By Cameron Ferguson and Zakiyyah Williamson
Contributors Cameron Ferguson and Zakiyyah Williamson sat down with Brian Holloway, A&T’s associate athletics director/communications, to talk about what’s new, what’s coming and what’s current in Aggie sports. Here’s what they found out.
ZW: What can we expect from the new teams that are being added to the sports department and NCAT?
BH: “We think that the new teams will add a bit of diversity to the school. With the women’s soccer being added to the roster, we believe that this will bring a lot of NC students to the school because soccer is such a growing sport. It not only will give us diversity from the gender perspective but from a racial perspective as well, those sports will allow us to compete for more championships which are the goal.”
ZW: What kind of feel will these new sports teams bring to the University?
BH: “I believe the sports will bring a different type of student to the school which will help us expand and grow. The idea is to have a 70/30 split with African-American and Non-African-American. These sports will give us an opportunity to reach out to those students and not just the typical student.”
ZW: How will these new sports teams get introduced to the university? In what way is the sports department going to get the word out?
BH: “We plan to use our social media platforms. We will be posting things on the website and we will also use our marketing and public relations teams here at the university. One thing we can get better at is reaching out to our students and fan base, a lot of people know about the football and basketball. We have a very good bowling team and this past week our track team won the championship.”
ZW: What’s your favorite part about being the sports information director?
BH: “I think just being able to interact with the student athletes and student body. This keeps me young and it’s fun to see their experiences because they are different than mine. We have quite a few interns that come here and the way that they see life it enhances the way I see things, it adds to my perspective on things and getting into a couple of games for free is always fun.”
CF: How can the men’s basketball team can bounce back to win more games for next season?
BH: “Some of the time was cut throughout the week. Most teams get 20 hours a week but it was cut down to 16 hours to improve their academic progress rate score. The single score looks pretty good but he wants the 4-year score to be above. It makes a difference when you try to build a program like Coach Joyner where you don’t have the same amount of the time that you use to practice. The number of practice hours is going to improve the team to win games and he wants to get the type of player that he wants to coach. Every coach has their own style of coaching. Also, there were three players that had to sit out last year but playing next year and they’re going to make an impact for our team as well”.
CF: What does the football team need to do to go back into the Celebration Bowl?
BH: “The football team needs to stay healthy throughout the season. When we played NCCU, we didn’t have our two top quarterbacks because they were injured. Khalil Carter got hurt early in the season and then Lamar Reynard got hurt late in the season so that leaves them with their third string quarterback. Central is a great team but he want to see the players at their full strength. For example, if the New England Patriots play without Tom Brady, they’re not the same team. If you don’t have a trigger man then it makes a difference. Football is all about staying healthy. We have good talent coming back even though Tarik Cohen left. North Carolina A&T football team is still the favorite of winning the MEAC Conference.”
CF: Are there any newcomers or returning starters who will make a difference on the football/basketball team?
BH: “In football, it’s always hard to tell. We have Jamari Smith out of USC transfer, Lamar Reynard is healthy and ready to come back. Marquell Cartwright, he’s not Tarik but he’s a good running back. He’s an all-conference type of running (back). Chris Garden, which he broke the NCAA record of punt returns a couple years. Elijah Bell and 9 other players returning. Coach Broadway has done an outstanding job of recruiting 15 or 16 players and building the program. For basketball it’s three players that sat out last year are returning. One from Oakland and two from Wagner. They’re going to make the biggest impact on the team and he also wants to sign four players. Davarius McGowens who lead in rebounding and Raymond Pratt who’s a solid defensive player is returning as well. They’re having a new scoreboard going on in Corbett Sport arena.”
CF: Is there anything that the team needs to improve?
BH: “We need to improve our support to make sure they provide the things that they need in order to become successful. Everybody needs to be invested in winning to make it easier for the coaching staff.”