ATLANTA- Thirty seven years ago, Atlanta native Richard Dent left the confines of his Atlanta home in southeast Atlanta’s Kirkwood community to an unpredictable fate as a college football athlete at Tennessee State University in Nashville. But on March 27, 2013, Dent returned to his high school alma mater Murphy (now Crim) High school the conquering hero.
At a special ceremony at the school, Dent accepted a “Hometowner Hall of Fame” plaque sponsored by the NFL Hall of Fame and Allstate. It will be on permanent display at the school.
For over an hour, school officials, former classmates and Dent’s former high school coaches applauded and humorously chided their protégé as a standing room only crowd soaked in every word.
“Richard never forgot his high school alma mater,” said Henry Adams, a school counselor and head basketball coach during Dents’ years at Murphy/Crim from 1975 until graduation in 1978. “Whatever the school wanted or needed in supplies and equipment, he was there to help,” said Adams. “I only regret that Dent’s mentor and head football coach, William Lester is not here to share this moment.” Lester passed away in 2011.
Remembering his mentor during remarks brought tears to Dent’s eyes. “Coach and his wife Charlotte were so good to me,” he said between sobs. “I can remember when I moved from Fulton County to Decatur I found a person (Lester) who really wanted to help me move on in my life. For two years, Mr. Lester would give me a ride home and when he couldn‘t do it , he got his wife to do it. Charlotte, I owe you so much.”
Although starting his athletic career late (in the 11th grade), Adams said once Dent got going, ”there was no stopping.” He lettered in three sports but a next door neighbor and classmate urged him to focus all his attention on football. He began as an offensive lineman until his coaches recognized his speed and agility and quickly moved him to defensive end, a position which brought him fame and attention at TSU and in the NFL. Interestingly, the Atlanta Falcons passed up on Dent in the 1983 draft saying at the time he was “too small” for their needs. Mike Ditka, then the head coach of the Chicago Bears, took Dent in the 8th round of the draft and the rest is pro football history. He became one of the league’s most feared sackers (his career total was 137) and was named MVP of Super Bowl XX. After 11 seasons with Chicago, the four time All-Pro played with the San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and closed out his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2011, Dent was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At Super Bowl XLVII in February, Dent presented the Vince Lombardi trophy to the winning Baltimore Ravens.Richard Dent (C) poses with former high school coaches
“Giving my acceptance speech at the Hall of fame to me wasn’t that tough.” he said at the March 27 ceremony in Atlanta. “Speaking here is harder because this is where it all started for me. People in this room helped shape and guide me to get what I wanted in my heart as someone the community looked up to, your family appreciated and to go and make something of your life. And to you young people in the audience from Atlanta public schools, this is your world. What you want out of it, think about what you want, put a stake in the ground, and then go after it. “
Dent was also presented a proclamation from Atlanta City Council member Natalyn Archibong declaring March 27 Richard Dent day in Atlanta.
Dent is one of three known former student-athletes with the Atlanta school system to hold super bowl rings. In fact, Carlton Williamson, who played at the former Brown High, now Brown Middle School, won two rings as a defensive back with the San Francisco 49ers from 1981 to 1987. Jamal Lewis, a product of Frederick Douglass High School, played for the Baltimore Ravens from 2000 to 2006 and helped the team win Super Bowl XXXV in 2001.
