?>

NEWS

Fort Valley State Defense Makes Statement

Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021

MONTGOMERY – The Fort Valley State turned in a first-quarter goal-line stand that set tone for in Sunday’s season opener at the historic Cramton Bowl.

Tuskegee had first-and-goal at the Wildcats four-yard on the opening drive of the game. But, four straight running plays netted only three yards and FVSU took over on downs midway through the first quarter.

The also took over the game.

The Wildcats constantly pressu

red the Tuskegee offense all night in a resounding 30-0 win in front of 13,956 fans at the inaugural Boeing Red Tails Classic, snapping a nine-game losing streak to its long-time Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival.

FVSU (1-0) recorded 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks and turned five turnovers into 20 points in the dominating win.

The goal-line stand inspired the defensive unit led by senior defensive end Antonio Golden, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Making his first career start, Golden logged six tackles, four tackles for loss (-25), three sacks (-20) and forced one fumble.

“It was just putting a hat on a hat,” Golden said. “We did what we had to do. We made the plays. I was glad to do my part.

Tyler Moore finished with seven tackles, including one sack (-8), one forced fumble and a 29-yard fumble return. Jahseari Patterson added six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss (-6) and one sack (-1).

“The ball bounced our way a few more times tonight,” FVSU head coach Maurice Flowers said. ““I am very proud of defense. They set the tone tonight.”

Overall, FVSU limited Tuskegee to 99 total yards. The Tigers had 35 yards on the opening drive, but managed only 64 yards the remainder of the game. Tuskegee finished with four rushing yards and needed 19 rushing yards on it final possession to climb above zero for the game.

Tuskegee had six drives end in zero or negative yards.

“We just couldn’t get anything going on offense tonight,” Tuskegee head coach Willie Slater said. “We have a young quarterback and offense line and we put our defense in some bad situations with turnovers.”

Fort Valley led 6-0 at halftime on pair of field goals by Andre Labat.

The Wildcats scored 21 points in the third quarter to extend the lead to 27-0.

Quarterback Tyrell Jackson had two touchdown passes to Jhimarre Brown and Shemar Bridges.  B

Jackson finished 17-of-34 for 166 yards and two TDs. Bridges led the team with seven catches for 83 yards.

Senior rover Zach Anderson scored on a 60-yard fumble return.

Labat added his third field goal to cap the scoring in the fourth quarter.

VIEW GAME STATS HERE >

 

?>

NEWS

Willie Slater’s longevity at Tuskegee is driven by work on the field and in the classroom

The longtime coach, in his 16th season, is already in the record books

Willie Slater is a rarity.

The Coffeeville, Alabama, native is among a hierarchy of football coaches – at any level – to have spent the lion’s share of their careers with one program, with a record of excellence on and off the gridiron.

When his Tuskegee University Golden Tigers face the Fort Valley State Wildcats in the inaugural Boeing Red Tails Classic Sept. 5 on ESPNU at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama, Slater will be entering his 16th season as the program’s head football coach.

That kind of longevity and success are nothing short of exemplary – particularly in the modern era, when about a third of head coaches either are fired within four years or jump to greener pastures.

Former North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway has admired Slater for years. “He’s done an outstanding job,” explained Broadway, who retired in 2017 after an undefeated 12-0 season at N.C. A&T and a Celebration Bowl victory, with an overall record of 127-45 over 15 seasons.

“I used to preach all the time to coaches and players: To win a championship you’ve got to be good day in and day out. You have to repeat your performance. Willie is amazing,” said Broadway.

Slater, 65, has guided the Golden Tigers to seven Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championships. Under his guidance, Tuskegee earned four straight conference titles (2006-2009) and claimed its eighth historically Black college and university (HBCU) national crown in 2007, when the Golden Tigers went 12-0.

Slater’s resume includes having been named to the Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., and the Sheridan Broadcasting Network (SBN) Coach of the Year in 2007 – besides being named SIAC Coach of the Year five times (2007, 2008, 2909, 2012 and 2014).

