Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Is the Atlanta Football Classic cancelled?
ATLANTA, Ga-Usually reliable sources which can’t be ignored have informed INSIDE that the 2014 version of the Atlanta Football Classic put on the last 25 years by the exalted brothers of the Atlanta chapter of 100 Black men is the last.
It’s a done deal…permanently.
Now, nothing would please me more than for chapter president George Lamar or some member in officialdom to call this writer and tell me that my sources are wrong and that the game will go on as it has been since I was humbled to work closely with the brethren and even broadcast the first game over 1380AM WAOK (did I mention that our broadcast crew consisted of me doing play-by-play, former NFL great Matt Snorten analyzing and Robin Roberts-yes THE Robin Roberts – doing sideline reporting?). But other “insiders” say not only is 2015 NOT going to happen, the 100 may be throwing in with the new “Celebration Bowl” (SWAC champ vs. MEAC Champ) scheduled for December 19 at the Georgia Dome………….
The beloved cities of Atlanta and Philadelphia lost a true champ in Ernest “ Broadway” Oglesby who went to his great reward on April 22. A memorial celebration was held in Atlanta at St Paul’s Episcopal Church on May 3. Oglesby’s friends here and in Philadelphia where he spent many years working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Leon Sullivan’s OIC were on hand to both chided and applauded the man some called “Mr O,” “the chairman” or “Broadway.”
Among the many things he did in his 83 years on this earth was coach the golf program at Morris Brown (he was one of the pillars of the National Negro Golfers Association). The stories his friends related at the memorial service drew roaring laughter, shouts of amen and tears; even from Father Charles Fischer, Rector of St Paul’s. “He was a model parishioner, and my brother. Ernest fought the good fight. He now stands on the shores of Beulah Land”………
Atlanta recently honored a former Negro League baseball star turned sportscaster Othello Nelson “Chico” Renfroe. Renfroe passed away from us in 1991 and now has a major Atlanta softball field bearing his name. A huge sign now greets visitors to the field located inside the city’s historic Washington Park on Atlanta’s West Side. You can read all about Renfroe, born in New Jersey, partly raised in Jacksonville, Florida but moved to Atlanta with family in the late 30s. He became an outstanding student-athlete in high school and at Clark-Atlanta University before deciding to get deep into baseball, his favorite sport. He achieved a modicum of success at it, playing with several teams to include the Kansas City Monarchs, teaming with eventual major league Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. After playing in the US and overseas for several years, he settled down in Atlanta, raised six sons, worked for the post office as a letter carrier, for the city with the Atlanta Community Relations Commission and as a sportscaster with two radio stations here. In the 1970s, he anchored FAMU football broadcasts over the multi-station Rattler Radio Network. This writer/broadcaster had the privilege of working alongside him at Atlanta’s 1340AM WIGO Radio. I remember many things about Chico and learned a lot from him about sports history and the importance of reaching out to youth which he did in abundance. But what I will always remember about him and think of often when I ponder my future was what became his signature sign-off for all of his broadcasts…. “The game of life is never over until the final whistle has blown”
XTRA POINTS: Kermit Blount has returned to the CIAA as a head coach. He is the new head man at Johnson C Smith University. Blount, a Winston-Salem grad and one of its greatest quarterbacks, is coming home after a stint at Delaware State University. Atlanta will get to see him in September when his Golden Bulls come to town to take on Morehouse………
Four players from HBCU schools were picked up in the 2015 draft and that is encouraging for me, especially considering only seven of our boys were picked up in the last five years. The last time a brother was picked up in round one from an HBCU was 2008 when Tennessee State corner Dominique Rogers-Cromartie became the 16th player selected. It happens that this year, the highest player drafted was a DSU Hornet, defensive tackle Rodney Gunter, taken in round four by Arizona……….
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net