Looks like the date of the 25th Atlanta Football Classic put on annually by the Atlanta chapter of 100 black men of American has changed. According to South Carolina State’s 2013 football schedule, they will play their annual mix with the Aggies of North Carolina A&T here as the classic on October 5, a week later than AFC’s usual date on the last weekend of September. Officials with the 100 couldn’t be reached for comment on these new developments. Sources whispered to INSIDE that the game came close to being a bust for 2013 when the 100 couldn’t come to terms with last year’s opponents Southern and Florida A&M. There was reportedly also some grumbling about having FAMU return without their world famous marching 100 for a second year. Last year’s attempt at a halftime show without the band didn’t appear to go over well with the fans and attendance for last year’s event dropped from the 2011 classic. The looming question now is how many seats can this new amalgam fill? This is not the first classic appearances for the Bulldogs but is for the Aggies…………
XTRA POINTS: My sources on the campus of historic Tuskegee University tell INSIDE that there was more to the resignation of ex-Athletic Director Patric Simon than just for “personal matters.” I’m told pressure from Tuskegee alums in key places forced current President Gilbert Rochon to accept Simon’s resignation. ….SimonWhoever was responsible for making out Tuskegee’s 2013 football schedule should frankly be taken to the woodshed. The Tigers released their slate several weeks ago and it is a wonder to bemoan. Willie Slater’s cats will spend the first six weeks on the road and won’t perform in Cleve Abbott Stadium until October 19 against Stillman. The Golden Tigers, in fact, will be on the road for seven of their ten week slate. Their first three outings (on the road of course) against Alabama A&M, Albany State ( here in Atlanta at the 2nd Inner City Games) and defending national black college champs Winston Salem State will test the meddle of the Goldens………..Did Sonny Liston throw his return match with Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight crown in 1965? Paul Gallender, author of the book “ Sonny Liston-The Real Story behind the Ali-Liston Fights (Park Place Publications) says Liston was forced to take a dive, and claims proof through unimpeachable sources. He devotes 27 pages of his 275 page work to prove it. He also says Liston was unfairly maligned in the media of his day and is actually a lot more compassionate that depicted……Terrance Mathis, a former Atlanta Falcon and of late offensive coordinator for Savannah State University, has stepped down after two years. Head coach Steven Davenport will assume those duties…Reports are Alabama State University may pick up three former players from the University of Alabama dismissed from that school reportedly for disciplinary purposes.
ATLANTA- The city of Atlanta and historically black colleges nationwide will have something extra to be thankful for around the Thanksgiving holiday this year when the HBCU Tip-off Classic come to town for its debut November 7 at Phillips Arena.
This event will mark the first time in the 14 year history of the arena, which houses the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Dream, that an event will be held of this magnitude under their roof.
In the past, Phillips has in the past hosted one HBCU event when Clark-AU and Morehouse tangled on the prestigious hardwood.
The Tip Off Classic, brainchild of founder Kevin Clayton, who also heads JumpBall, a local sports-related organization pushing diversity and inclusion in college athletics, will feature eight teams from the country’s four historically black college athletic conferences. The bracket for the five day event will pit four Division II schools against each other and four Division I teams doing the same.. The only time Division I and Division II colleges will play each other is either in the consolation game or the championship. Clayton explained that notwithstanding the previous year’s champ, the tournament will feature seven other teams from the conferences, theoretically giving each of the nation’s HBCUs an opportunity to participate.
“The classic is designed for our (HBCU) schools to play in a competitive , first class event in a first-class arena to kick off their seasons, ”Clayton told assembled press at a kick-off news conference Tuesday, March 5 at Phillips arena.
In addition to noted celebrities present who are a part of the organizing committee including Wendy Davis, co-star of the hit TV drama Army Wives and a Jump Ball co-partner, the tournament lured as its ambassador NBA Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic player and coach Sam Jones, a graduate of North Carolina Central who played there from 1951 to 1954 and returned to play at NCCU during the 1956-57 season.Atlanta Tipoff Classic Press Conference’ve been involved with HBCUs all my life and it does my heart good to see our schools having this opportunity,” he said.
Bob Williams, President of the Atlanta Hawks and the Phillips Arena complex, said it’s a pleasure to be connected to a event which he says will provide “ a memorable experience for all the players, coaches, parents and fans participating in this first-of-its-kind event.
” A spokesperson for JumpBall and Atlanta based Hope-Beckham which is helping to market the event, said Morehouse College of Atlanta is the first of the eight teams selected. The other seven will be announced in a few weeks. Each of the eight teams will be financially compensated to play in the tourney and tickets, which will go on sale April 1, will be sold through the event and not the participating schools.
Proceeds from the game will benefit the 37 year old Morehouse School of Medicine, co-founded by Atlanta native and Morehouse College grad Dr Louis Sullivan, who was also Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Administration of former President George H. W. Bush.
Tuskegee has announced it is no longer participating in the Turkey Day football classic in Montgomery Alabama with Alabama State. A release carried in the Montgomery Advertiser attributed to the Tuskegee Athletics Department headed by Patric Simon, who has been at the job since July 2 of last year, noted in the first paragraph of the statement that the reason for the withdrawal was “to pursue more challenging opportunities for our football program (namely a shot at participation in the NCAA Division II playoffs). “
The statement says that 26 conference titles, eight national black college championships and a 61-34-4 overall record in games against Alabama State “have led the Department of Athletics at Tuskegee to seek higher goals in concert with our football program.”Simon
This is interesting since many of us were led to believe that the two teams would continue to play each other on a home and home basis and move the Thanksgiving game to a date that would not interfere with the deadlines to qualify for the Division II playoffs.