Simply put, Slater has built one of the premier Division II and HBCU football programs in the nation.

“I feel very fortunate to be here,” Slater said of his role at an HBCU. “It’s a great place for young men and especially women of color at this time and in the world. Our football players graduate with majors in engineering, occupational therapy, architecture and aerospace engineering, and I’m intrigued by that. I like smart young men. Smart young men make good football players.”

And, Slater has receipts.

“We’ve been able to win,” he continued. “Our last two years we’ve been mediocre, which is highly unusual for us.” He’s no doubt referring to 2018 and 2019, when his teams finished 5-5. “But being able to win while getting a good education has been special.”

Coaches don’t become great without great players, and Slater has had a good number of them. Quarterback Jacary Atkinson is at the top of that list.

Atkinson led the Golden Tigers to that 12-0 season and a Black college national championship in 2007, while being named to the SBN Sports Black College All-American Team. He was selected as the SIAC Offensive Player of the Year and was the conference leader in passing yards (2,979), passing touchdowns (34) and total offense (276.6 yards a game).

“Jacary Atkinson was one of the best players I’ve ever coached,” Slater said proudly. “He started out being coached by [former Auburn and NFL quarterback] Dameyune Craig, who was our first quarterback coach when I first took the job. Dameyune is at Texas A&M now [as wide receivers coach]. That makes you feel good, too. It lets you know you’re a pretty good judge of character.

“Jacary was a mechanical engineer. He could see the whole field. He was an awesome player, good person and a good kid.”

Slater’s record at Tuskegee is 120-39 – numbers he never dreamed of compiling after succeeding Rick Comegy in 2006.

Comegy coached the program from 1996 to 2005 – compiling a 90-26 record during his 10 seasons, which included four victories in the Pioneer Bowl.

But Tuskegee is accustomed to football coaching excellence.

The Golden Tigers’ most decorated mentor was Cleve Abbott, head coach from 1923 to 1954. In 32 seasons, Abbott had a 202-97-27 record with six Black college national championships and six undefeated seasons.

“Coach Abbott was here a long time,” Slater said. “He had a lot of championships. Coach Comegy is a great coach; I was fortunate to come behind him. He left some good players that really helped – especially at the beginning of my time.”

Slater will tell anyone who asks that success wasn’t handed to him. He started his college coaching career at Troy University, where he spent eight years as an assistant. Troy won two NCAA Division II national championships, in 1984 and 1987.

After his time at Troy (1983-90), he went to his alma mater, the University of West Alabama, for a stint (1991-92), and left for the University of North Alabama, which had a powerhouse Division II football program under coach Bobby Wallace. The Lions won three NCAA Division II titles (1993, 1994, 1995).

Slater, a five-time NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year, was at Jacksonville State from 2000 to 2003, then took a step up to Division I and became the offensive coordinator at Temple University, once again under Wallace, from 2004 to 2005, before coming to Tuskegee.

GAME RECOGNIZES GAME

Willie Jeffries, a Hall of Famer who was a longtime coach at South Carolina State, always believed Slater would be a great fit at Tuskegee.

“He’s at a nationally recognized school,” explained Jeffries, the first African American head football coach at a major Division I predominantly white institution, when he coached Wichita State from 1979 to 1983.

“You mention schools like Tuskegee and Howard, most families and kids know about them,” continued Jeffries, who, over 29 years as a collegiate head coach, compiled a 179-132-6 record. “He’s at a great school – I said that when he went there. He’s concerned about academic, social and athletic development.”

While he’s in the twilight of a magnificent career, Slater is still driven. The inaugural Boeing Red Tails Classic against Fort Valley State will not only shine a light on his Golden Tigers, but will also honor the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps, a precursor of the U.S. Air Force.

“I’m excited about the Red Tails Classic,” said Slater, who was appointed the school’s athletic director in 2017. “A lot of people jumped on the board with that one. It’s a great tribute to our Red Tails and the former Red Tails of Tuskegee University at the same time. It will give us a little prestige in our program.”

