Howard University is holding an NCAA tournament for the second time

Colorado, you can have Deion Sanders. I hope he enjoys Boulder, which he claims he has “no crime” and I hope the university rejoices in him until he moves on to a job with more money and prestige and says he was directed by God to do so. I also hope Jackson State continues to thrive without the man with the gold pipe who doesn’t allow earrings in meetings. Another HBCU – Howard University – is seeing a surge in athletic success. It’s been pursued away from the limelight, but it’s new the success was plentiful.

Howard is a university with a history of star production. Sure, I’m a biased alumnus who is high with school pride for the second time with the Bison at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in the history of the program, but facts are facts. Howard produces Oscar winners, MacArthur Genius grantees and civil rights activists like Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael, who with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but also challenged him on certain issuesthe current vice presidents of the United States of America, and many other notables.

Sports stars are few and far between at Howard

Naturally, sports is expensive and as an HBCU, Howard doesn’t have the athletic budget of a Power 5 university. However, even if the majority of the black star athletes played along Howard, you fought athletically. Jackson State has four Pro Football Hall of Famers, but Antoine Bethea is the only Howard player to make it to a Pro Bowl, according to Sports Reference. (HI have made three to be exact.) Howard men’s basketball coach Kenny Blakeney (pictured) is from Washington and said he couldn’t name it five players in the history of the program during its launch press conference in 2019.

Turns his athletics program around

In recent years, Howard has slowly but surely turned his athletics around program around. A big step came in 2015 with the hiring of Ty Grace as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. Prior to the start of this season, Kery Davis was hired as athletic director.

Last season, Grace’s team won the MEAC tournament – Howard’s first conference title in two decades – and was also victorious in a first-four game. They advanced to the MEAC title game again that season and nearly made a spectacular comeback against Norfolk State.

Howard is the only HBCU with swim and dive teams. In February the men took home the Northeast Conference Championship He broke 16 records for the first time in three decades included. The women finished fourth but still broke 15 records. Miles Simon of the men won the Most Outstanding Swimmer title and Jordan Walker of the women won the Most Outstanding Diver title.

Last spring, the softball team took home a MEAC championship. Stephen Curry helped bring the golf team back to Division I competition in 2021, and the program won a conference championship in its inaugural season. The football team also played for a conference championship in the fall. It was her first conference title since 1993.

And on Thursday at 2 p.m. EST, the men of Blakeney’s Bison will take on Kansas in a first round tournament match. Howard’s last appearance was in 1992 when Blakeney won a national championship as a freshman at Duke. In his fourth season as head coach, Howard finished 11-3 in conference play and the season 21-11. The Bison defeated back-to-back MEAC champion Norfolk State in a 65-64 thriller on Saturday.

Their 3-point shooting had them down for most of the day, but Marcus Dockery sent a rainbow through the net while double-marked to keep hopes alive with 13 seconds left in the game. A Norfolk state turnover and two clutch free throws from Jelani Willams – a transfer from Penn – later and Howard holed his ticket for the first time since tickets went largely digital. The program even received some pre-tournament love from the NBA when the Milwaukee Bucks were in town to play them Washington Wizard.

A school that almost always tended to produce one Stan Ret as a bethea has achieved one of the most productive events in college sports. It also didn’t take a Pro Football Hall of Famer filming a documentary for Amazon Prime while coaching. Just some new blood committed to taking the daily steps to turn the program around.

So for everyone classic literature, impactful advocates, talented artists and world leaders that Howard produces, it’s now known for something else.

Howard proved that it can also be a sports school. Howard University is holding an NCAA tournament for the second time

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