Category: Athletics

Reece Wright holding a basketball.

Reece Wright: The Little Lion Who Became the Heart of Lions Basketball

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By Jet Turner, Assistant Director of Communications

Reece Wright looked at his mother and pointed to her nose, not noticing the tears welling up in her eyes.

“Nose!” he said.

Ally Wright, Reece’s mother, could not help but smile. At just two years old, Reece already knows how to keep his parents grounded and focused on what is most important in life: their family.

Unaware that just minutes earlier Langston University’s Men’s Basketball team and his father, Head Coach Chris Wright, watched the NAIA Men’s National Championship slip through their fingers, Reece again pointed to Ally’s face.

“Ears!” he said, a smile creeping across his face.

“Reece is just happy to be here,” Ally said. “He has no idea what’s going on or that we just lost, but that keeps us grounded and know that, yes losing and what’s going on in this moment is important, but this isn’t everything.”

Ally and Chris Wright embrace after losing the NAIA National Championship.
Chris and Ally Wright embrace after losing the NAIA National Championship. Reece is just happy to be here.

That has been among Reece’s variety of roles all season, as he has been a source of stability, strength, encouragement and joy for all members of the team.

But with all the support Reece has given this year, Reece needed his share of support too after a surprise diagnosis shocked the Wrights during basketball season.

During Reece’s regular 18-month checkup in May 2023, he failed his autism screening. This qualified him for a neuropsych evaluation, but his evaluation could not happen until he was two years old. An appointment was scheduled for December 2023.

Chris, Ally and Reece Wright after winning the Sooner Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship.
Chris, Ally and Reece Wright after winning the Sooner Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship.

“At that time, we weren’t really concerned,” Ally said. “We knew at that point Reece was a little speech delayed… and that is what his pediatrician thought was the reason for his failed autism screening, and it wasn’t due to something else.”

In July, just two months after the Wrights were told there was nothing to worry about, Reece had a severe speech regression. He lost all the words and sign language he knew at that time.

Ally and Chris called his pediatrician and were able to get Reece into private speech therapy. A follow-up appointment was made, and Reece was seen by his pediatrician again in August.

After having Reece’s hearing checked, the pediatrician reassured Chris and Ally that his regression was not related to autism, for autistic children usually also regress in motor skills, and Reece had no such regression.

Several months of private speech therapy passed and Reece began to not only relearn the words and sign language he lost, but also add more signs and words to his vocabulary. This progress continued through the beginning of basketball practice in October, and the season’s beginning in November.

At his 2-year-old appointment in December, Reece narrowly passed his autism screening test, but his pediatrician was becoming concerned about his mannerisms, with head shaking and arm flailing being new developments at the time.

The following day Reece had his neuropsych evaluation.

“It was pretty awful,” Ally said. “You’re in a very small room, and it’s just Chris, myself and Reece, who is only a day older than two, and this doctor for five hours. Reece was bouncing off the walls because you can only entertain a 2-year-old for so long, and Chris and I had to fill out a million questionnaires. We had to talk through our daily routine, what we love about Reece, what he struggles with, and more.”

It took four weeks for Reece’s results to come back. In the meantime, Reece was also evaluated for SoonerStart with the goal of getting Reece more speech therapy. SoonerStart is “Oklahoma’s early intervention program designed to meet the needs of families with infants or toddlers (ages birth to 3 years old) with developmental delays and/or disabilities in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),” according to oklahoma.gov.

SoonerStart’s autism screening is on a much smaller scale than the neuropsych evaluation, and it additionally evaluates other items like fine motor skills and speech.

Reece’s autism screening through SoonerStart came back with little to no concern, and with only a 10% delay in his speech.

“I think it gave Chris and I a false sense of relief where we thought everything was going to be fine,” Ally said.

Finally, January 4, 2024, the day Langston University was slated to play its 12th game of the season against Mid-American Christian University (MACU), Chris and Ally went in to receive the results of Reece’s neuropsych evaluation.

