Sky view of Savery Library on Talladega College’s campus. Photo courtesy of Talladega College.

TALLADEGA, AL – The Talladega College Board of Trustees authorized Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins to employ a consultant to determine the feasibility of reviving the institution’s football program. Trustees voted in favor of conducting a feasibility study during the institution’s spring board meeting.

Talladega seized the Black College Football National Championship in 1920 and 1921. While the institution’s illustrious football program was canceled 80 years ago, during World War II, the upcoming study may help usher in a new era of football for Alabama’s first private historically black college.

“The year 2021 marks the one hundred year anniversary of our historic back-to-back championship win,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College President. “Given the success of our academic and athletic programs; the recent growth and transformation of the college; and the myriad benefits of having a football program, now may be the time to revive our team. This could be great for the college, the community, and central Alabama. However, our decision will be based upon the findings of a formal feasibility study.”

Dr. Hawkins has extensive experience in bringing back a college football program. During his tenure as president of Texas College, where he served prior to beginning his presidency at Talladega, he successfully restarted the institution’s football program that had been shut down for 40 years. Texas’s football program is still thriving today.

Talladega Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin Jr., recently spearheaded a preliminary investigation to determine the feasibility of adding a football program. His committee surveyed employees and found that an overwhelming majority of Talladega’s faculty and staff are in favor of having a football program. Most employees believe a football team will increase student enrollment and retention; attract donations and sponsorships; and increase institutional pride.

“We are now moving forward with a true feasibility study. Adding a football program will affect community members so we want to hear their opinions. We also want to gage the opinions of our alumni and other stakeholders,” Dr. Burgin stated.

Talladega College Athletic Director Kevin Herod added, The possibility of adding football would only enhance our athletic program and bring new opportunities to the campus, the community, and the overall collegiate experience of our students.”

Shakayah Midgette, a 2021 graduate who served as student representative to the Talladega College Board of Trustees stated, “The ban would love to actually march at home games, and many students are excited about the possibility of attending football games on campus. School pride has increased a great deal, and I believe a football team would help it to increase even further. Football would attract new student as well as sponsors.”

Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program and constructed three new facilities – a 45,000 square-foot resident hall; the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center; and the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses Hale Woodruff’s renowned Amistad Murals. The 2020-2021 academic year was Talladega’s 3rd consecutive year for record enrollment increases. Talladega Is consistently listed among the best colleges in the Southeast and the top HBCUs in the nation.


(BLUEFIELD, WV) – On Sunday, August 16 Bluefield State College announced the addition of 12 new sports, in a matter of four months the Interim Director of Athletics, Derrick Price, and his administrative team have managed to hire five out of the seven new head coaches.

To achieve this task in a short period of time, the athletics department enlisted assistance from the campus community. Each hiring committee formulated its process to identify the unique characteristics of the coach that was needed for each individual sport.

To Kick off the new hires, Bluefield State was excited to announce Tony Coaxum as the Head Football Coach. Coaxum comes to BSC from the University of Northern Colorado where he was the special team’s coordinator and defense backs coach. Coaxum also coached for the Denver Broncos from 2015-2017 as an assistant special team’s coordinator, during which the Broncos won the 2016 Super Bowl.

Following Coaxum, Daulton Cooper was brought on as the Head Women’s Bowling Coach. Hailing from Dayton, Ohio where he studied education at Urbana University. During his time at Urbana, he finished in the top ten in the country every year including a runner-up finish in 2013-2014. He was also an Academic All-American 2013-2015.

Our next hire was the Head Wrestling Coach, Blaze Smith. Coming from the University of North Carolina Pembroke, Shade coached six Division II All-Americans, 1 Division II National Finalist, 18 Division 11 national qualifiers, 16 NWCA All-Americans, two Conference Championship Teams, and one Super Region II Championship team. Blaze’s wrestling career accomplishments consist of being a four-time Division II national qualifier, a three-time Division II All-American, and a two-time Division II National Finalist. He was also a two-time First Team All-Conference in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) and the ECAC Wrestler of the Year in 2015-2016.

