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Alumni group works to restore football at UMES

July 9, 2006

Last fall, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) announced an Executive Board decision that it was not feasible to return football to the Princess Anne campus "at this time". The decision was based on a Maryland University System policy that football must be a self-sustaining program and the Board's concern that without funds and a strategic plan, football was not a priority.

Following the announcement, a group met with a representative of the Board and the administration to determine what it would take, financially and strategically, to reinstate the football program. Following the meeting several UMES alumni and former student-athletes formed an organization called "Hawks for Football, Inc." (HFF) to help reinstate a competitive collegiate football program at UMES.

The group wants to raise funds, support the UMES Endowment Campaign and publicize the history of football which ended in 1979. Their mission centers around the theme “Return the legacy to its proper place. Football is Gone, but Not Forgotten.”

Recently, the late Coach Vernon “Skip” McCain was nominated for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. During his tenure at UMES, McCain had a record of 105 wins, 18 losses and 7 ties. Twenty-four UMES players played in the NFL or the Canadian Football League.

Probably the most notable UMES alum is Art Shell who recently returned to the coaching ranks as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. The eight time Pro-Bowl player and NFL Hall of Fame inductee was the first Black head coach in NFL history.

In 1968, the former Maryland State College, held the distinction of having more of its former athletes play in a Super Bowl Championship game than any other institution. Emerson Boozer, Earl Christy, James Duncan, Johnny Sample, and Charles Stukes, played in the game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts.

Joanne Johnson-Shaw serves as chairperson of HFF. The organization is now planning for a "Legends Banquet" to honor the past coaches and the 32 alumni who were drafted or pursued a career in professional football.

For more information about HFF and its activities, contact Hawksforfootball@msn.com.


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