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BALTIMORE, Md. -Twenty-six years ago Morgan State head volleyball coach Ramona Riley-Bozier returned to her alma mater to take over the Lady Bears’ program. After going winless in her first season at the helm, Bozier gradually began to put the pieces together and build a powerhouse and well-respected program.Ramona Riley-Bozier hsRiley-Bozier
During her remarkable career, Bozier has claimed five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championships, five MEAC Coach of the Year awards, four MEAC Tournament Most Outstanding Coach honors and guided three teams to the NCAA Tournament. Bozier’s 1997 team made history when it defeated Grambling State in an NCAA Play-In match, thus becoming the first Historically Black College or University to earn a trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament.
She has collected 10 20-plus win seasons and turned the Lady Bears into a dominant force in the MEAC’s North Division, as Morgan State won 88 consecutive division matches between 1994 and 2003.
This past Sunday (Nov. 3), Bozier, already the winningest head coach at Morgan State in any sport, reached yet another career milestone when the Lady Bears defeated Delaware State in four sets to give Bozier her 400th coaching victory.
“I am proud and honored that Mr. Leonard Braxton (former Director of Athletics) gave me an opportunity to coach 26 years ago. I never thought I would be still coaching here or anywhere else,” said Bozier of what reaching the 400-win plateau at her alma mater means to her.
“However, I am glad and feel very proud to watch more female athletes become Morganites.
“I am very competitive and I love to win at everything. Those periods when we had not so good seasons or just okay seasons, I think because this is my alma mater, I felt it was important for me to help the young ladies find another way to win, by graduating, starting their careers and getting involved on campus.”
Bozier, who entered this season 12 shy of 400 victories and ranked in the top-50 (43rd) of active coaches in wins, was unaware of the feat she was about to reach during Sunday’s match. So when Samantha Prescott tallied a kill for the final point of the match to give the Lady Bears their seventh win in their last eight contests, keeping her emotions in tact was easy.
“I really did not pay any attention to the 400,” said Bozier. “I had others who text me and those who were there at the match to remind me that was 400. I really did not have getting 400 on my mind. I knew it was important for us to win, which was going to help us get to the MEAC volleyball championship (MEAC).”
The last time the Lady Bears reached the MEAC championship was two years ago in 2011. That squad went 10-19 overall, but finished 8-4 in the MEAC North, good for second-place. Seniors Ngebui Chafeh and Janelle Wilson, who were sophomores that season and juniors Zuri Smith and Tamara Leslie, who were freshmen at the time, are the only players on the team to have experienced reaching the league championship.
Reaching the milestone has yet to set in with Bozier and probably won’t until after the season, as her focus quickly shifted to the upcoming regular season and home finale against Howard on Friday.
“Monday, one day after the 400 wins, that was the furthest thing from my mind,” said Bozier. “I am only focusing on trying to find a way to defeat Howard one more time this year to not only go to the MEAC Tournament, but also possibly move to a second-place finish in the north division. It would really take someone else to remind me of the accomplishment.”
There’s no denying that what Bozier has accomplished during her career has been remarkable and reaching 400 wins was just another addition to her long list of accomplishments.
In addition to her volleyball coaching responsibilities, Bozier, who also received her Master’s degree in sociology from Morgan State, also served as softball coach at Morgan for seven seasons. She recorded a 161-194 coaching record and guided the Lady Bears to their only appearance in the MEAC title game in 1999.
As an athlete, Bozier was a two-sport star in volleyball and track during her undergraduate days at Morgan State. A native of Kansas City, Mo., Bozier is one of 10 players in the history of the volleyball program to have registered 1,000 career kills.
On the track, Bozier was a key component of the Lady Bears’ record setting relay teams that turned heads in the national track community. A three-time All-American and a top performer in the MEAC, Bozier recorded personal-bests in the 100 meter dash (11.2) and the 200 meter dash (23.8). She became one of the top triple jumpers for Morgan with a career-best jump of 36’11 and still holds the UMBC Meet record in the 60 meter dash, which she set in 1983.
Bozier ran the first leg on Morgan State’s legendary 4X100 meter relay team which in 1986 set the school record in a time of 44.47 seconds, which still stands today. The squad also won the Penn Relays and finished second that year at the Division I National Championships.
Despite all her accolades as an athlete and a coach, she has been and continues to remain the same. It’s always been about her athletes and her next task at hand is getting this year’s team into the league tournament for an opportunity to play for a championship.
“You and those who know me know it is never about me. I always have my athletes in mind and wanting them to win,” said Bozier on what achieving the milestone means to her. “Them getting the win on Sunday helped them get closer to their individual and team goals, I just happened to achieve a milestone. I honestly didn’t know I needed 12 wins this year to reach an amazing accomplishment of 400 wins.
“I don’t coach to focus on personal accolades for myself. I like the focus to be on the student-athletes, who come early in the morning, play in pain; deal with classes and etc., which allows me to have a job. My personal accolades that I get excited about, is seeing my athletes happy with a win, then I feel that I have accomplished something. Getting 400 wins this year will not mean anything to me if we don’t get to the MEAC championship. I feel blessed that I have had the longevity to reach this milestone, however, I want more that consists of my athletes getting a conference championship.”


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