Willie Slater and prestige go hand in hand.

View original post here >

?>

NEWS

Steven Reed Unapologetically Puts On For His City

Montgomery’s Mayor Hopes New Red Tails Classic Game Shines a Bright Light On Tuskegee Airmen While Celebrating HBCUs

Montgomery, Alabama, is on the edge. On the edge of everything — past, present and future. The first capital of the Confederacy. The birthplace of the push for civil rights and racial equality. The heart of the South, and the dawn of what America can become in the next 200 years.

Mayor Steven Reed is here for all of it, as the city focuses on the future.

In passionately working to bring to life in this community — his community — the Boeing Red Tails Classic in honor and recognition of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators, Reed is banking on peeling back the curtain, however painful it might be, for much of America to see and understand a critical contribution to its history.

The Boeing Red Tails Classic — set to be played Sunday, Sept. 5 (7 pm ET, on ESPNU) — will feature two Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Fort Valley State and Tuskegee University, and will be played at historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

For Reed — a native of Montgomery whose uncles and many family friends attended Tuskegee University when it was Tuskegee Institute — there’s promise in the game. Of course, there’s the rich history of the Red Tails and Montgomery’s place in America’s past intersecting the present and the future, and the game is being played some 40 miles from Tuskegee University, where the airmen made history while helping secure America’s future.

Reed hopes the impact of bringing the game to Montgomery resonates for and in the community for a long time, and for good reason.

“I think there is a large swath of America that doesn’t know the full story of African American contributions in service and innovation, and in overall activism in our nation,” Reed explained.

“Montgomery serves as a perfect backdrop because we love football, we know our history, we want to share that history.” Montgomery mayor Steven Reed

“The hope is that by bringing the game to Montgomery, people will learn about the Equal Justice Initiative (a Montgomery-based nonprofit that provides legal representation to prisoners in need), and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and some of the painful parts of our nation’s history, but also can learn about some of the prideful moments of our history.”

Reed, 47, is Montgomery’s first black mayor, and he is keen to keep his beloved city’s drive into the future wrapped in a willingness to fully recognize the past. He recalls the Selma-to-Montgomery marches for voting rights in 1965, which ended at the steps of the state capitol, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to a group of some 25,000 marchers. And the playing out of those historic events is in the lifeblood of Montgomery’s present, as Reed led his city through the difficult days after the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

“The first challenge was to make sure that we kept the community calm while listening to their critiques about policing, not only in our city, but in our nation, and we tried to do more listening than we did talking. We were blessed to have a great relationship with our community leaders and activists, and our then-police chief, [who] helped us avoid any acts of violence and any acts of property damage in our city throughout those protests.

Continued Reed: “Because of the history of nonviolent protests that Dr. King led generations ago, that is still in the soil here in Montgomery: You can get your point across without bodily harm, or destroying your community, and be heard. And so we gave them that opportunity, and I’m glad we did. We learned a lot from it.”

These pulse points of history were also major drivers of Reed’s desire to bring this HBCU game and celebration of Black history to his city as the mayor also underscored the relevance of America now looking ahead to another bicentennial.

“If I had to write a book the title would be: ‘The Best of America and the Worst of America,’ ” Reed explained. “ ‘The Best of America’ in that we are the birthplace of the civil rights movement and all that our society should be; and ‘The Worst of America’ in that we were the first capital of the Confederacy and a group of states that believed that Black people did not have rights that white men should abide by, and that they were property, they weren’t human beings, and that institutional slavery was more important to them than was the unification of our country.

“Since my election [in 2019], we are looking toward another bicentennial and what Montgomery will be over the next 200 years, and we’re trying to lay that foundation of a community as forward-focused, diverse and inclusive, and one that believes in full potential — not only in our community, but in our state, in this nation — and we believe that, because of those people who sacrificed so much, we have a legacy to live up to. And that means in terms of how we grow the city, how we imagine the city and how we invest in opportunities for all our residents who live here.”

