Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Big Break for Former Morehouse Assistant Grid Coach
Patience, hard work and the ability to put one’s nose to the grindstone can pay off big time and that is what happened for ex-Morehouse offensive line coach Brian Braswell. The Atlanta native (East Point) and former lineman at both Benjamin Banneker High and Hampton University has been hired to join the staff of Cincinatti Bengal Head coach Marvin Lewis as an assistant offensive line/quality control coach.
Braswell caught the attention of Lewis last spring and during training camp as he participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Internship Coaching program. At Morehouse, he wore a number of hats as offensive line coach under defensive coordinator George Copeland (Tennessee State), as run game coordinator, coach for the field goal and extra point teams and developer of strength programs. “ Brian is an energetic guy who finds ways to contribute and we’re happy to add him on for 2014,” Lewis said in a statement. “We’re impressed with the work he put in for us in the offseason and camp last year.”
Former Morris Brown athletic trainer Walter Smith is getting a crack at the silver screen. He is playing the role of a bow-tie wearing referee in a film about Muhammad Ali called “The Final Punch”. Smith, an Atlanta native told INSIDE his selection was accidental. He was taking his grandson to movie tryouts at a Shriner’s Temple in northeast Atlanta when approached by staff about taking the role of referee in the flick.” I refused about three times but they kept bugging me about it because the turnout for tryouts had been poor due to weather. I finally gave in and took the part.” Smith, one of the country’s most sought-after trainers, which he has done since the age of 13, has been in a similar role with the Georgia Tech baseball team for the last 29 years. For that devoted service, the school named one of its athletic buildings for him…….
James “Cannonball” Butler, a one time sensational running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was laid to rest late last month in Boynton Beach, Florida. Butler came to Atlanta in 1967 after spending three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their 15th round pick in 1963. He graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville Florida, and was cited by the school as one of its “most decorated athletes.” His number 24 at EWC is the only jersey retired. He spent four years in Atlanta from 1968 to 1972. Although most remember him for his fullback-like roughness with the oval, he is also remembered by many Atlantans as the owner of a popular nightspot called 200 South in southwest Atlanta. His relatives said EWC and his frat, Omega Psi Phi were among the closest to his heart.
The same year Butler came to the Falcons in 1968, the team made former Tennessee State great Claude Humphrey their first round draft pick and the third player selected in that year’s draft overall. In 1976 through 1978, I produced the Claude Humphrey Radio Show for station WAOK-AM and we became close friends. So it was with pride that this year, I watched the NFL finally see fit to induct the brother into the Hall of Fame. There are two people I wish Claude’s close friend, former Falcon tight end Jim Mitchell (Prairie View) and his wife/cheerleader Sandra could have been around to see this triumph. Humphrey joins Richard Dent as the second “Big Blue Tiger” elected to the Hall. Ceremonies are slated for August 2 in Canton Ohio. I wonder who will Claude select to introduce him?
XTRA POINTS; INSIDE has learned that the Atlanta Xplosion women’s tackle football team has changed leagues.They are now part of the Omaha Nebraska based Women’s Spring Football League. The switch was confirmed to INSIDE by league CEO Randall Fields. “Atlanta has four women’s tackle teams and two of them , the Xplosion and the Atlanta Heartbreakers are members of our league,” he said in a phone interview from Omaha. “The Xplosion joined us about two months ago.” He said there is also a possibility that the league championship for 2014 might be held in Atlanta. It appears the fourth women’s team in Atlanta is the Atlanta Rage said to have been created by former Xplosion longtime general manager-owner Mashonda Gilmore.
……Meanwhile, Atlanta’s other team , the Phoenix, say their tweaks during the off-season have developed them into 50 dedicated souls to the team and the sport. Last year, the Phoenix was 8-0 in the regular season and 2-1 in post season play. Somehow, after two tough playoff games last year against Tampa Bay and Miami, they went into third round play against the Chicago Force on the road and got creamed 84-0. How could that happen against a team that only allowed regular season opponents an average 7.2 points a ballgame?
They (Chicago) threw some ringers in on us at the last minute,” said General Manager and part-owner April Christler. She protested to the honchos of the Women Football Association she told us the league promised to invoke rules against last minute “roster adds”. The team meanwhile has changed home fields to Campbell High school in Smyrna Georgia and will began with a pre-season contest against the (Washington) DC Divas March 22 before their official season begins April 5th against Tampa…..
I nearly forget to render applause to the 2013 Atlanta Metropolitan College men’s basketball program. Among the more than 1000 two year colleges that sponsor field basketball teams in the USA, AMC’s 2013 hoop program was the nation’s 5th best All- Academic teams. Mind you, only five teams were picked from around the nation! Their head coach is Robert Pritchett (Albany State), AMC s first and only head coach since the school began playing b-ball in the early 1990s.
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