Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Is It ‘Skegee, Albany State again in 2015 SIAC Grid Championship?
MONTGOMERY Ala-According to the forecasters peering in at the 2015 football season for the 102 year old Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University and the Rams of Albany State University are not only the teams to beat but will return for the conference’s fifth championship game in Montgomery Alabama come November.
The announcement came during their annual media day in Montgomery, Alabama July 20. All but one of the head coaches showed up with assistants and some of their athletes in tow to talk about the upcoming season and what to expect. Of the 11 head men, one has switched colleges in the conference, two have returned to the SIAC and there is one newcomer.
James “Mike” White, a former Albany State player who spent six years with Seattle and Cincinnati in the NFL, who was the Rams head coach for 15 years is now piloting Benedict College. “ We wanted to go with a seasoned winner,” said Benedict Athletic Director Willie Washington.
Replacing White in ASU’s head coaching slot is Dan Land, a former Ram who was part of White’s staff last year. “ Mike left me a great squad for this year,” said the one-time Oakland Raider “and he built a winner here. I just want to continue with that.”
Also returning to the bosom of the conference is Derrick Burroughs, who left his head coaching slot at Lane College in 2013 to take a position with Jackson State University. Last season he was released by the Tigers under yet unexplained circumstances and returned to Jackson, Tennessee. He will serve as both head coach and athletic director of the Dragons, a position he desired, said Lane's sports information director and baseball coach Roger Ogden. Burroughs says he will devote a lot of time fundraising to bring Lane the resources it needs to bring a gridiron winner to the campus.
He is off to a good start. The school recently dedicated a new weight room thanks in great measure to retired Baltimore Ravens all pro Ray Lewis who earlier this year keynoted a “ dinner with the Pros” fundraising banquet.
The SIAC also welcomed in former Texas Southern assistant coach Kevin Ramsey as interim head coach for Clark-Atlanta University.
He was brought in July 13 without benefit of a spring practice and no recruiting time. With players not scheduled to report to campus until August 11, Ramsey has three weeks to acquaint himself with his squad and prepare for the September 5 season opener against the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee university…….on the road.
Perhaps one possible consolation for Ramsey is that the team only lost seven seniors and, according to the 2014 roster, 21 of the 55 players scheduled to return are juniors and seniors. He is also buoyed by the attitude of CAU‘s new president Ronald Johnson, himself a Texas Southern transplant, who suggested in a statement his patience with rebuilding the program. “Our goal is not simply to post a better record in one season. We are looking to build a comprehensive program that sets a new,higher standard in player training, education and safety within and across the HBCU competitive field.”
Meanwhile, things seem to be looking up for Richard Freeman and the Morehouse Maroon Tigers especially with increased scholarship help provided by President John Wilson. “ He is very much concerned about the state of our athletic program,” said Freeman.
“He’s come in and done a tremendous amount of things for our players, coaches, and the athletic director. We now want to thank him for this confidence by winning for him and the school.”
Morehouse opens 2015 season September 5 at home against Edward Waters College.
THE SIAC PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Central State (Ohio)
Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center has a new president. Dr Edward Wheeler is no stranger to Atlanta, having grown up in the city, graduated from its public schools and Morehouse College and at one time served as the college’s dean of the School of Religion. What a lot of people don’t know is that Wheeler also played football for Morehouse College during his junior and senior years. He once told me that he tired of sitting in the stands criticizing the team without doing something to make them better. So, he volunteered himself………….
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