Drawing on the theme of inclusion that is interwoven in the legend of the Red Tails, Reed feels strongly that such a value strengthens every last American, and emboldens the talent pool from which America draws its perseverance — across businesses, organizations and government. The resulting improvement in product and the improved return on investment when inclusion is realized are unmistakable.

“Parts of Alabama have been left behind in the economic growth of our nation,” the mayor said matter-of-factly. “Many of our HBCUs have not been full participants in the progress that higher education institutions have benefited from. And I think that with the game being held here, there’s a picture that we can draw of how the success of African Americans in this country over the years and decades still continues, but not without partnership, not without healthy investment — and that includes the cities, and includes our neighborhoods and communities. And that includes our HBCUs.”

Tuskegee Airmen Fought for Inclusion

The Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group, nicknamed “the Red Tails” after the identifying color on the tails of their P-51 Mustangs, are perhaps an example of the highest order when it comes to inclusion – and the critical, painful misstep of benefitting from the reliability of those the majority treats as less than equal.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in World War II, the United States armed forces needed more airmen. That led to the “Tuskegee Experiment” — so named because, at the time, America’s military had a noted lack of faith in African Americans being capable airmen.

Units of white airmen did not want to fly with Black airmen, but the lack of inclusion did not deter the Tuskegee Airmen. The segregated group, charged with keeping enemy aircraft from destroying U.S. bombers on their missions, showed such unwavering control – and success – that their efforts caused enemy fighters to hesitate and turn back from potential attacks on U.S. bombers escorted by them.

The Red Tails, who fought to be counted among the U.S. armed forces, realized a tremendous accomplishment for the greater good — but they suffered no fools. Discrimination was ever present, and they recognized it in the face of their unrivaled support of their country during the war.

“The reason we need to continue to tell the story is because so many people don’t know the story and fully don’t appreciate what those men were up against, and what their success ultimately meant,” Reed said. “Not only for our victory during the war, but what it meant for our armed forces and what it meant for our nation at large. That is why we have to continue to tell that story: So that people understand the contributions that men and their families made to serve this country when this country would not fully recognize them as full citizens and when many in this country rejected their patriotism for a country that they were trying to make better.”

Mayor Reed hopes the Boeing Red Tails Classic football game will serve “as a backdrop to an encyclopedia of things that have made America what it is today that happened right here in Montgomery.” Additionally, he notes, Montgomery boasts initiatives now that shape what America will become, and what his community hopes to be.

“Our city is going at a fast pace into the knowledge-based economy,” he said, “and we’re trying to transition from a service and manufacturing based economy to one that is more focused on entrepreneurship, small businesses and the explosion, really, of the gig economy.

“I think that our proximity to Tuskegee University and Auburn University, along with the four major colleges that we have in our city, provides us a template to utilize the young talent in the Gen Z generation to really anchor our growth, and we plan to do that around tourism which is focused on the civil rights movement, and, again, the history of our city, state and nation, and by really bringing to light the trajectory of racial equality and civil rights in this country — it is captured here.

“Montgomery serves as a perfect backdrop because we love football, but we know our history, we want to share that history. And we also want to talk about what the future holds and how corporations, foundations and individual organizations can be a part of that.”

And just who will Reed — a proud graduate of Morehouse College, where he played football — be pulling for, come Sept. 5?

“It’s special, you know — to have [the game] take place right here in Montgomery I think shows how we value HBCUs,” Reed explained, giving context to his response. “We’re glad to be able to bring attention to the team I’m rooting for, and that is Tuskegee University – because of the contribution the Tuskegee alumni have made throughout this country for centuries.

“And it’s important, I think, at a time when HBCUs are getting more recognition than they have in quite some time — for us to be the backdrop for that is important because what Montgomery’s place has been in being on the map because of a 26-year-old preacher from an HBCU called Morehouse College, and what he did in 1955.”