The doctor began meticulously going over the results page by page.

“I’m agreeing with some of what (the doctor) said but some of it I don’t think is as severe,” Ally said. “(Reece is) only two. He’s changing all the time.”

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is currently organized into three classifications, with ASD Level 1 being the least severe, and ASD Level 3 being the most severe.

Reece was diagnosed with ASD Level 2, meaning Reece would need substantial support. This came just days after receiving a screening with little to no concern for autism from SoonerStart.

“You just don’t give a damn about a basketball game in that moment,” Chris said.

The Langston University Men’s Basketball staff knew what was going on, and Chris had to lean on them and trust his players more than at any other moment in his coaching career as they prepared for that afternoon’s game against MACU.

Langston University Men's Basketball Coaching Staff watch a play during a game.
Langston University Men’s Basketball Coaches, from left to right, Chris Vincent, Chris Wright and Jon Warren.

When Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Vincent found out about Reece’s diagnosis, he was ready to give the Wrights the support they needed.

“(They are) not alone,” Vincent said. “We are all here, players, staff, everyone. And all of us on that day could feel that emotion. Being able to uplift (the Wrights) was really important.”

Langston University went on to beat MACU 79-60.

Senior Toru Dean said he was happy the team was able to come together and continue winning for Coach Chris Wright.

“I feel for Coach Wright,” Dean said. “We’re in the middle of the season talking about winning a national championship and something like this happens, you find out Reece has autism, and it’s a heartbreaker because Reece is a little brother to us. Mentally, we are going through the same thing as Reece. We are all on this bright stage to do it for Reece.”

In the locker room after a win, the men’s basketball team will lock arms in a circle and chant the names of everyone who participated during the game in a tradition they call “put ups,” including coaches, players on the bench and others.

After the team’s win at MACU, Ally was not thinking about put ups until, suddenly, student assistant coach J.P. Walz came sprinting out of the locker room asking for Reece.

Walz explained that the team refused to do put ups without Reece. Being one of the few people who Reece will allow to hold him, Ally handed Reece to Walz, and Walz sprinted down into the locker room.

“I think there’s a lot of things about coaching college basketball that’s really difficult or maybe the average person just wouldn’t get,” Chris said. “But for me, the coolest part about being able to do this is we really get to do it as a family.”

Reece is a part of the team, and the team is a part of the Wright family.

For many players, if you are being recruited by Langston University, one of the first stops you make is at the Wrights’ home. Chris and his staff make it a point to not only recruit talented players, but players with a good heart as well.

Once you are on the team you not only get used to seeing Ally and Reece around, you expect it.

Ally and Chris worked hard to ensure Reece was comfortable around the basketball team from an early age. Reece was introduced to his first team while the Wrights were still at Talladega College when he was just 10 days old. Reece attended his first game when he was only a month old.

Ally and Chris Wright holding 1-month-old Reece Wright at Talladega College.
Ally and Chris Wright holding 1-month-old Reece Wright at Talladega College.

“Reece’s relationship with the big boys (Reece’s word for the basketball players) is everything I dreamed it would be,” Ally said. “I love that he’s obsessed with them. It warms my heart. I just think it’s so important he gets to know them. I think that’s part of being a coaching family. Families that don’t get to bond with their players like that and don’t get to make that connection miss out on so much.

“It’s so much more than just basketball. You get to have bonds with these players that you would never get to have with other people, and to extend that past Chris and I and have Reece get to form these relationships now is really special.”

To Chris, Reece has become another member of his staff. On game day in C.F. Gayles Field House, Reece is found on the Marques Haynes Court stretching with the big boys, passing the basketball back and forth, running sprints and much more.

Reece Wright on Marquis Haynes Court.
Reece helps supervise warm up before a home game.

To the players, Reece is their motivation.

Senior Cortez Mosley said seeing Ally, Chris and Reece still giving the team their all after the adversity they faced this year encourages him to play his hardest.

