971), Williams played four seasons for the Gold Rush and averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 90 games. The Gold Rush were 71-30 during his tenure and won NAIA District 30 championships each of his first two seasons. Both those teams qualified for the NAIA National Championship, and the 1972-73 Gold Rush upset unbeaten and top-ranked Sam Houston State 67-60 to reach the quarterfinals.

Williams ranks 18th at Xavier with 1,179 career points. He grabbed 600 rebounds in his XU career and shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 69.1 percent from the line.

"Shirt was a warrior," said XU teammate Sammy Young. "He went full blast from the time he hit the court to the end of the game."

Williams averaged 11.1 points as a sophomore on a team which featured two future NBA players, Don "Slick" Watts and Bruce Seals. Williams caught a full-court pass from Watts and scored a layup with 40 seconds remaining to give Xavier its final points in a 79-77 victory at Tulane on Feb. 1, 1973, in the first meeting between the schools.

"That game meant a lot to us," Watts said. "We were small beans trying to get with the big boys."

Though Watts and Seals played professionally the following season, Xavier defeated Tulane again. Williams scored 14 points against the Green Wave at The Barn, and his basket started a 13-4 run during the final 4:15 to rally the Rush to a 61-53 victory on Jan. 30, 1974.

Williams is one of just two Gold Rush players of the past 39 seasons to lead the team in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage in the same season. Williams did it as a junior in 1973-74 when he averaged 17.9 points and 6.4 rebounds and shot 52.8 percent from the floor and 74.8 percent from the line. As a senior Williams averaged 14.5 points and 9.9 rebounds, both team highs.

At Booker T. Washington, Williams was a starter on basketball teams which were 53-2 his final two seasons. The Lions won a state championship in the Louisiana Interscholastic and Literary Organization when Williams was a junior in 1970, then lost in the semifinals of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class AAAA playoffs to Woodlawn of Shreveport (and future hall-of-famer Robert Parish) in 1971 after a 24-0 regular season.

Although BTW did not win a state championship in '71, The Times-Picayune newspaper in 2003 ranked the team among the 10 best in New Orleans history. Williams' BTW teammates included Seals, Greg Berniard and Ames Growe, all of whom signed with Xavier for the 1971-72 season.

"Shirt was every bit the All-American I was," Seals said. "Without him and everyone else on that team, I may not have become the player I was. Those teams were all for one and one for all, period.

"He was a funny guy. He was tough as nails. Indestructible. His passing makes us realize how fragile life is."

Watts called Williams invincible and, like Seals, expressed surprise at his death. "Shirt was like Wilt Chamberlain," Watts said. "I never thought either of them would go away so soon."

Watts also called Williams one of his best teammates. "Shirt was always happy, always having fun. He always found a way to make you smile and make things all right. I never got tired of talking with him.

"He was a tough man. He was Superman. If you got in a fight, you wanted him in your corner."

Williams was a longtime employee of Camelot College in Baton Rouge, where he worked in student services.

"Shirt never wanted anyone to hold a grudge," said Ronnie Owens, a BTW and Xavier classmate and longtime friend. "He always believed in moving on, moving forward. His final words in any conversation were, 'God bless you.'"

Williams was known as Shirt the majority of his life. "He wore a white shirt to school every day," Owens said.

"He was known as 'white shirt' until he got to high school," Seals said. "When he got to Booker T., the white got dropped."

Survivors include his wife, Gloria Levy Williams; a daughter, Enjolee; a son, Jarrett; one sister and three brothers. Four brothers preceded Williams in death. His funeral will start at 11 a.m. Tuesday (May 29) at Second Baptist Church, 914 North Acadian Thruway West in Baton Rouge (zip code 70802, phone 225-344-8743).

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Steelers RB Redman ready to carry heavy load

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — They don't celebrate NFL backups in southern New Jersey. Trust Isaac Redman on this.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers running back returned to his hometown of Paulsboro, N.J., during the offseason after his rookie year in the NFL in 2009, people just kind of shrugged their shoulders.

Three years later, things have changed. The overweight kid from Division II Bowie State who barely made the practice squad during that miserable first season is now the centerpiece for a running attack geared at taking pressure off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

And the fine folks in Paulsboro know it.


Kelly Merkel signs with Tennessee State

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Tennessee State University head women's golf coach Chris Seibel has announced that Kelly Merkel has signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play golf for TSU.

Merkel, a native of Columbia, Tennessee, considered several golf offers before committing to Tennessee State, according to the Columbia Daily Herald.

"For a long time, I have wanted to play golf at a Division I school," commented Merkel. "I'm really looking forward to playing for him (Coach Seibel) and continuing my education at Tennessee State."

