1989 North Carolina Central basketball
This team is an example of just how good CIAA basketball used to be back in the day. NCCU won the Southern Division title, but couldn’t even make the CIAA Title Game as it was one of three schools in the conference to make the D2 playoffs. But it got hot when it needed too, winning 13 of its final 14 games, including a 65-60 win over CIAA Champ Virginia Union in the playoffs. NCCU beat Southeast Missouri State 73-46 in the Championship Game to cap its 28-4 season.
Sandra Ann Arrington Rich, Howard
HBCUs often get a bad rap for not being progressive as other schools, but putting a woman on a men’s diving team was pretty progressive by 1960s standards. Arrington helped Howard win its fifth and sixth-straight CIAA swim titles in 1966 and 67, becoming the first woman to participate on a men’s team in the school’s history and possibly in the conference’s history. She was even profiled by Ebony Magazine.
“Even now, I often get an uneasy feeling being on the team,” Arrington said. “But I don’t mind competing with the boys. Sometimes I’m afraid that they might get an inferiority complex.”
Jamie Waller, Virginia Union
Though his career was largely overshadowed by teammate Charles Oakley, Waller was a star in his own right. He made All-CIAA three times during a period when the conference was flush with basketball talent. Nearly 30 years after leaving Virginia Union, he’s still the program’s second-leading scorer with 2,568 points. He was selected by the Nets in the third round of the 1987 Draft and played in nine games before heading to the CBA, where he was named Rookie of the Year in 1988.
Alfred “Jazz” Byrd, Lincoln
Perhaps the best player in black college football during the 1920s. No brainer. For more, read here.
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