This Black History Month, we’re taking a look back at some of the athletes and coaches who have had an impact on HBCU Sports. Some of them are better known than others, but all of them are important. Today, we’ll start with former Coppin State forward Larry Stewart.
|Larry Stewart led Coppin State to its first-ever MEAC Championship.|
While Coppin State is best known for its landmark NCAA Tourney upset of South Carolina in 1997, the programs best player was long gone by then. Larry Stewart built his own legacy at Coppin, leading the team to its first-ever MEAC Tournament win and NCAA Appearance in 1990.
Stewart played on the same high school squad as Loyola Marymount standouts Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers. Stewart left Philly for Baltimore, heading South to play for a relatively unknown coach named “Fang” Mitchell. Stewart and Mitchell didn’t exactly hit it off right away, as Mitchell thouhght Stewart was lazy and Stewart had trouble making it to class, so he ended up sitting out as a freshman.
But Mitchell would go on to make up for it over the next three seasons, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 65 percent from the field for his career. He also helped Coppin to a 70-63 win over Maryland in Dec. of 1989, making CSU the last non-conference team to beat Maryland in Cole Field House, which closed in 2002.
After winning MEAC Player of The Year Honors as a junior, he led Coppin to that MEAC Tourney win. The Eagles would go on to lose to Derrick Coleman’s Syracuse team in the first round, but he more than held his own with 19 points. Stewart was even better as a senior, finishing third in the nation with 13.4 rebounds per game and winning the John McLendon Trophy, given to the best player from an HBCU.
Despite his stellar college resume, Stewart went undrafted in 1991. He earned a tryout with the Washington Bullets that year, and ended up making the team and averaging a career-high 10 points and 6 rebounds per game. He played four seasons with the Bullets, and another with the Sonics before finishing out his career in Europe.
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