Merkel advanced through the District 8-AAA tournament to the Region 4 tournament four consecutive seasons at Central High School. She qualified for the TSSAA State as a sophomore shooting an 82-83-165 at Old Fort (Murfreesboro) and again as a senior when she placed 10th behind a score of 160 (82-78) at Willowbrook Country Club.

In 2011 she was runner-up to eventual state champ of Lawrence County in the District 8-AAA tournament. She placed third in the Region 4 meet at Bear Trace Tims Ford in Winchester.

Kelly Merkel signs with TSU
Central golf coach Chris Lawson had this to say about Merkel: "Kelly worked extremely hard from a young age to develop her golf swing. She never missed any practices and was always ready to work. She showed gradual improvement in the maturity of her game and how she approached it every year."

Merkel also participated on the Tennessee Golf Association Junior Tour the past two summers in the 15-18 Masters Division and tied for ninth place in the tour's postseason state meet at the Cookeville Country Club.

Merkel was the low medalist in the Tennessean Schooldays Tournament at McCabe in Nashville last June, shooting a 68. She also received the annual Joanne Ramsey award for the Outstanding Female Athlete at Central and made All-District 8-AAA in softball for three consecutive years.

"Kelly will be a great leader for the women's golf program," said head TSU Chris Seibel. "She has proven that she can shoot low rounds and compete with other girls. I am excited to bring her in to start building this program to a competitive level in the OVC. I am glad to keep a good player like her in the Nashville area. She will be a top player in the OVC the next four years."



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's 7th heaven for Gold Rush in NAIA postseason poll

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana capped the best season in the modern era of its men's tennis program with a No. 7 ranking Tuesday in the postseason NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll.

The XU men (18-8), who maintained their school-record ranking from 15 days ago, are one of eight NAIA teams in the final top 10 for the second consecutive season. The Gold Rush were eighth a year ago. This is the first time since 2002 that the last rating occurs after the NAIA National Championship.

Xavier is in the top 10 for the 11th straight time, including all nine this season, and in 14 of the last 15 polls. It's the 41st consecutive top-25 appearance for the Gold Rush in a streak which began April 4, 2007.

Xavier justified its top-10 status by defeating then-ninth-ranked Point Loma Nazarene 5-0 Wednesday in the second round of the national tournament. That made coach Alan Green's team the first from Xavier in any sport to reach the national quarterfinals since men's basketball in 1973.

HEAD COACH: Alan Green (Xavier 2002), ninth season
NAIA Men's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses — records through end of season)
Rank Team Record Points Last
1 Oklahoma Christian (12) 20-3 312 3
2 Fresno Pacific 25-2 302 1
3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 20-4 292 2
4 Azusa Pacific 21-3 282 4
5 Auburn Montgomery 17-8 272 5
6 Vanguard 15-10 262 6
7 Xavier 18-8 251 7
8 Westmont 12-10 242 8
9 William Carey 17-5 228 10
10 Lindsey Wilson 19-6 219 12
11 Point Loma Nazarene 13-11 217 9
12 Concordia (Calif.) 9-13 205 11
13 Aquinas 26-3 187 13
14 Bethany (Kan.) 22-4 183 14
15 Belhaven 16-4 174 15
16 Cumberland 18-3 164 16
17 Campbellsville 19-7 148 18
18 Warner 13-5 137 17
19 Lewis-Clark State 11-9 131 19
20 Olivet Nazarene 15-5 126 21
21 Northwestern Ohio 19-7 114 20
22 Shorter 12-15 101 22
23 Webber International 15-7 88 23
24 Spring Arbor 24-3 73 RV
25 Our Lady of the Lake 7-7 69 24

Others receiving votes: Lee (Tenn.) 66, Pikeville 48, Biola 27, Hastings 16, McPherson 14, Bethel (Tenn.) 11, Asbury 11, Roberts Wesleyan 8, Northwood (Fla.) 5, Graceland 3, SCAD Atlanta 3, Davenport 1, Georgetown (Ky.) 1, Oklahoma Baptist 1.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Xavier Gold Nuggets in final top 25 for the 7th time in 8

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana climbed one place to 19th Tuesday in the postseason NAIA Women's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll.

It's the seventh time in eight seasons that the Gold Nuggets (7-22) appear in the final top 25 of the season. This is the first time since 2002 that the last rating occurs after the NAIA National Championship.

Excluding the 2005-06 season, when Xavier did not compete because of Hurricane Katrina, the Gold Nuggets appeared in the top 25 in 48 of the past 58 polls. They were no lower than 20th in the final three polls of 2012 after a stretch of 10-of-11 polls outside the top 25.

Despite their losing record, the XU women won an NAIA unaffiliated group tournament to qualify for nationals for the sixth time in eight seasons. They lost 6-3 to 15th-ranked Vanguard in the opening round a week ago.

