Bethune-Cookman University has won its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Talmadge Hill Men’s Award ending a nine-year reign by Norfolk State. Hampton University Athletics won its 13th straight Mary McLeod Bethune Women's All-Sports Award.
The All-Sports Awards highlight the overall strengths of the conference’s men’s and women’s athletic programs. Each institution was presented with a $20,000 check during a reception at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.
“I would like to congratulate Bethune-Cookman University including President Edison Jackson, Director of Athletics Lynn Thompson, and the administrators, coaches, student-athletes and support staff for winning the 2014 Talmadge Layman Hill Award,” said MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas.
The Bethune-Cookman men’s program totaled 88 points and earned conference titles for the first time in Men’s Outdoor Track & Field and Men’s Golf. The Wildcats marked the conference’s first Men’s Golf Champion since the sport was discontinued in 1983, advancing to the NCAA Regionals.
Florida A&M finished second on the men's side (79.5), followed by Hampton (71) at third, N.C. Central (56.5) fourth and Maryland Eastern Shore rounding out the top five positions.
Points are awarded in a descending order beginning with 14 points for champions or first place regular season finishes. The second place team receives 12 points. Tied teams split the point total.
Hampton's women's programs tallied 98 points over the course of this past academic year, thanks to conference championships in volleyball, women's basketball, and indoor and outdoor track & field. The Lady Pirates earned the MEAC's automatic bid in both the NCAA Volleyball and Basketball Tournaments.
"I extend congratulations to Hampton University and President William R. Harvey, Director of Athletics Novelle Dickenson, and all of the outstanding individuals including staff, coaches and student-athletes who were involved in the women's programs winning the Mary McLeod Bethune Award," Commissioner Thomas said.
The women's basketball program won its fifth straight MEAC Tournament crown (and its fourth straight MEAC regular-season crown), while the track & field squad took home its third straight MEAC outdoor title and its fourth straight MEAC indoor crown.
The volleyball team won its first-ever MEAC Tournament crown after winning the MEAC Northern Division regular-season title for the first time in program history.
Florida A&M was second in the women's standings for the third straight year, while Norfolk State was third. Bethune-Cookman and Morgan State rounded out the top five.
The men’s All-Sports Award is named after the late Talmadge Layman Hill, a former player and coach at Morgan State, and former Chairman of the MEAC Steering and Planning Committee, as well as the conference’s first President. Howard University was the recipient of the first Talmadge Layman Hill Award in 1972. South Carolina State holds the men’s record with 11 awards from 1973-84.
The Mary McLeod Bethune Award, named after the founder of Bethune-Cookman College, awards the top overall women’s athletic program during the course of one full academic year. The first Mary McLeod Bethune award was given in 1987 to Delaware State University. Hampton leads all MEAC schools with 13 Women’s Awards.