Tumbling in from King University is the Head Acrobatics and Tumbling Coach, Olivia Kincaid. She was awarded National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) All-Conference in the Conference Carolinas and nationally ranked All-Academic Team in 2020. Kincaid is excited to lead the only Historically Black College Acro and Tumbling team in the nation.

Wrapping up the first wave of new head coaches is the Head Women’s Soccer, Scott Forster. Coach Forster will be joining BSC from Montana State University Billings. During his time as the Assistant Coach at MSUB the program become an academic powerhouse ranking 6th in the NCAA Division II for academic success placing 15 players as Academic All-Conference. Prior to MSUB, Forster guided the San Jose State Men’s club soccer team to the most successful season in their history with the capture of the West Coast Soccer Associations Open Cup. Academically Forster has completed his Ph.D. and Honors degree in Biological Sciences form the University of Exeter, UK.


About Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College is to provide students an affordable, accessible opportunity for public higher education. An historically black institution, Bluefield State College prepare students for diverse professions, graduate study, informed citizenship, community involvement, and public service in an ever-changing global society. The College demonstrates its commitment to the student’s intellectual, personal, ethical, and cultural development by providing a dedicated faculty and staff, quality educational programs, and strong student support services in a nurturing environment. For more information, visit

Pete Richardson answering media questions Tuesday (8/21) during a Southern New Conference about the first ‘Pete Richardson Classic.’ Photo creds: Bill Feig – The Advocate Staff

BATON ROUGE, LA – Southern University athletics held an news conference for the announcement of the inaugural Pete Richardson Classic that is set to take place on September 15 when the Jaguars host Langston for the home opener. Beginning this season, all future Southern football home openers will take part in the classic game.

According to an article by The Advocate, Southern’s athletic director Roman Banks said “In the honor of it almost a year in the making since I first proposed it – it is long overdue for a man of Richardson’s stature.”

From 1993-2009, Richardson won five Southwestern Athletic Conference titles, and his team was built on discipline, fundamentals and toughness – were routinely among the best in black college football, with four national championships to show for it.

Richardson is named the second-winningest coach in program history with a record of 134-62.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Banks said. “From an athletics standpoint, I promised I want to do more to recognize those legends for Southern University. It just happens to be a legend that’s personally close to me, but our fans more than anything, this is something they’ve wanted to see for a long period of time.”

SU will also honor Richardson’s 1998 national championship team at halftime, along with other former Southern players of his in attendance.

The school previously announced it is in the process of naming the field at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Richardson’s honor, but will likely wait until future classics as it works through approval.

Richardson’s former players can also purchase special packages for the classic. For a $100 donation, past Jaguars receive two tickets to the Jaguar Den end-zone suite, a parking pass, two drink tickets and food. Players will also be included in an on-field ceremony at halftime.

“Most times we speak about his overall record,” President Raymond Belton said. “But coach Richardson was more than just a coach to Southern University. He’s a shaper of men. His motto has been adopted by other coaches. He’s a humble leader, but one that really defines and epitomizes Southern University.”

Tickets for the Pete Richardson Classic will go on sale September 4 at the Southern University Box Office and online on Fans are asked to call 225-771-3171 for more details. The SU ticket office is located in the service entrance of FG Clark Activity Center.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Council of Presidents has announced that Dr. Charles McClelland will become the sixth SWAC Commissioner in league history since the conference began in 1920.

According to an official press release, McClelland has served the past 17 plus years at the helm of two SWAC member institutions – Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics at Texas Southern University since April of 2008 and the prior seven years as Athletics Director at Prairie View A&M University. McClelland will succeed the role from Edgar Grant, who has served the role of Interim Commissioner since December 31, 2017.

