Shannon Sharpe

Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A go down HBCU memory lane

Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A teamed up on “Club Shay Shay” before they go at it on First Take.

If you haven’t yet heard, two of HBCUs biggest stars Winston-Salem State University alum Stephen A Smith and Savannah State University alum Shannon Sharpe will go one-on-one on the top-rated morning sports show, First Take starting September 4th, 2023. But first, Sharpe and Smith sat down for episode no. 85 of Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay.”  

Within minutes of opening the podcast both Sharpe and Smith showed love to HBCU communities. 

“Coming from an HBCU obviously is a very, very big deal. That’s something that’s near and dear to my heart,” Smith said. “I’ve been an ambassador for HBCU week since 2019. In that span we’ve generated over 65 million dollars for over 3,000 students.”

Smith was referring to the HBCU Week Foundation, which is an annual event centered around promoting HBCUs to high school students to bring awareness and encourage students to enroll at HBCUs. Stephen A. Smith has been an ambassador since 2019 and hosts his morning show First Take at the event each year. 

Smith also recognized his legendary former coach at Winston-Salem State University, Clarence “Big House” Gaines. 

“When I said “what could I do for all that you’ve done for me?” Smith shared. “He said “Don’t forget HBCUs, you make sure that you help any chance you get,” and that’s what I’ve been doing.” 

Shannon Sharpe also proclaimed his love for HBCUs but admitted that he did not understand the magnitude of what was going on at HBCUs “until much, much later.” 

Stephen A
Stephen A. Smith stands before a crowd at Jackson State University.

While speaking about his studies at SSU, Sharpe spoke about a professor of a remedial class that pushed him to new levels, Dr. Joyce Maclemore. 

“I’ll never forget, I had a reading class… After two days, she says Mr. Sharpe, she always called me Mr. Sharpe. She says, “Mr. Sharpe, I don’t want to see you back here next quarter.” 

Telling Sharpe he was too smart and that he had no business being in that class, Dr. Maclemore was pushing Sharpe to get out of a remedial studies class that did not count towards his graduation. This was an explanation of how much Sharpe’s teachers believed in him at his HBCU. 

Sharpe also spoke about the time he caught flack for saying that an HBCU was not his first choice. While an HBCU was not his first choice, he gave much credit to his former coach Bill Davis who convinced Sharpe that Savannah State was the perfect fit for him. 

Sharpe would later say that after attending SSU, when the opportunity arose for him to transfer to a PWI he could not do it. 

Reminiscing on the good days Sharpe and Smith went on to speak about HBCU culture and how much fun they had in their time. Smith even admitted that an advisor had to convince him to graduate on time because he wanted to stay at Winston-Salem State. 

While these HBCU graduates have gone on to do great things in their respective careers, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, both continue to blaze a trail for the coming generations of HBCU graduates. The next journey, they will embark on together as they prepare to take over First Take, for the foreseeable future. 

Written by Kobe Scales

Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A go down HBCU memory lane
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