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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Howard Football Coach Suspended By NCAA

It's been a long season for Howard University's football team, and now it will be without coach Gary Harrell, at least temporarily. The coach has been suspended for one game by the NCAA for minor violations, according to Jourdan Henry of Howard's Hilltop.
Assistant Ted White will lead the team against Delaware State in Harrell's absence. Howard is currently 1-7, including losses in all five of its MEAC games.

Harrell sat out last season for personal reasons.

Our Black College Football Hall of Fame Picks

In just one week, the Black College Football Hall of Fame is set to announce its 2015 class. The field has been narrowed down to 20 player finalists and five coaches/contributors. The list of finalists is loaded with Hall of Fame and All-Pro players. From that list, we've come up with the players we would select, if we had a vote.

Ken Riley, FAMU QB 

Riley was a freak-of-nature athlete that helped FAMU win national championships at quarterback. However, because of the climate for black quarterbacks in the NFL in the late 60s, he was switched to defensive back after getting picked up by the Cinncinati Bengals. All he did was pick of 65 passes during the run-heavy 1970s and 80s.

Riley later returned to FAMU as head coach, guiding his team to two MEAC Championships. As a guy who should have been in the Pro Football Hall of FAME a loooooooooong time ago, Riley is a no-brainer.

L.C. Greenwood, UAPB DE

An undervalued member of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense, Greenwood is another player that probably should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well. Sadly, he won't get to see his selection to either Hall of Fame, but he deserves to go in this year.

Ernie Ladd, Grambling State DL 

Ladd aka "Big Cat" was the type of talent HBCUs almost never get these days. As agile as he was big, Ladd was a 6'9, 315 pound defensive lineman that became one of hundreds of Grambling players to make the pros under coach Eddie Robinson. Ladd went on to have a stellar career in the AFL, making the All-Pro squad three times during his career and helping the San Diego Chargers win the AFL Championship in 1963.

Ladd later went on to become one of the first black pro wrestling stars as well.

Emmitt Thomas, Bishop College DB 

Bishop College no longer exists, but the legacy of individuals like Thomas will ensure that its name will live on for quite some time. Thomas wasn't drafted by either the AFL or the NFL, but eventually ended up signing with Kansas City as a free agent. Thomas helped Kansas City win Super Bowl VI by picking off a pass. For his career, the four-time All-Pro selection picked off 58 passes, which still stands as a Chief's record.

Thomas, who also won Super Bowl rings as an assistant with the Redskins, was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.


Richard Dent, Tennessee State DL

One of the last great players coached by the legendary John Merritt, Dent was a black college football legend before he ever set foot on an NFL field. Dent recorded 39 sacks and was part of a TSU squad that won three-straight Black College National Championships during his four years in Nashville.

The three-time All-American was drafted in the eighth round of the 1983 draft and became one of the cornerstones of a fearsome defense that helped the Chicago Bears claim Super Bowl XX. Dent went on to have a spectacular career, finishing with 137.5 sacks. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

W.C. Gorden, Jackson State Coach

Already a College Football Hall of Famer, Gorden is a no-brainer. The Tennessee State alum led Jackson State to the 1-AA Playoffs nine times while coaching JSU from 1977 to 1991. During that time, he had just one losing season.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's In A Name: GHOE vs. NOHOE

Anyone who knows anything about HBCUs knows they all take homecoming very seriously. North Carolina A&T may have more invested in their homecoming than any HBCU, as some alumni have trademarked the term GHOE (Greatest Homecoming On Earth). So when word got out that students at nearby Fayetteville (NC) State started using NOHOE (Number One Homecoming On Earth), a social media battle began.

Some of these tweets are funny, but is it really that serious?

Fallout From FAMU's Holmes Firing Continues

It's been a rough 24 hours in Tallahassee. Florida A&M's firing of Earl Holmes as head coach is making national headlines, and not just because they let the former NFL linebacker and former FAMU football star go.