You may recall also that there was serious “discussion” in 2011 about the game and particularly the future site for it.
I’m also told by a reliable source that we haven’t heard the last of this.
Alabama State, meanwhile, will continue to play on Turkey Day against the Stillman Tigers. But how will that affect Stillman’s playoff status? Will they not be in the same boat that ‘Skegee just got out of? The Tigers have played brilliant SIAC football the last few years.
XTRA POINTS: Did you know that former Norfolk State President Harrison Wilson is the granddaddy of Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson? The younger Wilson got his athleticism honestly. His grandpa was a coach, doing a stint as Prairie View’s head basketball coach in the mid 1960s…
Florida A&M has released its 2013 football schedule and the Atlanta Classic usually played toward the end of September is NOT on the schedule. In lieu, the school has listed September 28, the usual date for the Classic, as “open”. Southern University, who has faced FAMU the last two years at the classic put on by 100 Black Men of Atlanta apparently won’t be back either. So, the question begs who will play in the Classic this year or will it take a season off.
INSIDE maintains this could be an excellent opportunity for the 100 to bring in a strong D-2 program (like maybe Winston Salem State) to face a D-1 program or invite another D-2 school (like SIAC defending champ Tuskegee). Both are excellent teams who enjoy huge fan support that doesn’t mind traveling.. Think about it.……..
James Speed, president and CEO of insurance giant North Carolina Mutual and Atlanta’s Capitol City Bank, founded and headed by Morehouse graduate George Andrews, have announced what they are calling an historic “strategic alliance” rarely created between black owned firms. It will essentially allow the two companies opportunities to offer a variety of services under one roof.” It will be like a one stop shop,” Andrews explained to INSIDE.
“We almost have to do this to expand, grow and compete in this growing global marketplace,” said Speed…….
There will be a second Inner City Classic in Atlanta this year. The game is part of an organization founded last year by metro Atlanta native and former NFL all-pro wide receiver Danny Buggs. September 14, Albany State and Tuskegee will mix at Atlanta’s Lakewood Stadium…
Speaking of Tuskegee, the Tigers and Willie Slater have a backbreaking schedule which keeps the Goldens on the road for 7 of their 10 game schedule. The hometowners won’t get to see TU at Cleve Abbott field until the Stillman game October 19.
Benedict men, CAU Women SIAC Tourney Champs for 2013 By Hal Lamar
ATLANTA- Benedict College’s men’s basketball team made it two SIAC tournament titles in a row Saturday, March 2 when they bested Morehouse College 68-60 before a surprisingly small crowd of 739 at the Frank Forbes Arena on the campus of Morehouse College. Surprising because this was Morehouse’s first time in the tourney finals since they won the whole shooting match in 2004.
The two Tiger fives split wins during the regular season. Morehouse won the first match 68-65 January 26 at Morehouse. Less than three weeks later on Valentine’s Day, Morehouse lost 77-70 to the Tigers in Columbia, South Carolina. Benedict College 2012 SIAC Men's Basketball Champions
“This (tourney win) was something they really wanted,” said Benedict’s nine year head coach Fred Watson.”When you got that will to win, nothing is going to stop you.”
The key to victory for BC, who at times trailed by as much as 8 points during the contest, was their senior 6-10, 295 pound center Marcus Goode, who scored on 8 of his 16 field goal attempts for 17 points but perhaps most importantly snatched 17 rebounds.
“ He knows he’s our horse,” said Watson. “ We ride him and when we need him, he comes through for us. He knew that at the beginning of the year.”
Morehouse, who came into the tournament second seeded in the conference’s eastern division, got to the finals via Kentucky State in a nail biting 66-65 win and then surprised West top seed Tuskegee 63-58 in the semi-finals .
” After the half we came out and executed like we wanted to (against Benedict), “ said Morehouse Head Coach Grady Brewer.” but wound up taking bad shots and turning the ball over. You can’t do that against a team like Benedict.”Brewer
Brewer once again got great performances from junior Darrius Williams who scored 17 points and snatched 11 rebounds and senior Andrew Nelson, who led all scoring for both teams with 20 points.
Benedict, ranked 18th nationally among Division II schools and sixth in the NCAA’s south region, awaits their opponent in this year’s first round of the Division II playoffs. Last year, Benedict lost 69-61 in round one against the region’s number one team Alabama-Huntsville. This year’s regional leader (as of February 27) was Florida Southern so Benedict could face them or second tier St Leo.
During the regular season, Benedict played Florida Southern and lost 77-70.
