Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
So Long Comegy, but you’ll return to the gridiron (sooner than you think)
NEW ORLEANS, La - Rick Comegy, the Pennsylvania native son who spent 16 years as a head football coach, 10 of them in Tuskegee, Alabama and the SIAC, joined seven other comrades who, for an assortment of reasons, lost their posts. Of all of the head men I’ve covered, the Tuskegee games have grabbed my attention. Comegy was busy building and winning and is credited with creating a winning atmosphere that was passed right along to his successor Willie Slater.
And I think that, depending on his own thinking and plans, you may just see him on a gridiron near you.
Comegy is a good coach; no, a great coach. His record reflects it. When he got
the news his contract wouldn’t be renewed by Mississippi Valley come the 2018 season, he finished his career (for now) with a record of 177-125-2 But look a little closer and you’ll see that he made the most of the posts he commanded.
After his two rookie seasons at Cheyney University in his home state were winless, he accepted a spot piloting the Marauders of Central State University of Ohio and ran up a 26-4-2 record and a Division I NAIA national title. The next stop was Tuskegee University where he compiled a record of 90-26 in 10 years and in one patch between 1998-2002 went 52-7, won 3 of 4 SIAC Pioneer bowl post-season contests and in 2000 went undefeated and that year Tuskegee was named National HBCU football champ.
Rick’s big ambition, one he and I discussed off the record after the 2000 season was getting a shot coaching at the Division I level. He even tried to get a committee going to persuade the SIAC hierarchy to establish a two-tier conference to provide agreeing schools in the conference to play at the D-1 level while continuing to allow other football-playing schools to remain at the D-2 level. He also quietly interviewed for several Division one openings, including Norfolk State (after NSU announced his signing, Comegy reportedly changed his mind and returned to Tuskegee).
He eventually fulfilled his dream and was hired by Jackson State in 2006, spent eight seasons with the Tigers and compiled a record of 55-35 overall and 49-19 in conference. He captured the eastern division of the SWAC six of his eight years with the Tigers and won the SWAC title outright in 2007. There are still questions raised to this day about why JSU kicked Rick to the curb after posting an 8-4/7-1 mark and winning their 6th SWAC eastern division title.
If a school decides to take an interest in Comegy and closely examine what caused a man with his kind of record to fall like he did in Ita Bena, they’ll put him back on the gridiron PDQ.
SIAC HOOPS: Morehouse College seems to getting off to one of its best starts in memory. The Maroon Tigers, led by Grady Brewer, now in his 12th season, is 5-0 and all but one of these five victories came on the road. Trailing Morehouse in the conference is Benedict with a 6-0 mark followed by defending conference champ CAU AT 5-1 as of November 24th.
In the west, Lane College is first at 1-1, followed by Lemoyne-Owen and Spring Hill with identical 2-2 marks.
In the women’s ledger, Albany State is in first place in the east currently with a record of 3-2, followed by CAU with a 2-2 mark and Claflin in the east with a mark of 1-3.
In the west among the women, Spring Hill is off to a great 2017-18 with a mark of 4-1, followed by Central State at 3-2 and Miles with a third place 1-2 record….
XTRA POINTS: INSIDE is in New Orleans this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wife’s family and to cover, as I’ve done since 2008, the Bayou Classic. This 44th contest is a crucial one for both Southern and Grambling. The “G-Men” are hoping to qualify for another SWAC title bid versus Alcorn ( and again, pronounce it ALL-CORN) State in Houston, Texas and then return to the ATL to face North Carolina A&T in Celebration Bowl III. I’ll be absent from the Superdome this year. No credentials were issued for Patsy, my longtime photog and right arm in the press box. Many who know me know that I don’t cover any athletic contest without her. ………..
Good luck to both teams.nonetheless. I do think that this year, Grambling is going to drop this contest and Southern will make it to the SWAC championship and make their first trip to the Celebration Bowl. I do plan to be live and in person at Atlanta’s new Mercedes Benz stadiume….with Patsy.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net