What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Put some respect on the names of N.C. A&T and Prairie View A&M

Aggies beat Jacksonville State, Panthers lose on last-second field goal on opening weekend of college football

3:34 AMNorth Carolina A&T proved that with a new coach but the same toughness, it can compete with the likes of an FBS team like Jacksonville State. The Aggies played an impressive game Aug. 25 in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff Classic, beating Jacksonville State 20-17.

The Aggies’ offense and defense played well enough the entire game to win, with quarterback Lamar Raynard throwing two touchdown passes on 12-of-34 passing, while the defense forced four turnovers.

Raynard, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) offensive MVP last season, hit Zachary Leslie for a 24-yard score in the first quarter, Elijah Bell scored from four yards in the third and Malik Wilson returned a kickoff 98 yards for a third-quarter touchdown. The 2017 Celebration Bowl champs sealed the game on a forced fumble with 17 seconds remaining.

The victory gave N.C. A&T its third consecutive season-opening win against an FBS opponent, and the first for Sam Washington as head coach. Washington replaced Rod Broadway after last season’s Celebration Bowl victory.

Prairie View, playing at Rice Stadium, battled the home team until the very end, losing on a game-ending field goal as time expired. Prairie View fell behind early in the game, but came back to take a 21-19 lead at halftime. At one point, the Panthers led by nine points after scoring 21 unanswered points before Rice forced a tie at 28-28 on a safety.

It looked as if the game was going to go into overtime as the Owls held Prairie View scoreless in the fourth quarter. But Rice escaped with a 31-28 victory, thanks to 23-yard field goal by Jack Fox after a costly Prairie View turnover.

“That’s who we are,” Prairie View coach Eric Dooley said. “I think they settled down [after the first quarter]. The butterflies were gone and they made the adjustments that were needed and started executing. … That turnover hurt us and really changed the momentum of the game.”

Quarterback Jalen Morton, whose fourth-quarter turnover cost the Panthers dearly, had 244 passing yards and three scores. His primary receiver, Tristen Wallace, had five catches for 147 yards and a touchdown.

Prairie View plays again Sunday in Atlanta against North Carolina Central in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge at noon on ESPN.

New coach, new initiative might be game-changer for Florida Memorial University

‘Lift Ev’ry Voice’ is at the center of school’s plan to help uplift HBCUs

4:02 PMFlorida Memorial University, a historically black university (HBCU) in Miami Gardens, Florida, is going all out to let people know it’s about the culture.

First, it launched an initiative called Lift Ev’ry Voice to inspire entertainers, athletes, authors, professionals and entrepreneurs to recommit and support HBCUs. Next, with the help of NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, the school introduced its new head men’s basketball coach, Ansar Al-Ameen. Thomas was instrumental in getting Al-Ameen to the school.

Before the announcements Tuesday, there was much suspense on campus as media, students and the university community gathered for a news conference.

During the news conference, Thomas and FMU president Jaffus Hardrick talked about the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the black national anthem. Hardrick said it was birthed at FMU by brothers John Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson. James wrote it as a poem; John put it to music.

“HBCUs are still relevant institutions, and they remain committed to educating today’s and tomorrow’s students and preparing them to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace or pursue graduate degrees,” said Hardrick.

Added Thomas, who coached the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and later Florida International University: “HBCUs are just as important today as they were when they were founded in our society.”

Al-Ameen, who was head coach at Prairie View A&M and an assistant at Texas Southern and Fresno State, said after his introduction: “It was an amazing opportunity just to come here. You know, I think back at all my time as an assistant, all my time working with NBA players, all my time wanting this opportunity.”

Al-Ameen, known as one of the best workout trainers in the country, is credited with coaching top players, including LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce. During his career, he’s been described as a no-nonsense coach whose steady diet of consistent discipline has helped transform students who were being written off into honor roll students.

“I’ve known Ansar for years,” said Thomas, who is a close friend of Hardrick’s. “I’ve watched his work with players. I’m positive that with these young athletes that we have here, that he’ll impart knowledge and he’ll impart wisdom.”