In his own way, Reed is adding to that legacy.

?>

NEWS

Boeing Named Title Sponsor of ESPN Events’ Red Tails Classic College Football Kickoff Game

Boeing has signed a three-year agreement to become the title sponsor of ESPN Events’ inaugural Red Tails Classic college football kickoff game.

Earlier this year, ESPN Events announced the creation of the Red Tails Classic to celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and honor the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II. The inaugural game of the Boeing Red Tails Classic will feature Tuskegee University vs. Fort Valley State University on Sunday, Sept. 5, at the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

“As ESPN honors the legacy and perseverance of the Tuskegee Airmen, we are proud to welcome Boeing as the title sponsor for this historic event,” said Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events. “Boeing’s pioneering history in aerospace makes them the perfect fit for this matchup, as we continue to highlight college football and the importance of HBCUs.”

Boeing’s current T-7A Red Hawk advanced pilot training system pays tribute to the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Boeing is pleased to pay tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and celebrate the contributions of HBCU graduates by sponsoring ESPN Events’ inaugural Red Tails Classic,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “As a proud HBCU graduate, I am gratified by Boeing’s dedicated efforts to advance a more equitable future for our employees and our communities.”

For over a decade, Boeing has worked closely with students, faculty and administrators to support and empower underserved and minority populations. Since 2018, Boeing has invested more than $10 million in HBCU partnerships and increased HBCU intern hiring by more than 400%. This includes a partnership between Boeing and Allen University, unveiled in 2020, to establish the Boeing Institute on Civility, which will be a national hub for teaching and provide programming aimed at advancing civil discourse in America and across the globe. Boeing’s competitive paid internship program welcomed nearly 100 HBCU students in 2020.

Trained and based in Alabama during World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Flying more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa over two years, the Tuskegee Airmen’s service directly contributed to the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Tuskegee name also encompasses members of the Air Corps, including navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks and other support personnel. To stand out among other units, the Airmen painted the tails of their aircraft red, which is where the nickname ‘Red Tails’ was born. The B-25 Mitchell bomber used by the Tuskegee Airmen in training was manufactured by North American Aviation – a Boeing heritage company.

The Boeing Red Tails Classic is one of 22 college football events owned and operated by ESPN Events. For more information, visit https://espnevents.com/sports/football/.

 

The Boeing Company

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 34 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes five early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and a college softball event, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

For more information, visit the official websiteFacebookTwitter or YouTube pages.

 

 

?>

NEWS

Robin Roberts Homage to Dad

 

ESPN Events has launched a new event featuring Tuskegee University with the creation of the Boeing Red Tails Classic – a college football event showcasing Historically Black Colleges and Universities – in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II.

Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State University will play in the inaugural game at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., to open the 2021 college football season on Sunday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. ET, on ESPNU.

?>

NEWS

Robin Roberts Homage to Tuskegee Airmen

ESPN Events has launched a new event featuring Tuskegee University with the creation of the Boeing Red Tails Classic – a college football event showcasing Historically Black Colleges and Universities – in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II.

Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State University will play in the inaugural game at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., to open the 2021 college football season on Sunday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. ET, on ESPNU.

 

 

?>

NEWS

Boeing Red Tails Classic Promo

 

JOIN US FOR THIS INAUGURAL EVENT!

Showcasing Historically Black Colleges and Universities – in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II.

Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State University will play in the inaugural game at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., to open the 2021 college football season on Sunday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. ET, on ESPNU.

JOIN THE
CELEBRATION


Join us in showcasing Historically Black Colleges and Universities in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II.

Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State University will play in the inaugural game at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., to open the 2021 college football season on Sunday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. ET.

SIGN UP FOR OUR
NEWSLETTER

    © 2021 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Safety Information, Your California Privacy Rights, Do Not Sell My Personal Information, and Children’s Privacy Policy are applicable to you. All rights reserved. Interest-Based Ads. Website Designed and Developed by Power On Marketing