Auburn Montgomery, which won the championship for the second straight year and the 11th time in 14 seasons, was a unanimous No. 1 for the sixth straight poll. The Warhawks were first in all nine polls this year. Embry-Riddle (Fla.), a 5-2 to loser to AUM in the championship dual Saturday, finished No. 2.

NAIA Women's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses — records through end of season)
Rank Team Record Points Last
1 Auburn Montgomery (13) 26-2 343 1
2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 23-4 332 3
3 Fresno Pacific 22-5 321 2
4 Oklahoma Christian 18-4 310 4
5 Azusa Pacific 18-4 299 5
6 Brenau 14-6 285 7
7 Concordia (Calif.) 15-8 274 8
8 Lindsey Wilson 17-4 269 11
9-tie William Carey 15-10 251 9
9-tie Point Loma Nazarene 16-6 251 6
11 Shorter 21-9 227 12
12 Southern Nazarene 13-6 226 10
13 SCAD Savannah 9-4 209 13
14 Lewis-Clark State 8-15 196 14
15 Vanguard 10-15 193 15
16 Indiana Wesleyan 25-5 179 16
17 Campbellsville 14-8 155 17
18 Westmont 7-11 148 19
19 Xavier 7-22 142 20
20 Lee (Tenn.) 9-7 141 18
21 Robert Morris (Chicago) 17-3 128 22
22 Martin Methodist 11-4 125 21
23 St. Thomas (Fla.) 5-4 93 23
24 Oklahoma Baptist 10-8 79 24
25 Marian (Ind.) 21-6 74 25

Others receiving votes: Northwestern Ohio 65, Davenport 42, Bethel (Kan.) 36, Nebraska Wesleyan 33, Webber International 26, Olivet Nazarene 20, Belhaven 14, Missouri Valley 12, Georgetown (Ky.) 10, Indiana Southeast 3, Milligan 1.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

ASU's fast four chasing NCAA glory

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Four members of the Alabama State women’s track team are looking for bigger accomplishments this weekend after leading the Hornets to a sweep of the Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.

Alabama State won the SWAC title in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, but the NCAA regionals present a steeper challenge for the conference’s top track athletes.

Tia Rolle qualified for both the 200-meter dash and as a member of the Hornets’ 4x100 relay team. Her performance this weekend could also land the Bahamas’ native on her country’s track team in the upcoming Olympics.

“I just take it one step at a time,” Rolle said. “I’ll go this weekend and give it everything I’ve got, and hopefully it’s good enough to take me further. I feel pretty good. During the season, we competed against Auburn, we competed against Penn State, we’ve competed against the majority of the schools we’re going to face this weekend.”

SWAC Women's Championship: 4X100m
Finals 1 Alabama State 'A' 45.03 1) Pope, Jasmine 2) Rolle, Tia 3) Tavernier, Asha 4) Lee, Latrice 2 Prairie View 'A' 46.52 1) Hill, Keely 2) Dixon, Myesha 3) Turner, Raven 4) Moody, Terracia 3 Southern 'A' 46.86 6 1) Parker, Kayante 2) George, Tiffany 3) Doucett, Janessa 4) Sims, Jazzmin


In the FCS Huddle: Ten FCS receivers to watch

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The prototypical receiver has changed in the last decade with wide receivers taking on tight end height and tight ends taking on wide receiver speed. The ones who have both traits are especially lethal.

The Football Championship Subdivision will feature such receivers this season.

Elon senior Aaron Mellette headlines a contingent of 10 FCS receivers to watch (OK, we've thrown in a tight end to make it 11) and only one of them stands below 6-foot-2.

Yes, it's a group that sizes up well.

Following are FCS receivers to watch this season:

Xavier Boyce, Norfolk State, Sr., 6-4, 220 - The Virginia Beach, Va., product took the MEAC by storm last season after transferring home to Norfolk State from Virginia Tech, catching 68 passes for 750 yards and four touchdowns. He has an ability to break tackles and make yardage after the catch, especially on screen passes. His size doesn't just come up big in the passing game, he uses it well in run blocking.


Hampton again seeking CAA affiliation?

HAMPTON, Virginia - Might the Colonial Athletic Association respond to the loss of a member located in Hampton Roads by considering another university from the same area?

Hampton University has belonged to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference since 1995. HU president William R. Harvey in the past expressed interest in the CAA, which is losing state schools Virginia Commonwealth University (in July) and Old Dominion University (in 2013).

Harvey, HU's president since 1978, approached the CAA about membership when the Pirates elevated to Division I in the mid-1990s. The CAA opted not to invite HU then, or when the league expanded to include Towson, Delaware, Drexel and Hofstra for 2001-02.