“Reece is our little energy guy,” Mosley said. “I need my high five from Reece every game. Reece man, with all the stuff he’s been through and coach and Ally, he just enlightens us. When I see Reece, I’m motivated to play good.”

And Reece, undoubtedly, loves his big boys.

During the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament in Kansas City, Langston University’s team, including coaches and their families, shared a hotel floor. Once Reece realized all the players were staying around him, he wanted to spend all his time with them.

Reece, with toys in hand, would pace up and down the hotel hallway waiting for one of the players to leave their room so they could play with him. The players would help Reece put his puzzles together or play with his trucks. When they would leave, Reece would wait for the next one.

“Reece’s interactions with the players are great for him,” Chris said. “But I also think it’s really good for our guys. When you’re in such a high intense environment, like the national tournament, there’s so much adrenaline and the magnitude of each game is so big it really weighs heavily on you. Having Reece there hopefully makes them a little less stressed and helps them take a step back from their stress.”

Cortez Mosley lifts up Reece Wright after a game at C.F. Gayles Field House at Langston University
Cortez Mosley and Reece Wright play after a home game.

Langston University Men’s basketball team ended its season 35-2, winning the Sooner Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships for the second straight year, capping off the season with a trip to the national championship game.

Even though the Lions lost the national championship in heartbreaking fashion, losing to Freed-Hardeman University 71-67, their team family is closer than ever. Reece is not just the glue that holds them together, he is the person that makes them special.

“I think Reece brings a lot of joy and positivity to our team,” Chris said. “We are a family, and he is an example of that. Reece is the most important thing in our life, and we trust them with him. I think that’s part of showing the team that you are part of our family, and we are going to treat you as such.

“It just solidifies the fact that our program is family.”

Langston University's Men's Basketball Team, along with University administration, celebrate a Sooner Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship.
Langston University’s Men’s Basketball Team, along with University administration, celebrate a Sooner Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship.
Coach Kevin Herod speaking with the Lady Lions during a time-out

Langston University women’s basketball head coach resigns

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LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University Director of Athletics Donnita Drain-Rogers announced today that Kevin Herod has stepped down as the Lady Lions head women’s basketball coach to become head coach at Florida Memorial University.

“I would like to thank Coach (Kevin) Herod for his time serving as the head women’s basketball coach, he helped re-establish the women’s basketball presence in the state of Oklahoma and on the NAIA national stage,” Drain-Rogers said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Herod led the Lady Lions to a 24-8 record and an NAIA National Tournament appearance for the 2023-24 season. The Lady Lions had an overall record of 41-21 during Herod’s two years at Langston University.

“I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving as the head women’s basketball coach at Langston University for the past two years,” Herod said. “As I bid farewell after two rewarding seasons, the achievements, both academically and athletically, we’ve been able to accomplish fill me with pride. The memories and bonds formed here will forever be a treasured part of my life.”

Langston University will launch a national search for the next head women’s basketball coach. Information will be posted to langstonsports.com. 

Coach Chris Wright graphic

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR CHRIS WRIGHT, HEAD MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

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Langston University Office of Public Relations

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University has announced an extension to retain head men’s basketball coach Chris Wright for the next four years, after a remarkable first season with the Lions. The contract extension will be ratified by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents in April.

“I have never witnessed this magnitude of a program shift in one year,” said athletic director Donnita Drain Rogers. “The total culture of the men’s basketball program has been impacted by Coach Wright’s leadership.”

“Coach Wright has successfully fostered growth within the Langston University Men’s Basketball program both athletically and academically,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson. “Our Men’s Basketball team had an average GPA of 3.14 for the Fall semester, which is commendable of any team and especially one competing at this level. The accomplishments of his student-athletes in the classroom are as impressive as their performance on the court.” Of its 16 members, 11 of the Lions earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the Fall 2022 semester.

