CLINTON, MS – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff placed four runners in the top 20 to bring home the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference Men’s Cross Country title, their fist since 1993.

The Golden Lions tallied 62 points, beating Prairie View A&M. The Panthers finished second for consecutive seasons, scoring 76 points. Grambling State finished third with 78 points. Wade Garner led the way, finishing fourth with a time of 26:20.3 Laurel Heath took 10th overall with a time of 26:50.44.

Rounding out the standings were Southern (98), Jackson State (102), Texas Southern (120), Alabama State (157), Mississippi Valley (195) and Alcorn State (220).

Vincent Langat bested the field with a time of 25:11:32 to earn the 2018 SWAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year award for the second year in a row. Texas Southern’s Hilary Maiyo was close behind, claiming second (25:20.91), and Lavante Williams finished third (25:28.57).

UAPB Coach Chris McCoy was named SWAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

 

The full All-SWAC list of athletes is below:

First-Team All-SWAC Men’s Cross Country

Vincent Langat (Jackson State; SWAC Men’s XC Runner of the Year)

Hilary Maiyo (Texas Southern)

Levante Williams (Prairie View A&M)

Wade Garner (UAPB)

Henry Kiplagat (Jackson State)

Second-Team All-SWAC Men’s Cross Country

Jorge Martinez (Texas Southern)

Worthington Moore (Prairie View A&M)

Matthew Kibet (Alabama State)

Hassan Chepkwony (Grambling)

Laural Heath (UAPB)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Council of Presidents has announced that Dr. Charles McClelland will become the sixth SWAC Commissioner in league history since the conference began in 1920.

According to an official press release, McClelland has served the past 17 plus years at the helm of two SWAC member institutions – Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics at Texas Southern University since April of 2008 and the prior seven years as Athletics Director at Prairie View A&M University. McClelland will succeed the role from Edgar Grant, who has served the role of Interim Commissioner since December 31, 2017.

Chairman of the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Andrew Hugine, thanked Mr. Grant for his dutiful and steady leadership during the transition period. He further stated that the Council is looking forward to working with Mr. McClelland as SWAC charts a new course in athletic and scholarly excellence for the conference.

Among the job duties entailed, the Commissioner shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Conference and report to the Conference Council of Presidents & Chancellors of the member institutions. The Commissioner will work with the Council, Athletic Directors, and other key athletics administration staff of each member institution to create initiatives and strategies designed to achieve the mission and vision of the Conference.

“As a young person growing up in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, it’s a good feeling to be named commissioner,” said Dr. McClelland. “To have an opportunity to lead this conference in this era is overwhelming. I’ve been at Texas Southern University for 10 years and met a lot of friends. TSU is like family. I’m sad to close that chapter, but I’m excited to open a new one.”

A native of Jackson, Miss., Dr. McClelland earned his doctoral degree in higher education administration at Texas A&M University in 2001. A 1993 graduate of Prairie View A&M University, McClelland earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and in 1997 received an MBA from Prairie View.

McClelland’s extra-curricular affiliations include membership in the Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Lambda and the National Association of Black Accountants.

McClelland is a former member of the NCAA Leadership/Management Council. One of the highest ranking councils in the NCAA, the Leadership/Management Council is responsible for establishing direct general policy, the strategic plan for the NCAA and advises the board of directors on administrative bylaws and regulations.

He is also a past president of the Houston Touchdown Club and has served on the board of directors. Previously, McClellland served as chairman of the SWAC Council of Athletics Directors, a position he had held for 10 years.

McClelland is married to Ashlee McClelland and is the father of two sons, Cainan and Ashton and one daughter, Cooper.

Duer Sharp.

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The long-serving commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) which serves historically black member institutions, Duer Sharp, has resigned this past Thursday amid rumors of potential financial issues and concern among member school presidents about the direction of the conference under his leadership.

According to The Advocate, The SWAC will hold its winter meetings in Houston, where school presidents and chancellors met Thursday morning. Southern director of athletics Roman Banks stated that the council of presidents accepted Sharp’s resignation. But it is unsure whether Sharp’s resignation is effective immediately, or if he will stay in his post throughout the remainder of his contract, which is set to expire this summer.

As of today, the SWAC office has yet to issue a statement regarding Sharp’s future.

Banks stated that there was no official record of who was or was not displeased with Sharp’s performance as commissioner. But Banks said, there was a unanimous concern” about the SWAC stability and the direction the league was taking.

“Also among the concerns was a lack of sponsorships,” Banks said, which “prompted us (Southern) to look around at other leagues.”

 Sharp started with the conference as assistant commissioner in 2004 and has served as commissioner since 2008. Under he leadership, the league secured a spot in the Celebration Bowl opposite the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, and it also orchestrated the move of the league’s football and basketball conference championships to Houston in 2013.
Earlier this year, the SWAC announced that this year’s football conference championship game would be its last.

The decision is believed to be related to the high cost of hosting the game at NRG Stadium in Houston, the home of the Houston Texans. And when combined with an earlier decision to change the league’s scheduling format from a nine-game round-robin schedule to a seven-game schedule, which opened the door for potential chaos when it came to determining a sole champion to represent the SWAC in the Celebration Bowl.

“By focusing on the Celebration Bowl, we can continue to grow (it) as an HBCU classic for the teams and fans of both conferences and for HBCU football nationally,” Sharp said in June.

 Banks said SWAC athletics directors “unanimously agreed” to look at re-instituting the SWAC championship game next season when the conference will still operate with a seven-game schedule

“We need to be fair,” Banks said. “We need to make sure it’s settled on the field.”

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The 2016 SWAC Football Championship is set to return to Houston, Texas this year as The Southwestern Athletic Conference renewed its contract with NRG Stadium for three more years. The winner of the East and West Divisions will meet for Judgement Day Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. CT.

Last season, Alcorn State earned back-to-back championships after defeating Southern University in 2014 and Grambling State in 2015.

According to SWAC, there will be special events around the football championship weekend starting with its annual SWAC Hall of Fame reception Thursday, Dec. 1. On game day, the annual SWAC Battle of the Bands, featuring performances from the respective division winners, culminates with Judgement Day at halftime. Traci Steele and Big Tigger will serve as the official host.

Tickets for the championship game range from $15-$55 (plus applicable TM fees) and increase of $5 the day of game. You can purchase tickets via Ticketmaster here.

The champion will earn the conference title and a chance to play in the annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Saturday, Dec, 17 in Atlanta, Ga.

The 2016 SWAC Football Championship weekend events goes as follow:

Thursday, December 1
· SWAC Hall of Fame Reception 6:00 p.m. (Invitation Only) *

Friday, December 2

· SWAC Football Championship Press Conference at NRG Stadium 10 a.m. (Media Members Only) *

Saturday, December 3
     · 2016 SWAC College Expo at NRG Stadium 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
· 2016 Halftime Battle of the Bands