by Hal Lamar
New Top Atlanta Cop was outstanding CAU Athlete
Thirty years before becoming an Atlanta police officer, George Turner, Mayor Kasim Reed’s choice to be Atlanta's next chief, was a cracker-jack corner back at Clark-Atlanta University.
Turner, born and raised in Atlanta, knows the city too well. He spent his formative years in the former Perry Homes public housing community of northwest Atlanta before moving with family to southwest Atlanta where he became an outstanding high school gridder at DM Therrell High school before recruitment to Clark-AU in 1977. His playing ways caught the eye of former CAU head football coach Jesse McClardy during a recruiting swing through several Atlanta high schools. “ He was a good athlete but moreover he was mannerable, focused and seemed mature for his age,” McClardy told INSIDE.” He represented the kind of kid we wanted at Clark.I knew other schools were after him too so I jumped right on it.”
He distinguished himself at CAU at corner, first making the all city team in three of his four years as a Panther. He was voted the most outstanding CB his last two seasons and in his senior year was named team captain and made the SIAC all-conference second team. He sought to take his talent to the next level with the Baltimore Colts. Failing that, he returned to Atlanta in 1981 and hired on with the Atlanta Polica Department.’I needed a job,” he often quips when talking about it.
McClardy said he is hardly surprised that Turner has gone from a slick-sleeve rookie cop to Atlanta’s top cop after 29 years of service. “ He was a team leader for me,” he said. “ He was smart, a quick learner, intelligent. I talked to him from time to time during his police career and told him he was going places as a cop.”
In 2003, the CAU Athletics Boosters Association enshrined Turner into their Hall of Fame.
Speaking of the Boosters Association, the august body of mostly former Panther athletes and supporters of the athletic program is celebrating their 22nd year of existence this year by regally honoring CAU coaching legend Leonidas S Epps. The well deserved tribute to Epps will take place during the Boosters’ 20th annual homecoming breakfast October 2.
This year’s event will also honor the 50th anniversary of Epps’ 1960 team. In keeping with that, the keynoter will be James Felder. The 1961 graduate was quarterback on the school’s 1960 football team. He joined the Army after graduation and made history while being seen by millions in November of 1963 when he represented his branch of service as a pallbearer (and the only African American) carrying the casket of President John F Kennedy.
The boosters will also establish a scholarship in the memory of booster founding member and graduate Betty Buchanan Barksdale, whose brother is former NFL all pro Junious Buck Buchanan, celebrated CAU football star Curtis Crockett of Henry County Georgia and Epps. For additional details, visit .cauboosters.com.
Later, I will devote a future column to the life and time of Epps who gave 34 years of his life to the cardinal and black, producing champions in every sport offered and often with a budget and resources slightly higher than the widows mite.
Still with the Panthers, the football team will open a new can of coach this year in Daryl McNeill and his inaugural season will be a big challenge. CAU will be on the road for the first four weeks of the season and they won’t be able to unpack until their October 2 homecoming tilt against Stillman. About the only solace to the 2010 season is that five of their final six games are at home…….
Morehouse College has added yet another sport to their lineup…fishing. Jim Austin, an Atlanta based angler with a strong national reputation and founder of the Southeastern Association of Black Bass Anglers (SABBA) says the success of his cable TV program “Fishing with Jim Austin” attracted the attention of some Morehouse students who wanted to create a club and compete with similar college organizations.
The Morehouse Maroon Tiger anglers appears to be the only competing club from any HBCU in the United States. Austin says he hopes their success will encourage other HBCUs to establish fishing organizations. Austin created SABBA several years ago to encourage greater participation in angling from African Americans. If you’d like to learn more about Austin, SABBA and fishing (and Austin DOES know his fishing), contact him at fishingwithjimaustin.com
The SIAC will roll out their coach’s pre season predictions for 2010 at their annual football media luncheon July 28. I’m anxious to see their 1 through 10 . INSIDE will also unfold its pre season top 10 which I will publish right after the luncheon. I will give you this much of a hint…my number uno will be a bit of a surprise.
Note: Special thanks for the CAU archival photos and help from Gay-linn E Gatewood-Jasho, director of Alumni Relations
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