Apparently, many people are upset with the timing of Holmes firing, including a former state senator who had some harsh words for the FAMU AD Kellen Winslow Sr.

Former Florida Senator Al Hanson slammed athletic director Kellen Winslow, Sr for firing Holmes during the school's homecoming week. 
During a meeting of the 220 Quarterback Club on Wednesday, Lawson called athletic director Kellen Winslow Sr. "disrespectful" and said removing Holmes during the week of homecoming was "wrong." 
"There's no one – not even in high school – that would interrupt homecoming," he said. 
"A competent athletic director would have called someone in ... he wouldn't have sent a letter."

Just for background, Lawson isn't just some politician throwing stones. He's a FAMU alum, and his name is on the school's brand-new arena.

From everything we know about the situation, from the way it went down to Winslow's alleged comments to FAMU's student-athletes, it looks like Kellen Winslow has made it a point to put his stamp on the FAMU program--for better or for worse.

Resume Check: South Carolina State

Earlier this week, we revealed our Power Rankings for the FCS and Division II football. Over the next few days, we'll take a deeper look at the contenders for conference crowns. Today, we take a look at South Carolina State. 

Record: 5-3 (3-1 MEAC)
Key Wins: Furman, NC A&T, Bethune-Cookman
Key Losses: Coastal Carolina, North Carolina Central
Remaining Schedule: Savannah State (11/1), @ FAMU (11/8), @ Morgan State (11/15), Norfolk State (11/22)

Body of Work: 

SCSU only put up three points against the same Coastal Carolina team that A&T outplayed a week earlier. Then it had to go to overtime to beat a Hampton team that isn't ready at all. Then it beat A&T with a freshman QB, but only managed 13 points. Then it got smoked--at home--by North Carolina Central. Then it beat a BCU team that has struggled with Grambling and D2 Florida Tech.

Biggest Question: Does SCSU have enough offense?

South Carolina State is an above-average defense, giving up an average of 22 points per game. The problem is, it only scores 21 points per game. And if you take away its 63-0 win over Benedict, SCSU is averaging just 16 points per game against Division I competition.

Verdict: SC State is good...not great

So, why do we have SC State ranked behind A&T and Bethune-Cookman, two teams that it has beaten?

SCSU's win over A&T came with freshman QB Hassan Klugh starting in place of an injured Kwashaun Quick. Having seen the team play with and without him, I can say with confidence that they are a different team with he and Tarik Cohen in the backfield. If the two teams met again, my money is on A&T.

While I'm not sure that Bethune-Cookman is that much better than South Carolina State, it does have an FBS win under its belt. Had SCSU won or even had a better performance in a loss against Coastal Carolina, perhaps I'd be persuaded to put them above BCU.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Earl Holmes' Departure Vine Is Painful To Watch

It's been a long day in Tallahassee. It started this morning, when FAMU's football press conference was canceled, and climaxed with the news of Earl Holmes firing. In between, there were hours of uncertainty and frustration.

When all was said and done, Holmes was gone. This Vine, taken by TDonline.com's Jordan Culver is pretty tough to watch. You can almost feel the hurt in his eyes after being fired from his alma mater after less than two full seasons.

Go Home Earl: Holmes Out As FAMU Coach

Less than two years after taking over the football program at his alma mater, former NFL linebacker Earl Holmes is out as FAMU head coach. Holmes firing comes days before FAMU's homecoming game against Norfolk State. Assistant Corey Fuller will take over head coaching duties.
FAMU dropped to 2-6 on Saturday after losing 40-21 to North Carolina A&T. Holmes record at FAMU stands at 6-16, with 2013 as his only full season as head coach. He originally took over on an interiem basis back in 2012 when legendary coach Joe Taylor suddenly retired in early November.
The FAMU were reportedly not happy about the firing. There had reportedly been some talk of a Grambling-style boycott, but despite a tense meeting with Winslow, that appears to have been avoided.

Earlier today, Holmes did not show up for a scheduled media event, while several of his players did.

Check back for more updates.

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About Me

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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.