“ I feel comfortable going in,” Watson says. “ The thing with the region is, they have no familiarity with us. They don’t know us or see us like these (SIAC teams) do. But we’ll take our shot and prepare for them like we do anyone else.”
In the women’s bracket, Clark-AU’s Lady Panthers defeated Benedict’s Lady Tigers 75-58. It was the first trip to the finals for CAU and their first tournament crown since 1999 when they defeated Fort Valley under then head coach Angelyne Brown.
This was also the first conference championship win for Vanessa Moore since becoming head coach six years ago.
“ I’ve done a lot of things and so have my players, “ Moore said as she wept tears of joy, “ “I’ve been close but this is the first time.”
CAU, who finished overall at 17-10 and a conference mark of 12-4, entered the tourney as second seed from the eastern division. They enjoyed a first round bye into last Thursday’s quarterfinals where they defeated Claflin 67-63 and moved to semi-final action against Fort Valley where they held off an attempted Wildcat comeback to win 65-62.Clark Atlanta University 2013 SIAC Women's Basketball Champs
One of the Lady Panther’s lynchpins in the tournament was Conisha Hicks. She led all scorers in the championship game with 20 points. In fact, CAU had four of their ladies in doubles including La’Quisha Lewis, who bucketed 15 points and snatched 15 rebounds.
Hicks, who is a senior, said this when asked what was special about this season that might have been missing from last year’s team and certainly both the 2010 and 2011 campaigns when the Panthers were 4-25 and 8-19 respectively.
“We worked so hard, man” said Hicks, named the tournament MVP..” This (Benedict) was the team that knocked us out last year so this was really revenge. We got it. We did it tonight.”
”I only added two to three key pieces (to the roster),” added Moore. “but we had the maturity and experience and you can’t deny they are talented young ladies. “
CAU will now await their opponent in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The SIAC’s tournament winners receive an automatic bid.
“We can compete within the region,” said Moore. “We did it earlier in the season (they were 1-1 against ranked region schools. They beat 5th ranked Florida Tech 83-69) so we know what it feels like. We have the caliber of team to compete. We can do it.”
Morehouse President Wilson on CSSXTRA POINTS: Southern University, who won last year’s Atlanta Football Classic over Florida A&M , apparently won’t be back for a third year. According to Southern’s 2013 grid schedule, the Classic is not on it…... What does this mean? Many of Southern’s fans want to know and I do too. Calls to the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and to director John Grant haven’t been returned to INSIDE as yet…………
John Wilson , the newly appointed President of Morehouse College, was present and accounted for at the SIAC tourney and even got a chance to be seen and heard on CSS TV which carried both the women’s and men’s games..Meanwhile a friend of mine, Oscar Dilliard, a Morehouse graduate and student athlete, said that Dr Wilson told him some years ago when Wilson was enrolled on the campus as an undergrad that he would someday return as President. Wilson finished in the class of 1979....
By: Quanette Ford, Lincoln(PA) University Assistant Track & Field and Cross Country Coach
Life has a way of turning full circle. It has a powerful, spiritual way of allowing you to 'remember when' you were first inspired to dream big and to hope to one day have the opportunity to be significant enough to pass your experiences and knowledge on to others. It's a wonderful, almost tear-jerking feeling to sit back and actually realize you are living out your dreams, or at least beginning to touch on some of them. These were the things that went through my mind as I co-hosted the first 'Inspiring Women to Become Collegiate Track & Field Coaches Clinic' at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover, Maryland this past weekend.
My co-host, Michelle Latimer, Head Track and Field Coach at Bowie State University, and I were pleased with the number of participants that turned out on Sunday for the clinic. She and I were fortunate enough to attend “The Huddle” last summer, where we participated in a three-day limitless opportunity of learning, growing and networking with women from all over the country. L-R: Michelle Latimer, Keisha Thorpe and Quanette Ford
The Huddle was hosted by the members of the Alliance of Women Coaches, which is a group that was formed to provide professional development for women coaches, enhance their advancement, and to increase the number of women coaches in all sports, at all levels. After attending, we knew that it was imperative to share the knowledge with our peers in the CIAA and spread the inspiring messages we gathered during those three days in Atlanta, Ga. The conference office agreed and proudly sponsored our program. Along with me and Coach Latimer, we had two other speakers join us: Keisha Thorpe, USA Elite Track Club Vice-President, and Dr. Christine Handy Collins, Principal of Gaithersburg (MD) High School.
