Former Texas Southern University football standout Michael Strahan returned to his alma mater this weekend for its annual commencement exercises, bringing words of love and lending his celebrity star power to the event.
“We’re extremely excited about the future of the women’s basketball at Texas Southern with Coach Hayes-Perry at the helm of the program,” said (TSU Athletic Director Dr. Charles) McClelland. “She has significant experience coaching at the Division I level and she also brings with her head coaching experience. We feel that Coach Hayes-Perry undoubtedly provides us with the best option towards making Texas Southern a legitimate contender in the current landscape of women’s college basketball.”
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.
Family and supporters are awaiting the autopsy reports from the death of Rick Roberts, a longtime radio host and former radio announcer for Texas Southern University athletics who died last week after suffering a stroke and injuries from an assault at his Houston home. From the Houston Chronicle:
Police said the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will determine whether Roberts’ death was the result of foul play or whether circumstances surrounding his condition could be deemed suspicious. Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon said the post-mortem will play a major part in determining if detectives investigate the death as a homicide.
His son, Kevin Roberts, said Roberts was unable to communicate after being found.
“My dad was one of those seniors who sat on the porch a lot,” the younger Roberts said. “We don’t know who may have done this and how they got access to the house, but someone was there and hauled him into the house.”
“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.
Texas Southern University alumnus Michael Strahan and Southern University alumnus Aeneas Williams have been named to the list of finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Williams went on to play ten seasons with the Cardinals, and went to six Pro Bowls during that decade. He is second on the Cardinals all-time list with 46 interceptions, and his six interception returns for touchdowns is a team record. (ArizonaSports.com)
Strahan figures to be a lock to make it after a stellar career (1993-2007) in which he became the franchise leader with 141.5 sacks and set the single-season record with 22.5 in 2001. He was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year that year and a four-time All-Pro.( NYDailyNews.com)
Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on Feb. 2.