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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

Clark–AU‘s AD now at Texas-San Antonio; Reports: CAU men's hoop coach ousted?

Tamica Smith-Jones, once the Athletics Director at Clark-AU, is now senior associate AD and senior woman administrator for the University of Texas at San Antonio. Jones, an Atlanta native, has served in various capacities within the Atlanta University Center at both Morris Brown and at CAU. She became the AD for the Panthers in 2010 after serving as interim and liason between athletics and the president’s office. Before getting the job at UTSA, she was rumored to be on the short of list of candidate’s for the AD’s job at Mississippi Valley  State University….Tamica Smith-JonesSmith-Jones

Meanwhile, unconfirmed scuttlebutt has two year Clark-AU basketball head coach Dale Brown headed for the college’s exit door. Last year, Brown’s Panther cagers posted a 4-22 overall mark and were 3-15 in conference play. It was good for last place in the conference’s eastern division.


The coaches, ADs, interested parties and nosy press like ole INSIDE assembled en mass Tuesday, August 6 at a Holiday Inn in northeast Atlanta for the SIAC’s annual media pre season football luncheon “do”.  The highly vaulted if not always reliable coaches poll selected the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University to finish first in the SIAC west . Last year, Willie Slater’s elevens  finished 2012 with a 10-2 overall mark and are the defending conference champs.  The Tigers will also get the opportunity to advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time as a result of dropping  their annual Turkey Day clash  with Alabama State. Slater told INSIDE that while intrigued over the prospects of his Goldens going beyond the regular season and another trip to the Pioneer Bowl or even the SIAC crown, “ The big challenge is to win and qualify first.” The Goldens open 2013 on the road against the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M, September 7…. The predicted finishers in the rest of the west are Miles, Stillman, Kentucky State, Lane and Central State of Ohio which joined the conference this year……Willie SlaterSlater

In the Eastern wing, Albany State is predicted to finish first after finishing 2012 with a 6-4 overall which included a rather shaky beginning. “They put a target on my back,” head coach James “Mike” White quipped to me at the luncheon before his formal spill before the hotel assemblage and others tuned in via internet streaming. The rest of the eastern field lines up with  Fort Valley  predicted to finish second despite the loss of their all-world quarterback Antonio Henton, Benedict with former Tuskegee assistant James Woody entering his second full year as Tiger head  is predicted to finish fourth behind #3 Morehouse and CAU, predicted to finish fifth.Doug Stewart - Rich FreemanDoug Stewart interviews Morehouse's Rich Freeman at SIAC Football Media Luncheon

Speaking of Morehouse, the Maroon Tigers are the pre-season pick to finish third by their peers in the Eastern Division rankings. while their AU Center contemporaries, the CAU Panthers break in a new head coach in former Tusculum assistant Kevin Weston.
Morehouse Head Coach Richard Freeman, beginning his 7th season , says his biggest worry is filling his quarterback slot but is encouraged by the number of junior college, transfer, and true freshman candidates reporting to camp. He also indicated that senior running back Shelton Hamilton will step into the shoes of franchise running back David Carter who was lost to graduation.  
“ We had a lot of injuries to key players last season and early in the season.” Freeman told the hotel gathering That partially explains the team’s  3-7 finish last year, Freeman’s first losing season. The Tigers open 2013 on the road September 7  against the Bison of Howard University in the third annual AT&T Nations Football Classic. Last year, costly turnovers cost the Maroon Tigers the ball game 30-29, the second loss in a row vs. the boys from DC.

The predicted last place finish in the SIAC east for CAU  wasn’t really surprising to Weston.  He told reporters and luncheon guests he plans to run his offense from the wing-T formation and kept a promise he made when introduced to the CAU family back in January that he would focus his recruiting locally.” We spread out over the metro Atlanta area and are bringing 25 local players to camp this year,” he said. “Our focus this year will be on fielding a disciplined, physical team which executes.” The Panthers finished 2012  at 2-8, good for fourth place in the SIAC east. They open on the road against West Alabama September 7.

Meanwhile, conference officials solidified the location for the third annual SIAC championship football game November 16 as Atlanta but were mum on persistent rumors that they were shopping to move that game and the SIAC basketball tournament to another city.

XTRA POINTS:The SIAC luncheon featured former Carolina Panther Tyrone Poole, who played corner for Doug Porter at Fort Valley. The internet streaming of the luncheon for the first time was made possible by a New Jersey based group known as Live U which provides “portable uplink solutions". Working the controls for the SIAC luncheon was Tracy Ham, a name not unfamiliar to football fans. He was a former star running back for Georgia Southern and was once head football coach at CAU. Visit his company at……..

Miles head Coach Reggie Ruffin and Greg Ruffin, the new head coach developing a football program for Augusta Georgia’s Paine College, claim they are not related….and then one of them said they were. It is possible that the ancestors of the two were part of the Ruffin “plantation” back in the day…..

The head coach of Central State, EJ Junior is best remembered for his exploits on the field as a player for the University of Alabama. But he says his roots are deeper than that in southern soil. In fact, he said his father, EJ Junior Senior worked for years within the bosom of the AU Center…

The planned resumption of the so-called Textile Classic between Fort Valley and Clark-AU which played for years in Griffin, Georgia reportedly fell through so the two teams decided to mix in Atlanta on September 23…..

Organizers had hoped to arrange a Tuskegee-CAU match to open their respective seasons as a tribute to 2013’s 100th anniversary of the SIAC. Tuskegee and CAU are the only two schools remaining in the SIAC who helped create the conference 100 years ago……

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