Chairman of the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Andrew Hugine, thanked Mr. Grant for his dutiful and steady leadership during the transition period. He further stated that the Council is looking forward to working with Mr. McClelland as SWAC charts a new course in athletic and scholarly excellence for the conference.

Among the job duties entailed, the Commissioner shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Conference and report to the Conference Council of Presidents & Chancellors of the member institutions. The Commissioner will work with the Council, Athletic Directors, and other key athletics administration staff of each member institution to create initiatives and strategies designed to achieve the mission and vision of the Conference.

“As a young person growing up in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, it’s a good feeling to be named commissioner,” said Dr. McClelland. “To have an opportunity to lead this conference in this era is overwhelming. I’ve been at Texas Southern University for 10 years and met a lot of friends. TSU is like family. I’m sad to close that chapter, but I’m excited to open a new one.”

A native of Jackson, Miss., Dr. McClelland earned his doctoral degree in higher education administration at Texas A&M University in 2001. A 1993 graduate of Prairie View A&M University, McClelland earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and in 1997 received an MBA from Prairie View.

McClelland’s extra-curricular affiliations include membership in the Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Lambda and the National Association of Black Accountants.

McClelland is a former member of the NCAA Leadership/Management Council. One of the highest ranking councils in the NCAA, the Leadership/Management Council is responsible for establishing direct general policy, the strategic plan for the NCAA and advises the board of directors on administrative bylaws and regulations.

He is also a past president of the Houston Touchdown Club and has served on the board of directors. Previously, McClellland served as chairman of the SWAC Council of Athletics Directors, a position he had held for 10 years.

McClelland is married to Ashlee McClelland and is the father of two sons, Cainan and Ashton and one daughter, Cooper.

PINE BLUFF, AR – On Tuesday, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) announced a $2.5 million gift from Simmons Bank for upgrades to the football and baseball athletics facilities.

According to a press release from the university, the gift is the largest in UAPB history and will fund a new football stadium scoreboard and turf, along with completion of the baseball pavilion at the Tori Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex. The stadium field will be renamed to Simmons Bank Field. The gift is pending UA System Board of Trustees approval at its May 23-24 meeting.

“On behalf of UAPB faculty, staff, students and alumni, I’d like to express our appreciation to Simmons Bank for its generous gift,” said Dr. Lawrence B. Alexander, Chancellor of UAPB. “This donation will directly benefit our student-athletics by assisting them in reaching and exceeding their athletic and academic performance goals.”

Simmons First National Corp., founded in 1903, is one of the largest financial companies based in Arkansas. Simmons Bank’s downtown complex is Pine Bluff’s tallest building.

“Simmons is honored to partner with UAPB to help students excel right here in our hometown of Pine Bluff,” said George A. Makris, Jr., chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corp. “There is nothing more rewarding for our bank than the opportunity to invest in our communities, especially in our young people.”

“We are grateful to Simmons Bank for its long-standing partnership with UAPB, and more specifically, this major gift will allow us to complete much-needed upgrades. These improvements will benefit our student-athletes and create a better fan experience during football and baseball games.”

The new Simmons Bank Pavilion will help to complete construction at the Torii Hunter Complex that opened in 2011. Hunter, a Pine Bluff native and former Major League Baseball player and five-time All-Star selection, previously donated $500,000 for the initial construction of the baseball and softball complex, the largest contribution to UAPB before the Simmons Bank gift.





About Simmons Bank

Simmons Banks is an Arkansas state-chartered bank that began as a community bank in 1903. Through the decades, Simmons has developed a full suite of financial products and services designed to meet the needs of individual consumers and business customers alike. Simmons is a subsidiary bank for Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), a publicly traded bank holding company headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. For more information, visit

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is an 1890 Land-Grant HBCU with a diverse student population, competitive degree offerings and stellar faculty. For more than 140 years, UAPB has worked to create an environment that inculcates learning, growth and productivity while affording a basic need to its students – a chance to advance. UAPB offers Certificate and Associates degree programs, more than thirty Undergraduate programs, Master’s degree programs and a Doctorate program in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are active in more than 100 organizations, an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Band, Concert Bands, Wind Symphony, nationally recognized debate team, award-winning theater department and accomplished athletic program.

