Big South

A&T volleyball player tragically passes away

North Carolina A&T volleyball is mourning the death of Fatimah Shabazz. Shabazz passed away suddenly on Sunday. She passed away at the age of 22.

EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T volleyball player Fatimah Shabazz died of complications from an aneurism on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, as announced by the N.C. A&T Department of Athletics on Tuesday. 

We are heartbroken by Fatimah’s passing,” said A&T coach Hal Clifton. “Nothing prepares you for moments like this. Fatimah was an amazing person once you got to know her.  She was a fierce competitor on the court but a very sweet person off the court.

The passing of Fatimah is a great loss to us all and will leave a hole in our hearts.  She will never be forgotten and will be missed dearly. I ask that you please continue to hold Fatimah, her mom and all of her family in your hearts, thoughts and prayers during this time of need.”   

Shabazz was born on Sept. 19, 1999. She came to N.C. A&T out of Cincinnati, Ohio, earning 2016 co-conference player of the year honors and third-team All-City out of Northwest High School. She arrived in AggieLand in 2017 and took a redshirt season. 

She then developed into one of the best players in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). She also became a part of one of the most successful classes in school history. She came in with two-time MEAC player of the Year, Edie Brewer. She also came in with three-time, first-team All-MEAC selection Courteney Pitt, who is also second all-time in school history in kills.

Together the trio helped the Aggies volleyball program achieve heights never seen before in school history. Shabazz made huge contributions in the spring of 2021. She led the MEAC in kills per set (3.69), ranked fifth in the league in hitting percentage (.336) and ninth in blocks per set (0.64).

That translated into Aggies volleyball winning its first-ever conference tournament championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time. The Aggies also won their first-round game over Rice because of a COVID-19 forfeit. It was only the fifth time a team from N.C. A&T Athletics won an NCAA tournament postseason match or game.

Pitt and Brewer remembered their friend and the person who helped them hang so many banners in Moore Gymnasium.

“Fatimah, my sweet girl, could make anyone laugh at any time of the day,” said Pitt. “She was the sweetest friend to me and so competitive on the court. I will always remember the joy she brought to me each and every day.”

“Fatimah was inspirational, and she cared about many people,” said Brewer. “She was the funniest person ever, and we will love her forever.”  

In her career, Shabazz also celebrated two MEAC southern division regular-season championships and the volleyball program’s first-ever win over a Power Five school as the Aggies defeated Virginia Tech, 3-2 on Sept. 18, 2021.  

Individually, she had two career conference player of the week honors, earned first-team All-MEAC during the spring of 2021, and earned the team’s volleyball offensive player of the year award at the 2021 Aggie ESPYs. 

N.C. A&T Athletics transitioned to the Big South Conference in 2020. N.C. A&T volleyball played its first season in the Big South in 2021. The change of conferences did not stop Shabazz from being a dynamic player. 

Shabazz averaged 2.10 kills and 0.66 blocks per set during the 2021 fall season. She helped the Aggies earn their first 20-win season in 16 years as the Aggies went 20-10 overall and 11-5 in the Big South. The Aggies also recently acquired an at-large bid to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC), the team’s second in the past three years. 

Shabazz played in 284 sets in 89 matches, playing her final match as an Aggie on Nov. 19, 2021. She totaled 710 kills, 183 total blocks, and her 169 block assists rank eighth all-time in school history. She graduated from N.C. A&T with a 3.71-grade point average and a degree in pre-law/liberal studies. She was a first-semester graduate student before passing away.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced. The A&T Counseling Center, located in Murphy Hall, suite 109, is available for students in need of support. Contact the Counseling Services at 336-334-7727 to make an appointment. Faculty and staff are encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program’s ComPsych resources by calling 866-511-3373.

A&T volleyball player tragically passes away
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