Adrian Jones is not taking Shaw University’s predicted fifth place finish in the CIAA’s Southern Division personally.
Jones takes over a Bears team that has won four games in the past two seasons.
But Jones’ hire on March 3 signals a new day in Shaw football. He and the CIAA’s 11 other coaches discussed their hopes and expectations for the upcoming season at Thursday’s CIAA Media Day at the Marriott in Research Triangle Park.
Shaw was placed just ahead of rival neighbor St. Augustine’s in the division. But Jones is undaunted.
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“We’re looking to play an exciting brand of football. We play our home games at Durham County Stadium, and so our goal is to be playing in the championship game (at the stadium) on Nov. 12,” he said.
Jones took over the position held by a familiar face. Robert Massey, a North Carolina Central alum who coached at Hillside High School, is now an assistant coach at defending CIAA champion Winston-Salem State.
“Coach Massey, and the other new coaches this year, will bring a ton of experience and leadership to the team,” said WSSU coach Kienus Boulware. “We expect them to help keep our team on top.”
Jones is in his first college head-coaching position. He was North Carolina Central’s running back coach for the past two seasons, and helped Dorrel McClain earn the 2015 MEAC Rookie of the Year award.
The Eagles’ rushing game was second in the MEAC behind Bethune-Cookman and was one of the reasons NCCU won its second straight conference championship.
“A confident coach breeds confident players, and I expect them to play confident football,” he said.
Jones’ tenure at Southern High, which produced a 2013 N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA championship, is paying off in recruiting. Ten members of the freshman class are from the state, including Hillside High’s Raymond Green Jr., and Robert Traynham, and Southern’s James Taylor.
Shaw opens its non-conference season with games against Limestone, Wingate and UNC Pembroke. Jones says it’s all part of the plan.
“During the season, you want to play good teams if you want to go to the playoffs. We’re going to hang our hats on defense.”
Mack heads to MEAC luncheon
NCCU coach Jerry Mack and N.C. A&T coach Rod Broadway will face off at Friday’s MEAC Football Luncheon in Norfolk, Virginia. The two coaches haven’t been in the same room together since the regular season finale in Greensboro.
The Eagles won the game 21-16, but the Aggies advanced to the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The two rivals have met with the conference title on the line for the past two seasons.
N.C. Central will seek to make history this season.
“We’re excited about having the opportunity to three-peat for the first time in program history,” Mack said at last week’s Bill Dooley Triangle Pigskin Preview. “We want to go to the Celebration Bowl. We have every scholarship athlete on campus working out, and that’s never happened before. We’re ready to rock and roll and get the season started.”
Three Duke soccer players have been added to the 2016 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List.
Christina Gibbons, Toni Payne and Rebecca Quinn are among 64 NCAA Division I players in the running for the prestigious award.
Gibbons led the Blue Devils defense to 14 shutouts last season. Payne recorded three goals and two assists in the NCAA Tournament, and Quinn registered three goals. Duke advanced to the championship match.
The winner will be announced Jan. 6 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Missouri.
Top of the world
Durham’s Marcus Krah won a world title Friday in Poland, taking first place in the 110-meter hurdles at the IAAF World U20 championships.
Krah, 18, finished in 13.25 seconds, five-hundredths of a second in front of U.S. teammate Amere Lattin (13.30).
“It feels amazing, unbelievable,” Krah told the IAAF. “Setting a (personal best) was a goal, but most of all it was about winning gold. I never thought I would actually get it until I got here.”
Krah won three N.C. High School Athletic Association outdoor titles this year and three indoor titles as a senior at Hillside High School.
He will enroll at North Carolina in the fall.
Former Jordan High baseball star Wood Myers, injured his sophomore year at North Carolina, announced this month that he’s transferring to Coastal Carolina. Some published reports mistakenly has him heading to N.C. State.
Coastal won this year’s NCAA championship and, notably, it was during a 13-2 UNC loss at Coastal in 2015 that Meyers broke his left fibula.