Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
2012 Turkey Classic to be the last for ‘Skegee & Alabama State
If you’ve hesitated in the past about making the trip to Montgomery ,Alabama to watch Alabama State and Tuskegee tangle on Thanksgiving Day, do so this year because after 2012, the classic is coming to a screeching halt. When the gun sounds November 22nd it will end one of college football’s longest continuing rivalrys, dating back 89 years. This year’s finale Gobbler-fest will take place at Alabama State’s new campus stadium. It will also be the Hornets homecoming.
Julius Royals, an INSIDE operative and Tuskegee graduate (class of ’84) who is kissin’ close to his alma mater’s athletic program, said the change will now allow the Goldens to qualify for the NCAA Division II playoffs.
“This will also hopefully push the college into improving Cleve Abbott Stadium,” he said. “Many alumni feel it is imperative to attract more athletes to the campus (several years ago, knowledgables on campus told INSIDE that plans were underway with the state to do a once- over of the field). Last year, Royals with several alums and supporters created a committee and began a petition to encourage the relatively new president at the time, Dr Gilbert Rochon, to look seriously at moving the Goldens to Division I.
Recruitment should be on the minds of ‘Skegee administrators for good reason. Alabama’s list of football playing colleges is being increased this summer with Point University moving its central campus to Valley, Alabama. The Skyhawks, at one time known as Atlanta Christian College, will open its second year of intercollegiate football this year. Although an NAIA school , they will likely be beating the “Bama bushes for athletes as well as the other schools. Their 2012 schedule includes three HBCU opponents, Edward Waters on August 25, Concordia on September 8 and Lane College on October 13. Don’t be surprised if either ‘Skegee or Point approaches the other about a schedule come the 2013 season. After all, they are only a few miles apart.
Meanwhile as of this writing, we understand bright minds from both Tuskegee and Alabama State are looking at continuing the rivalry on a home-and-home basis, to be scheduled before the NCAA deadline to qualify for post-season play….
Former NFL wide receiver Danny Buggs of Atlanta says his proposed Inner City Classic in Atlanta hit a minor snag and forced them to scratch three high school grid games which would precede the big HBCU showdown between defending Pioneer Bowl champion Johnson C. Smith and Tuskegee University. Buggs says a major changing of the athletic guard for DeKalb County forced them to rearrange things. The show must go on, says Buggs. So they have now reached out to schedule a lone high school game pitting Tri Cities High against Benjamin Banneker High located in Fulton County, largest in the state.
By the bye, Buggs said Johnson C. Smith’s football team will be spending the entire week leading up to September 8 in Atlanta . Their campus is being used for housing and other activities in connection with the Democratic National Convention which will be in Charlotte that week.
It’s interesting that former SIAC school Alabama A&M, now a serious SWAC power, will be playing Auburn University in the final game of this years’ grid schedule as opposed to the beginning of the season when such matchups are usually played. Bulldog head coach Anthony Jones, a former Morehouse College head coach, says they aren’t phased about it. “We will have exhausted our schedule by then and hopefully have already qualified for the SWAC championship game ,” he told INSIDE.
The two schools have reportedly been attempting to arrange the mix for some time..Meanwhile, Coach Jones is holding his 2nd annual Golf classic this weekend at Huntsville Alabama’s Colonial Golf Course . Although the deadline for entering was May 23, Jones told INSIDE on May 30 that interested golfers can still enter. For details, call Bertha “Ms B” Bowers at 256-372-4014.
Thanks to a dear high school friend and fellow Vietnam Veteran M Morocco Coleman (North Carolina Central), I hooked back up with a childhood friend and body building sensation James McClain. For the last 28 years, “Mac” has been operating a Fitness center in southwest Atlanta. During a recent sit-down with the native Atlantan and Morris Brown College
graduate, he expressed his continued interest in helping people develop their bodies and their minds.” I want to also destroy the myth that bodybuilding and weight training is just for young folks and athletes,” he said. I have 80 year olds coming to my center. One man who comes here every week was recovering from a stroke. He can now use those limbs that were stricken. Conditioning is really all about the mind. Age doesn’t matter.”
McClain, who is deeply spiritual, is an example of what he preaches. The 70 year old who started pumping iron in the early 60s while a counselor at a local YMCA here in Atlanta, looks better than a man half his age. He is working hard now to get the word out about the importance of keeping the body and mind sound. “God isn’t through with me yet,” he says.
PS- My daughter Anita Marie Lamar, has passed the Georgia Bar!! The graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of law and is now licensed in both OK and GA, is practicing in Carrollton, Georgia with the Duke Law Firm.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net