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CIAA Kicks Off 2015 Football Season With Media Day Luncheon

By Randy Singleton

Community Affairs Correspondent

New Journal and Guide

DURHAM, N.C.

The CIAA officially kicked off its 2015 football season with a Media Day Luncheon at the Marriott Research Triangle Park Hotel in Durham, NC. Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams and all 12 of the CIAA head football coaches interviewed with the press and discussed the upcoming season with fans and alumni.

Winston Salem was predicted to finish in first place, followed by Virginia State and Virginia Union. The New Journal and GuideinterviewedVirginia Union athletic director Joe Taylor (better known to our readers for his 16-year winning tenure as head coach of Hampton University), Elizabeth City head coach WaverlyTillar, and new Virginia State University head coach Byron Thweatt.

Coach Taylor said, “Sixteen of the greatest years of my career were spent in the Hampton Roads area. We had a great time at Hampton University. My family and I enjoyed the whole occasion. My coaches have done a great job of recruiting the 757. We have some outstanding young people coming from the 757 to play for Virginia Union this year, so I look to see the Hampton Roads community at our games.”

ECSU coach Waverly Tillar spoke to the New Journal and Guide about the importance of ECSU alumni support in Hampton Roads. Coach Tillar said, “We talk to alums and depend on their support. This year, we are going to bring ‘Viking Pride’ back to Viking football. We are looking for a winning season this year. Our slogan this year is ‘Our Backs Are Against The Wall.’ We can get to the top with the support of our alumni.” New Virginia State head coach Byron Thweatt also discussed the importance of VSU alumni support in Hampton Roads. Coach Thweatt said, “I recruit the Tidewater area. The Tidewater area has been very good to us. We have a lot of players from that area. The alumni support of the Tidewater chapter is great. I had a chance to be around them this spring and summer and they give us so much support and they are behind us 100 percent. We will continue to recruit kids from that area. We will continue to further those relationships because I think it’s important to the success of Virginia State.” Commisioner McWilliams announced that the CIAA office has relocated from Hampton, Va. to Charlotte, NC and the championship football game will take place Nov. 14 at Durham County Stadium at 2 p.m. The 2016 CIAA basket ball tournament will take place Feb. 23-27 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

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The 2015 CIAA Predicted Order of Finish:

1. Winston-Salem State

2. Virginia State

3. Virginia Union

4. Fayetteville State

5. Bowie State

6. Elizabeth City State

7. Livingstone College

8. Shaw University

9. Chowan University

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10. Johnson C. Smith

11. St. Augustine’s University

12. The Lincoln University

2015

Preseason

All-CIAA Football Players From Hampton Roads:

Offense

OL Jhamil Haley, VSU, 6-3, 280, Jr., Portsmouth

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WR Jaivon Smaillwood, VSU, 6-2, 175, Sr., Virginia Beach

RB Kavon Bellamy, VSU, 5-10, 205, Jr., Hampton

Defense

DL Kemaree Alcorn, CU, 6-5, 260, So., Virginia Beach

LB Brandon Lynch, VSU, 6-1, 200, So., Norfolk

DB Darion Thomas, VSU, 6-0, 160, Sr., Virginia Beach

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