by Hal Lamar
Who finishes first in SIAC?…I’m going with Morehouse
As much as I hate to rain on the parade of Mike White’s Albany State Rams, I must disagree respectfully with the decision makers of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
They say that Albany State will reign as this year’s conference champs, dethroning Tuskegee University. I beg to differ. My pick to finish numero uno in this 80 plus year league will be…… Morehouse.
I am sure many of you , especially my friends in Dougherty County are screaming that I made this prediction because I am partial to the Maroon Tigers because I live in the city of Atlanta.
Again, I beg to differ with my detractors. If I didn’t think Morehouse could do any better that third in the conference, I would say so. But since he arrived back in his hometown almost three years ago, Richard Freeman has kicked behind at Morehouse. He took a team his first year that was predicted to finish dead last in the conference and took them to a 7-3 mark, good for a fourth place conference finish. Not too shabby.
He then returns his second year, goes 6-3 (conference) and finished second behind Tuskegee. Freeman and his coaching ensemble also did something that few of his predecessors could achieve last year by beating both ASU and Fort Valley in the same season.
“Free” as he is called by his peers, also has a secret weapon with quarterback William Brack .He didn’t start until mid-season but accounted well for himself as one of the major players in Morehouse’s last three wins and especially their upset homecoming victory over Albany State…
As for the rest of the pack in the SIAC, Albany State will finish second and Tuskegee third, a position they haven’t seen or felt for several years. I was ready to say that Fred Farrier’s Kentucky State team isn’t going to finish last, especially not after what I saw in a losing effort last season against Morehouse on the road (the Breds took the Marooners into two overtimes before losing). But now, he has received the axe, and been replaced by an interim just as summer drills are commencing. That changes things dramatically…..
The team which I predict has a better shot at cellar dweller status is Stillman College. I have said it publicly before and will continue to believe that they changed coaches too fast. Former coach Greg Thompson had led the team to two back to back winning seasons before the 2008 campaign and then was axed at the end of the season. Seemed to me the man had two of three winning campaigns and deserved a fourth shot to turn the corner. L.C. Cole, a capable coach, is in his first year at Stillman and that will mean getting the team he largely inherits adjusted to his coaching style. That will take him most of 2009. We’ll revisit him in 2010…
Likewise, Fort Valley has opened a new can of coach. It will take Donald Pittman a minute to get the Wildcats back on track even with a brand new stadium in Peach County. …Miles under coaching magician Billy Joe is kicking off his second season and will show more of what the Bears can do than last year plus surprise a few people. So will Benedict which in past years has given conference and non-conference foes alike fits. What is keeping them from turning the corner in the conference is a puzzler….CAU could finish better than fourth provided Ted Bahhur keeps control of the team and they finish stronger in the second half of 2009 than they did in 2008…..
Speaking of CAU, insiders tell me they have a walk-on gridder who is a 43 year old FRESHMAN!. I’m told that before you try and figure out why this man who is old enough to be the father of most of his teammates even bothered to try out, consider that he is an ex-soldier who is reportedly in superior physical condition. We’ll see. Bare this in mind, you are as old as you feel young. I recall a few back, a 73 year old grandma tried out and made the roster of the Orlando Mayhem women’s tackle football team. She was a defensive back and could hit!…
Is new SIAC commissioner Gregory Moore contemplating a move of the SIAC hoop tournament back to Atlanta? I hope so. Birmingham was a bust. I’m also informed he has made another significant move for the conference but I am sworn to secrecy not to reveal it for at least another week…….
Last month, the Albany daily carried an excellent feature story on SID Edythe Bradley. I didn’t know before the FAMU grad took the job she knew very little about what an SID did . But she kept her nose to the grind nose, learned all she could from whomever she could and has held down the spot now for 13 years……
While in Memphis, Tennessee August 1-5 for the 51st convention of the SCLC, I met Johnnie Watson, president of LeMoyne-Owen College. I shook his hand and told him I was proud to meet the head “Magician”. After looking rather puzzled at my expression, he thought about it and then busted a gut……If you travel to Memphis, check out a soul food bistro called Willie Moore’s on South 3rd. Now, outside is kind of shabby and inside is no imperial palace. The place wants for interior decorating and air conditioning but the food makes it all worth sweating for…….
On July 18, Grambling University inaugurated a legends banquet on campus to honor athletes of the past. Among those inducted initially was former Grambling president Ralph Jones who for years doubled as the school’s baseball coach. A local Atlanta product was also inducted. Charles Hardnett, known as “Charlie Red” by those of us who know him well, graduated from Atlanta’s George Washington Carver High School where he was an outstanding basketball star. After Grambling came a stint in the NBA and then back to Atlanta where he served for many years as head basketball coach and Athletic Director at Morris Brown. He left Atlanta a few years ago to take position with the parks and recreation department in Louisville, Kentucky……
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