PRESERVING HISTORY & LEGACIES
Track (and Field) is Alive and Well
MEAC WOMEN'S 50th ANNIVERSARY TEAM BASKETBALL
South Carolina State
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was founded in 1970 and began competing in football in 1971. A year later, the first men’s basketball tournament was held. The women first hit the tournament court in 1978, the same year the MEAC selected its first full-time commissioner, Kenneth A. Free, who served as Commissioner until 1995. South Carolina State won the first two tournaments. Dr. Dennis Thomas has been the commissioner since 2002. The 50th Anniversary team is an impressive lineup of players who left their mark on women’s basketball in the MEAC. See the 50th Anniversary Team
A CELEBRATION of BLACK COLLEGE HISTORY in SPORTS
A Bulldog Legend
Mar. 31, 1936 - Nov. 17, 2004
Willie Simon put together a remarkable 14-year career at S.C. State and became its all-time winningest women’s basketball coach. A standout athlete at then-Lake View High School in West Columbia, Simon went on to attend Allen University in Columbia. In his spare time, Simon played Sandlot Baseball for The West Columbia Braves.
After college, his first coaching job was at Lexington Rosenwald High School from 1956-1968. Simon coached football, boy’s and girl’s basketball.
Always lacking adequate resources to buy equipment, in 11 years Simon’s teams won seven state and nine Football Conference championships while posting a 99-15-4 record.
Simon’s college coaching career begin when he left to coach baseball for one season at his alma mater Allen University from 1968 -1969 before becoming the head baseball coach at South Carolina State College.
Simon coached the Bulldogs to the Southeastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference baseball championships between 1969-73 and sent Gene Richards and Willie Mays Aikens to Major League Baseball.
From 1969-1987, he was an assistant to Bulldogs legendary football coach Willie Jeffries
and was a part of three MEAC championships and one black college national championship.
Simon girls’ basketball teams won four district championships and the boys’ teams nine district championships and a state championship.
Simon’s Lady Bulldogs team won the AIAW National Championship in 1978-79 in a thrilling 73-68 win over Dayton. From 1974-1988, Simon won 121 games during his first four seasons and retired with 305 wins and 93 losses in 18 seasons. He also served as track and volleyball coach from 1979-82.
Simon is a member of the SC State Athletic Hall of Fame, the Allen University Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Lakeview and Lexington Rosenwald Commemorative Calendars by Historic Schools Legacy Foundation.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY was chartered as the State Normal School for Colored Persons, only the second state-supported institution of higher learning in Kentucky.
JEAN PATTON became the first of the famed TENNESSEE STATE TIGERBELLES to become a World Record holder. She was a two-time 100 M champion in 1949 – 50; the 200 M champion in 1951; and in the 1951 Pan Am Games, Patton won a gold medal in the 200M and 4x100M relay. She added a silver medal in the 100M Sprints.
(Jan. 22) BETTYE MCCLENDON became the FIRST FEMALE to officiate a Men’s Basketball Game…other firsts: FIRST FEMALE STARTER (Track & Field)…FIRST FEMALE to call an NCAA Div. II Women’s Basketball Tournament Game.
CHEYNEY STATE Lady Wolves future Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer led the Lady Wolves to their first-ever appearance in the AIAW National Tournament. They lost to Kansas, 75-66 in the first round.
JACKSON STATE Lady Tigers made their first appearance in the AIAW National Tournament. They defeated Minnesota 68-65 in the first round but lost to Louisiana Tech, 97-50 in the second round.
HAMPTON UNIVERSITY led by All-American guards Jackie Dolberry and Vernice Frazer won their first NCAA Div. II women’s basketball championship after a 33-1 record. They were coached by Hall of Famer James Sweat.
SHAW UNIVERSITY Lady Bears captured their first NCAA Div. II national women’s basketball title.