The 2022-2023 Lions have achieved the most successful year-to-year turnaround of any collegiate men’s basketball program in history. In their first season with Wright at the helm, the Lions went 29-2 overall in the season, making history as the first HBCU to win the Sooner Athletic Conference regular season and the conference tournament. The transformation of this program cannot be overstated and has garnered national attention.

“The success Coach Wright brings to this team and to our institution is special,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University. “Their impact is not isolated to athletics alone; it’s building positive momentum for the institution at large. There are a lot of programs that would benefit from his style of coaching. We are happy that Coach Wright has found his home here at Dear Langston.”

“Langston University is a very special place. Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community have truly rallied around our program and helped us create a culture of success,” Wright said. “The commitment from our president, director of athletics, administration, and everyone supporting our team has changed my life and the lives of the young men in this program for the better.”

Langston University hosted the first and second rounds of the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship on campus, where the Lions clinched a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen in Kansas City, Missouri. Now 31-2 overall in a storybook season, Langston University and Chris Wright look forward to creating a winning program for years to come.

2023 NAIA Mens Basketball Tournament Langston University graphic

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY TO HOST 2023 NAIA NATIONAL MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT FIRST & SECOND ROUNDS

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By Jet Turner, Langston University Office of Public Relations

LANGSTON, Okla. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Thursday that Langston University has been selected as one of 16 sites to host the 2023 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship First & Second Rounds, presented by Ballogy.

This is the first time Langston University has been chosen as a host site for the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship First & Second Rounds, capping off what has been a historic season for the Lions.

“It is an incredible honor for Langston University to be picked out of all the NAIA schools that play intercollegiate basketball,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Wright said. “For us to be one of 16 sites picked to host is a tremendous honor for our university and our program. Our student athletes deserve a lot of credit for what they have done on the court to put us in this position.”

Langston University’s historic Men’s Basketball season began when the Lions, after winning only one game in the last two seasons, began the season with a 16-game win streak. The Lions ended the regular season with a 26-2 record, 20-2 in conference play, clinching the Regular Season Sooner Athletic Conference Championship for the first time in program history, becoming the first HBCU to win the conference.

This success has brought the Men’s Basketball team to national prominence, becoming the biggest program turnaround in collegiate basketball history.

“It is so exciting to be a part of this historic basketball journey,” Langston University Director of Athletics Donnita Rogers said. “I need Lion Nation to show up to these opening round games in large numbers to ensure that we are the first stop for the national tournament for years to come!”

The homefield advantage this gives Langston University in the NAIA Men’s National Tournament cannot be understated.

“We are undefeated here at home this year,” Wright said. “Someone is going to have to play really well to beat us in C.F. Gayles Field House. To have that type of advantage in March is big.”

Each first and second round site will feature four teams and will play single elimination on Tuesday & Wednesday, March 7-8. The winner of the final game will go to the NAIA National Championship Final Site in Kansas City, Mo.

The field of 64 teams for the 2023 NAIA Men’s and Women’s National Tournament will be announced at 7:00 p.m. March 2, 2023, during the selection show on the NAIA’s Official YouTube channel.

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS & MARCHING PRIDE BAND SIGNED AN EXCLUSIVE APPAREL AGREEMENT WITH ADIDAS

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS & MARCHING PRIDE BAND SIGNED AN EXCLUSIVE APPAREL AGREEMENT WITH ADIDAS

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

Langston, Oklahoma – Langston University and Adidas have entered into an exclusive contract agreement. Adidas is now the official provider of LU apparel, uniforms, footwear, and equipment. This exclusive contract will represent each of the University’s intercollegiate athletic programs and the Marching Pride Band.

“This is so exciting. We have the opportunity to bring every program under the same brand for the first time in the school’s history,” said LU Athletic Director, Donnita Rogers.

LU Athletics has also signed an agreement with a local partner, Midwest Sporting Goods. “We not only get to work with a national brand, but we are also partnering with another company located in the state of Oklahoma. This means these tax dollars will stay right here,” said LU President, Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr.

