Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
SIAC Prez Council extends invite to Florida's Edward Waters College
I’ve covered the athletic events of the 106 year old, 14 member Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) since 1973 from the time they hired the late Walace Jackson as its first full time commissioner through its current chief Greg Moore . During that time , I cannot recall the council ever extending an invitation to a school o join the conference.
But, I have confirmed that such an invitation was extended to the Jacksonville, Florida based, 153 year old institution via an announcement on the black college website onnidan.com and through a phone interview with the school’s athletic director, Paul Bryant.
Bryant, who has been an AD at the Division I and II levels, was understandably flattered to death.
“To be invited in that fashion is great,” said Bryant, himself a relative newcomer to the campus. The formal announcement was also made July 9 at the SIAC’s annual football pre-season luncheon (which I missed again-damn!)
Ed Waters is currently a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAiA), a rule and policy-making organization which operates similarly to the NCAA (and which, by the way was the first of the two to admit HBCUs into their group in 1952. The NCAA didn’t open its doors to us until 1965).
There are miles to go, though, before Edward Waters sleeps in the bosom of the SIAC. To get in, they first have to get out of the NAIA and into the NCAA. That process could take many moons. Meanwhile, the school has scheduled a boatload of games with SIAC opponents to get themselves greased up good for eventual membership.
But the wait, will it be worth it to the conference and the school?
The SIAC hasn’t had a presence in the panhandle state for 41 years. The last members from the conference were Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M who had to make a move to a higher bracket from Division II to Division I when they joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in or around 1978. The conference will be in yet another city with professional athletics which could lend itself to a plethora of co-sponsored events. …Why do I get the feeling that inviting Ed Waters to the conference was the brainstorm of the council’s chair George French?......
GOODBYE TO “CHARLIE RED”-
I regret to inform some of you readers that we’ve lost a true basketball gem to the grim reaper. On July 9, cancer claimed the life of Atlanta native Charles “Charlie Red” Hardnett. After a brilliant pro basketball career, the ex-Carver High of Atlanta and Grambling College great returned here to coach hoops at Morris Brown College from 1984 to 1980. He also was carrying a heavy load as the school’s athletic director. Somehow, as I read over his career highlights, I felt a sense of regret that I didn’t give him all the respect he was due. I recall his leaving Morris Brown and working for Atlanta Parks and Recreation before departing for Louisville, Kentucky. If you want to read more about his accomplishments, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hardnett .......
Speaking of losses to Atlanta and black college sports, we recently lost Henry Earls, a great and popular athlete who played his high school sports at the former Henry McNeal Turner High school and Clark-Atlanta University. I can remember Earls once kicking a 45 yard field goal in the late 1960s . Somebody school me if I’m wrong on this, but I seem to remember Earls was left-handed (?)…….Finally, I said goodbye to a longtime friend since kindergarten , Gary Washington . Gary attended Turner High School and Morehouse College. He was an avid bowler and a hopeless fan of professional wrestling. He was also a civil rights warrior and especially when it came to union representation. Gary worked for Atlanta based Mead packaging so long, I began to think he owned the place.
Condolences to the Washington family.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net