Former UAPB head football coach Monte Coleman.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletics announced Monday that it would not renew the contract of current football head coach Monte Coleman when it expires on December 31, 2017. Coleman has served as head football coach for the Golden Lions since 2008.

According to a press release from the university’s athletics department, the Golden Lions went 40-70 in 10 years under Coleman, including capturing UAPB’s first-ever Southwestern Athletic Conference outright championship in 2012 with a 10-2 record. Since that championship season, however, the Golden Lions experienced consecutive losing seasons of 2-9 in 2013, 4-7 in 2014, 2-9 in 2015, and 2-9 this season. Director of Athletics Lonza Hardy Jr. said it was time to make a change and move the program in another direction.

“I thank Coach Coleman and his staff for the hard work they put forth over the years as he tried to build a formidable program at UAPB,” said Hardy. “We wish him all the best as he now looks to the next chapter in his career. As for UAPB, it was simply time for us to make a change and start the process of returning Golden Lion football to prominence.”

UAPB alumni were fiery over the continuous football losing steak and were seeking moves from athletic director Lonza Hardy Jr., with the potential of a new coaching staff in the change of a better program for the upcoming seasons. They took their anger, frustration, and thoughts to social media in hopes that the administration jerk in making adjustments.

A search commitment has been formed and has the goal of naming a new head coach prior to the start of the December holiday break. Until then, Ted White, offensive coordinator, will oversee the program. The assistant coaching staff will remain intact and continue the program’s recruitment efforts.

“Our search committee will identify and interview prospective coaches who are committed to the mission and vision of our University, the welfare of our student-athletics, both academically and athletically, and have innovative ideas and game strategies. We need someone who will put a premium on winning consistently,” said Hardy.

For any questions or concerns, please contact UAPB Sports Information Director Habtom Keleta at (870) 575-7949.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has awarded more than $3.1 million in grants to nine Division 1 schools to support academic programs that help student-athletes earn their degrees.

The recipients of the Accelerating Academic Success Program Comprehensive Grants (multiyear) include: University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff ($900,000), Morgan State University (887,700), and Southern University (900,000).

Recipients of Accelerating Academic Success Program Initiatives Grants (single year) include Alabama State Univ. ($63,600), Austin Peay State ($100,000), Coppin State ($85,000), Idaho State ($57,000), Norfolk State ($100,000) and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley ($87,460).

The grants help schools improve the academic success of their student-athletes. The goal is to support the schools’ efforts to meet the requirements of the Divisions l Academic Performance Program, which was developed to ensure schools provide an environment that supports educations while enhancing the ability of student-athletes to earn a degree.

“The impact of the Accelerating Academic Success Program has exceeded expectations and the reach has expanded far beyond the Academic Progress Rate,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer. “The program’s success is an illustration of the transformation that can take place when adequate resources are combined with creative and strategic planning.”

School eligible to apply for the program are non-Football Bowl Subdivision Division l schools in the bottom 10 percent of resources as determined by per capita institutional expenditures, athletic department funding and Pell Grant aid,

The comprehensive grants will be distributed over a three-year period and used to fund increased academic support services staffing and space; technology upgrades (software and hardware); career planning; professional development; and increased availability of summer financial aid for student-athletes.

Schools can request a maximum of $300,000 per year for three years. The participating schools are required to match grant dollars each year of the program, with direct funds and/or in-kind contributions. The school must commit a 25 percent match in the first year, 50 percent in year two and 75 percent in year three. Schools must match 20 percent of single-year grants.

The announced awards mark the fifth round of Accelerating Academic Success Program funding distributed by the NCAA.