Although initially aimed at club, middle-school, and high-school track coaches, we found ourselves with an even broader audience than expected. The attendees included coaches, high-school and collegiate athletes, and master and elite level athletes.
One of the most resonating moments was hearing from a woman who has always been interested in coaching the sport, but had to put her dreams aside to raise and provide for her family. She was encouraged to know that it wasn't too late to pursue her dreams of getting involved with track and field. She was grateful to know that there are educational courses offered to help her to become more knowledgeable in the sport. We were able to spread our message to a mixture of women in ways and at levels that were applicable for all in attendance. As I sat back for a moment and listened to Coach Latimer speak, I thought to myself, “This is only the beginning!”
We thought of topics that would positively affect women who were on their journey to coaching at the collegiate level, and issues we wished we had been aware of when we decided to take the steps toward coaching in general. Topics discussed included what types of certifications to obtain, being a woman in leadership, and differences in recruiting & coaching styles.
Coach Latimer and I spoke after the event and realized we immediately had the same vision for the near future—we want to take the show on the road! We are going to reach out to other coaches in our conference and get them involved with speaking, as we travel around and continue to inspire and enhance the knowledge that was given to us.
My college coach, Chris Merli (East Stroudsburg University) once told me that life's not about making the money; that's a great perk, but once you find your passion—your true passion, you'll be happy. I've personally found it in coaching and I look forward to enhancing it by spreading the knowledge someone gave to me, to others.
ATLANTA- Two former outstanding student-athletes from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) will be joining other members of the Baltimore Ravens February 3 in New Orleans for Super Bowl 47.
JonesFormer Lane College standout Jacoby Jones and former all conference offensive lineman Ramon Harewood’s presence on the roster of the Baltimore Ravens provide the perfect birthday present for this conference which this year celebrates its 100th year of existence. The conference was founded in 1913.
This should also be a proud moment for both colleges which have had few of their athletes drafted by the pros.. In fact, Jones, a native of New Orleans Louisiana , is believed to be the highest (if not the only) draft pick in the school’s history when he was picked up in 2007 as the 3rd pick of the Houston Texans and the draft’s 73rd overall pick that year. He hung with the Texans until May of last year when he was signed by the Ravens. His two kickoff returns for over 100 yards, a punt return for a score and a key reception in the playoff game against Denver this season that allowed the Ravens to overcome a deficit, send the game into overtime and win 38-35, were key factors in getting the team to the 2013 Super Bowl.
Morehouse’s Harewood is a story within himself. A native of Barbados, HarewoodHarewood enrolled in Morehouse on the advice of a former assistant football coach, Michael Grant. He had almost never played football (well the American version anyway). The closest he got to a sport with an oval ball was rugby which he excelled in along with soccer (real football). He enrolled at “The House” on a four year academic scholarship majoring in applied physics and engineering (did you heard me?). His performance on the field drew attention from the scouts and especially the Ravens who visited the college several times. In the 2010 draft, they selected Harewood in the 6th round, the 194th overall draft selection and one of only two HBCU athletes selected that year. That’s not too shabby for a school with a principal focus on academics but which still managed to get three of its athletes drafted ( Neil Montgomery in 1973 and Alex “Sweet Feet” Percival in 1977).
FreemanBoth Harewood and Jones benefitted greatly from the coaching abilities and advice of current Morehouse pilot Richard Freeman. Freeman, an Atlanta native, was assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator at Lane from 2005-2007. He came to Morehouse in the early spring of 2007 at about the same time Harewood decided to try out for football.
In my last writing, I mentioned that a TV announcer covering the San Francisco-Green Bay playoff game which included former Morehouse student-athlete Jerome Boger as referee said something about Boger officiating the Super Bowl. When I inquired about that to the NFL, I was told by a spokesperson in an e-mail that they don’t choose the officiating crew until the week of the game. I speculate they do that to make sure there are no conflicts with officials working a game and being natives to a city where the two teams domicile, regardless of how innocent or coincidental it might be. The day following my speculation here, SBNation reported the NFL had announced that Boger would lead the officiating crew for this year’s Super Bowl adding one more person with ties to the SIAC to the roster of participants in” Nawlins”.
I know there will be a lot of media attention paid in New Orleans Super Bowl week about brothers Jim (49ers) and John (Ravens) Harbaugh facing each other as brothers in the Super Bowl. It reminds me of Super Bowl 41 in which former Chicago Bear Head Coach Lovie Smith and retired Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy squared off as the first two African head coaches in a Super Bowl. Dungy’s Colts won the game 29-17, making him the first coach of color to win the big dance….