Richard and Ryan Fauci are the second set of twins to make HBCU commencement headlines this week, joining Spelman’s Kristie and Kirstie Bronner as identical siblings earning their degrees from the same school on the same day. And like the Bronner twins, co-valedictorians of Spelman’s commencement, the Fauci twins will also enjoy a unique place in commencement day.
“The twins will both be headed to the USS Bataan in Norfolk, VA after graduation. The Fauci twins’ graduation and commissioning make them the second and third members of the Fauci family to walk the hallowed halls of PVAMU. Older cousin Lt. Robert Fauci graduated from the University and was commissioned in the Navy in 2007.”
Cynthia Cooper-Dyke could have been the missing piece to move the needle on national attention for historically black colleges and universities. Not just the women’s ranks – all black college sports.
And now, she’s leaving another HBCU, Texas Southern, for a dream gig at the school where she made a national name as a world-class athlete, the University of Southern California. It is the second gut-punch departure for Cooper-Dyke from a Texas HBCU. The first, Prairie View A&M University, she left as the greatest coach in the history of its women’s basketball program. There she delivered to the Panthers three regular season SWAC championships, two SWAC tournament titles, two conference coach of the year awards, and four straight NCAA postseason tournament appearances in either the national championship or the women’s national invitational tournaments.
This past season at Texas Southern, her first at the university, she captured the regular season championship and turned a 5-26 roster from 2012 into a 20-12, number one seed in the SWAC women’s basketball tournament. The Lady Tigers also appeared in the WNIT.
And now, the coaching legend who also earned the title of PVAMU alumnae during her journey, is gone again.
For as much as Cooper-Dyke has done for HBCU athletics and women’s basketball as a player and coach, it’s painful to consider that her stops at black colleges were only and always stepping-stones to greater opportunities. She is one of a literal handful of coaches, male or female, to move from an HBCU sports program to one of the NCAA’s power conferences with her return to USC, where she starred as an All-America guard and led the Lady Trojans to two national titles in the 80′s.
It is not to judge Cooper-Dyke’s defection back to California. As a competitor and proven program builder, it’s only natural to expect her to seek out and embrace the biggest challenges in front of the largest audiences. But within the black college ranks, she had an opportunity to help build a culture – a legacy that would have transformed conditions and perceptions about black college sports, black college student athletes, and black colleges as institutions of national importance and value.
She’s gone again. And probably for good this time.
On the day of the election, Brown, Barbour and current student government president Harrison Blair received information concerning cheating. According to allegations contained in emails and photos they received, students were obtaining others log in information to vote for them and were illegally campaigning in the Willie A. Tempton Sr. Memorial Student Center, University Village and other spots around campus.
The report says that a judicial board hearing will decide next week whether to allow the results favoring Demario Lowe as president-elect, Justin Warren as vice president-elect and Ivan Butler as comptroller-elect, or whether another election will be held between the three and protesting candidates, Jarrick Brown and Priscilla Barbour.
“As I told their coach before the game, if she hasn’t gotten a pay raise, she needs to find another job. She’s been to the tournament three straight years and that program had only been to the tournament two years prior to that. She’s done one heck of a job with her basketball program. Give those guys credit.”
For a coach who is among the best in the SWAC, men’s or women’s, that sounds about right. Clock is ticking, PVAMU.
As if HBCUs didn’t have a hard enough time keeping talent at home and away from PWIs, seedings for two black college basketball champions in NCAA post-season tournaments are making the run at local talent much harder.
Norfolk State University will face Virginia in the opening round of the men’s National Invitational Tournament tomorrow night in Charlottesville. The MEAC regular season champions fell in their opening game of the MEAC men’s basketball tournament to Bethune-Cookman last week, opening the door for one of the NCAA’s signature backhanded slaps to black college athletics – putting an HBCU in a bracket or an opening round game against a predominantly white regional counterpart.
PVAMU, a certifiable women’s basketball dynasty with its third consecutive conference championship, draws perhaps the greatest player in women’s college basketball history, with the game to be played in Waco. Coincidentally, this will be the second time in three years PVAMU opens against Griner-led Baylor.
Maybe the NCAA should just put out a notice to the MEAC and SWAC – “get your plane tickets and head to the closest PWI that draws a top seed in the tournament, because that’s where you and the best high school athletes deciding between an HBCU and a mid-major PWI are headed.”
But it could be worse – the NCAA could have resorted to it most devious and most common move of forcing the two HBCU conference winners to face each other in a play-in game.
“Major League Baseball would like to congratulate the four teams and all the student-athletes who will be participating in this year’s Urban Invitational,” said Frank Robinson, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development. “This annual event is an important and special opportunity for the sport to showcase the talent and skill level demonstrated by HBCU programs deserving of national attention. We are proud to work alongside the Astros organization to not only provide a wonderful experience for those playing the games on the field, but also offer opportunities away from the diamond for the Houston community.”
It will be the first time in the six-year history of the event that all participating teams will be from HBCUs. The invitational is part of a league-wide initiative to grow baseball awareness and talent in minority communities nationwide.
Courtesy of TSPNSports.com, here’s audio of Prairie View A&M football coach Heishma Northern from the most recent coaches conference call. At issue, Northern questioning the SWAC brass on how 398 passing yards, 170 rushing yards and five total touchdown’s didn’t earn his quarterback De’Auntre Smiley player of the week.
Mathieu, an all-America defensive back and special teams standout was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, and would have immediate eligibility if he transfers to an FCS program. Southern University is rumored to be off the radar for the New Orleans native, as he wishes to get out of Baton Rouge.
[mpoverlay]Courtesy: Prairie View A&M Sports Information
Fresh off of its 7-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship win over Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M received more good news with four players being named to the SWAC All-Tournament team.
Panthers catcher Evan Richard received his SWAC Tournament MVP award on Sunday, and fittingly he was also named to the All-SWAC team as a catcher. He went 5-for-13 (.385) with three RBIs, three runs scored and six base on balls during the tournament.
Sophomore James Fontenot was named to the All-SWAC team at short stop. Fontenot was only 2-for-14 at the plate, but he drew nine walks, had five runs scored and two stolen bases in the tournament. Fontenot also proved to be one of the more exciting defensive players to watch with a seemingly unlimited range of coverage and the arm to get the put outs at first or turn double plays.
[mpoverlay]Prairie View A&M today announced the search for a new band director, informing the student body of the university’s intent to fill the position currently held by Dr. William McQueen.
“We appreciate Professor McQueen’s contributions over the past years, and I believe this is the right time to transition our program with new leadership and a new direction,” said President George C. Wright. The goal of this search is to set a new vision for the Marching Storm while ensuring that the band experience is rewarding for student members.”
School officials say the new director of bands will take the Marching Storm, among the more popular bands in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, to new levels of exposure, academic achievement and performance ability. No timetable was announced by the university for when the position would be filled.[/mpoverlay]
The event, which featured prominent local DJ’s and members of Houston’s famous Screwed Up Click as judges, pitted DJ Burn and DJ Bluetooth of Texas Southern University; DJ Elevated and DJ General Mealz of Grambling State University as the competition’s HBCU-affiliated artists.
Elevated received the competition’s DJ Screw Legend Award.