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Clark new Fort Valley State football coach
Deondri Clark, who took over the football program at Shaw University one year after it was reinstated following a 23-year hiatus, has decided to leave to become the new head coach at Fort Valley State University.

Clark, 36, was introduced last week at FVSU as the replacement for John Morgan, who was abruptly fired a month ago after posting a three-year record of 21-11. Clark had compiled a similar 22-10 mark at Shaw since taking over from Greg Ruffin in 2003. Clark served as a defensive coordinator on Ruffin's staff in 2002 before becoming Shaw's head coach.

Under his leadership, the Bears finished 7-3 his first season before putting together their best mark in 2004, going 10-2, winning the CIAA Championship and defeating Tuskegee 30-28 in the Pioneer Bowl. The Bears fought major injuries and finished a disappointing 5-5 last season.

Clark will take over the reins of a program that has a winning tradition and has placed numerous players in the NFL. Last year, FVSU finished with a record of 7-3 overall and a 7-2 league mark, good for third place in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Wildcats had finished 7-3 and 7-4 in Morgan's previous years.

"The biggest challenge for me is the time frame," Clark said of assuming the position early in the summer. "When I took over at Shaw, I only had two weeks before the season started. So I'm not afraid of a short time span. It'll mean I'll have to work long hours." The 'Cats open the season on Aug. 26 at Clark Atlanta.

Clark becomes the 12th football coach in FVSU history. He was introduced at Thursday's press conference by FVSU President Larry Rivers.

Before coming to Shaw, Clark, a 1993 graduate of Florida State, was the defensive line coach at SIAC-member Benedict College in 2001-02. He had previously served as a graduate assistant coach at Michigan State (2000-01) and Central Michigan (1999-2000). He earned his master of arts degree from Central Michigan in 2003.

      A native of Winter Garden, FL, Clark was a standout defensive lineman for the Seminoles and legendary Coach Bobby Bowden. He played on four Florida State teams that won bowl games. His record as a Seminole was 42-7 and Florida State never finished less than No. 4 in the AP rankings.

Savannah State's bid to join MEAC on hold; Winston-Salem State to get vote soon
According to a published report this week in the Hampton Daily Press, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Council of Chief Executives delayed voting on the applications to join the conference of either Savannah State University or Winston-Salem State University at its recently completed meeting in Virginia Beach, Va.

The story says Hampton University President William Harvey, chairman of the council, said Monday that he will call for a vote on Winston-Salem at the council's next meeting later this summer. Harvey said that Savannah State 's application for admission to the MEAC was not considered Friday and will not be considered at the next meeting. Harvey said Savannah State's application has been put on hold.

Harvey did not give a reason for the hold on Savannah State and would not speculate as to when the council will vote on its application.

Harrison resigns as Bowie State track coach
The Bowie State University Department of Athletics has announced that Cross Country/Track & Field Head Coach Marc Harrison has resigned, effective June 14, 2006 to pursue another opportunity with the University of the District of Columbia.

"We thank Coach Harrison for his dedication and service to Bowie State and wish him the very best in his future endeavors," said Bowie State Athletic Director Derek Carter. "He did a fine job in developing an outstanding track & field program."

In five years at Bowie State, Harrison coached the Lady Bulldogs to the school's only CIAA women's outdoor track & field crown this season, upsetting national power St. Augustine's to take the title. Harrison was a three-time CIAA Coach of the Year. He helped guide 35 student-athletes to achieve NCAA Division II Track & Field All-American status during his tenure.

"This program was hard to walk away from considering the most recent successes, but I feel the time has come to bid farewell to the Bowie State family," said Harrison. "I will truly miss the program."

Five black college receivers among tops in I-AA
The Sports Network has named five black college receivers among the tops at their position in its annual review of NCAA Div. I-AA returning players.

Grambling State wideout Henry Tolbert tops the list rated fourth best in the nation. The 5-11 speedster hauled in 74 receptions from record-setting QB Bruce Eugene a year ago for 1,391 yards and 19 touchdowns. Tolbert's touchdown mark was second to only David Ball among receivers, and his 18.8 yard per catch average placed Tolbert in the top 10 nationally. He had at least one touchdown in 10 of 12 games, and topped the 100-yard mark eight times. In the Tigers' rout of Alabama A&M in the SWAC Championship Game, Tolbert had a career-high with 11 receptions for 284 yards and four touchdowns.

Mississippi Valley State's Tyrone Timmons is ranked just behind Tolbert. He notched 62 receptions for 1,059 yards in 2005, and became the first Mississippi Valley State receiver to notch 1,000 yards since 1986. Timmons, at 6-3, 210, is considered one of the top NFL prospects in the I-AA wide receiving class.

Eighth on the list in Alcorn State do-everything Charlie Spiller who averaged 21 yards per catch and tallied 38 receptions for 794 yards and four touchdowns last season. Spiller bolted for a pair of 100-yard kickoff return touchdowns and recording 163 yards and a touchdown receiving vs. Mississippi Valley State.

Florida A&M's Roosevelt Kiser also did double-duty as a kick returner last season but hauled in 64 receptions for 739 yards and five scores last season. Kiser, rated 11th best at wide receiver, was fifth in the nation in punt returns (16.3 ypr.).

Clyde Edwards, rated 16th, joins with Tolbert to give Grambling a potent 1-2 punch. Edwards had 54 receptions for 1,015 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

All-MEAC first-teamer Shaheer McBride of Delaware State is ranked 21st. McBride followed up an MEAC Rookie of the Year season in 2004 by hauling in 50 receptions and six touchdowns last season.

© 2006 Azeez Communications, Inc.