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Inside Hotlanta and The SIAC
March 22, 2006

by Hal Lamar
Onnidan Online Columnist

Hampton linebacker is 2007 Jake Gaither Winner

The 29th winner of the coveted Alonzo S Jake" Gaither award bestowed by the Atlanta based 100% Wrong Club went to Hampton University linebacker Justin Durant. The award was presented on Saturday, February 24 at the Wrong Club's 73rd annual all sports jamboree. Hampton head coach and AD Joe Taylor accepted on Durant's behalf. He was in Indianapolis at the NFL combine. " That is the only reason he isn't here, " said Taylor. Although I wasn't around when the Wrongers voted on this year's Gaither winner, I can imagine that most were impressed with the fact (among others) that Durant was defensive player of the year in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference for three straight years which is a conference record.

He is also, by the bye, one of five Hampton players invited to the combine. No other HBCU and few other colleges have managed that feat which is a testament to "ole black Joe" and his erudite coaching staff. Taylor was also named the Wronger college coach of the year, something that caught him by surprise.

"When I got the invite, I thought it was for being named conference coach of the year. I didn't expect this. I'm humbled."

The MEAC offensive player of the year was DeShawn Baker of South Carolina State University...

The Wronger national black college championship trophy went to North Carolina Central University. It was accepted on behalf of the school by the Eagles' new head football coach Moses Rison. Rod Broadway, the NCCU coach the last four years, was grabbed up by Grambling University as their new pilot....

Johnny Cole of Lane College was named the SIAC coach of the year by the club. His wide receiver, Jacoby Jones, was named offensive player of the year. Jones was also absent from the jamboree as he too was at the combine attempting to move to the next level of football.

The SIAC defensive player of the year was Alton Pettway of Albany State .

In the CIAA, Elizabeth City State head coach Waverly Tiller was named coach of the year, NC Central's Stadford Brown was offensive player of the year and Saint Augustine middle LB Kevin Jones was named defensive player of the year.

The coach of the year in the SWAC was former Morehouse College head man Anthony Jones who is now kicking like a wild mule at Alabama A&M University (they won the SWAC championship this year). SWAC players of the year were Chris Wallace of the University of Arkansas -Pine Bluff (where Mo Forte is kicking hard as head coach) and Texas Southern's Stacy Thomas.

OVEHEARD AT THE JAMBOREE: Johnny Cole told this writer that he was not among the list of possibles to succeed Terry Beauford as head coach of Morehouse College .He said the college was interested in his defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Rich Freeman.

When Grambling went shopping for a new head coach, they also tapped the shoulder of Alabama A&M's Anthony Jones. I don't blame them. AJ's a damn fine coach and motivator. With him and NCCU's Broadway's on the list, Grambling's president could have made the pick blindfolded and come out a winner.

Hampton's Joe Taylor is wearing two hats as head coach and interim Athletic Director. There were rumors he would leave the field and focus only on the AD's job . He nixed that but admitted holding down what amounts to two full time jobs is a challenge at times.

The Wrongers held a breakfast Saturday morning for high school grid superlatives and held a skull session before the awards were doled out. Wronger president Franklin Hill led the discusion and for an hour those young high schoolers got the real deal from coaches and guests about college, the game of life, the possibilities of pro football and what to aspect as they leave the ranks of the preps.

The young men also heard from Ken Hudson, one of the NBA's first African American referees. He, like the others who participated, was frank and honest. Ken, a graduate of Central State University, has written a book about his life called "A Tree Stump in the Valley of Redwoods".It's excellent reading.. The photos in the center of the book leave no doubt that Brother Hudson is a heavyweight.

The highlight of the evening was former South Carolina head coach Willie "Jeff Jeffries who toastmastered the event and had the crowd of nearly 1000 rolling in the aisles. My fiancée Patsy said Jeff missed his calling. " He should have been a comedian."

Morehouse College quarterback Reuben Dupree may enjoy the next step in professional sports as a baseball player. Dupree, honored at the Wrong Club jamboree along with Jonathan Hamm of Clark-Atlanta University, said several pro baseball clubs have asked about him including the Atlanta Braves. This would be a feather in the cap of the Maroon Tigers and Dupree. He is an Atlanta native and would join the late Mac Jones as a native son who played with Atlanta. Jones graduated from HM Turner High School in the ATL. He would also join Don Clendenon as a seecond Morehouse man to enter pro baseball. His former baseball coach, Morehouse AD Andre Patillo, was signed to the Braves organization after college and sent to the club's instructional league.

Got an item or comment?
Contact Hal at hrldlamar@yahoo.com

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