During this process, LU had offers from three major national brands. “One of the reasons we chose Midwest and Adidas was because of their commitment to service,” said Smith.

“It was important to us that we partner with someone who cares about our university community the way we do, I believe that we found that through this partnership.”

LU Athletics is an official member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). “This is a very special day for LU. The reality is our Athletic Director is building a national powerhouse in Athletics,” said Dr. Smith.

“We are not only recruiting incredible talent, but they are performing well in the classroom. Not many institutions can tout that, and that makes me very proud.”

Order your official Langston University Gear at https://lulions.itemorder.com/sale.

PHILIP STITT NAMED HEAD MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

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LANGSTON, Okla. – Director of Athletics Donnita Drain has announced the appointment of Philip Stitt as the head men’s basketball coach at Langston University. Stitt has more than 25 years of coaching experience, including seven years at the NCAA DI level, ten years at the NCAA DII level and 11 years at the junior college level.

“I am more than thrilled and excited to see the direction of Langston University men’s basketball under Coach Stitt,” Director of Athletics Donnita Drain said. “We had a tremendous pool of candidates which included over 60 applicants with various coaching backgrounds from successful high school coaches all the way up to the NCAA DI level. Through it all we had a great screening committee comprised of several alumni, including former lettermen athletes, and current administrators at Langston University. Coach (Philip) Stitt came through with shining colors. He has a rich experience of coaching at other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), tremendous championship experience, and he’s a proven winner and recruiter.”

Stitt most recently coached at Marion Military Institute (MMI) in Marian, Ala. where he led MMI to a 77-33 record over the past four seasons. During that time span, Stitt has coached two NJCAA All-Americans, two ACCC All-Region 22 performers and three NJCAA Academic All-Americans while consistently being ranked in the top 25 and clinching the ACCC/NJCAA Region 22 Championship in 2015-16. Stitt has also received coaching accolades during his time at MMI where he was named the NJCAA Region II Coach of the Year, the NJCAA District 12 Coach of the Year and Birmingham’s Tip-off Club’s Alabama Junior College Coach of the Year in 2015-16. Over the span of 28 seasons, Stitt holds a record of 100-68 at MMI and a career coaching record of 215-156.

“I’m very excited, particularly after meeting with President (Dr. Kent J.) Smith, Jr., Director of Athletics Donnita (Drain) Rogers and the search committee,” the first-year head coach said. “Everybody has a passion for Langston University and I’m looking forward to working in that type of environment. One of the factors that stood out to me about Langston University is the people. In this business, the people are important. I’m excited to get started.’ Of Stitt, President Kent J. Smith, Jr., said “During the screening process, Coach Stitt showed tremendous attention to detail and his ability to recruit stood out. He also brings impressive HBCU experience which will serve him well at Langston University. I am confident that Coach Stitt will lead our Lions to continued success on and off the court.”

Stitt’s coaching career began in 1991 as an assistant at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Fla. After spending three seasons with the Stars, he moved on as the assistant coach at NCAA DI Jacksonville University. In 1997 Stitt joined the coaching staff at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C. In his only season at Fayetteville State University, the Broncos finished with a 17-10 record, tied for second place in the CIAA Western Division. The next season, Stitt became an assistant at Winston Salem State University (WSSU). At WSSU, he was part of five 20-win seasons, two CIAA conference championships, five NCAA Division II tournament berths and two NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearances. He was also named the 2004-2005 CIAA Coach of the year.

Stitt returned to Florida Community College in 2006 to take over the program as head coach for two seasons before moving on to Grambling State University (NCAA DI) as the Associate Head Coach (2008-2009). Stitt has also served as assistant men’s basketball coach at Fayetteville State University (NCAA DII), North Carolina A&T State University (NCAA DI) and Florida State College at Jacksonville before arriving in Marion, Ala.

Director of Athletics Donnita Drain would like to thank the alumni, lettermen, and University supporters who assisted in the screening and interview process for this important search including Dr. James Mosely, Judge Kenneth Watson, Dr. Kevin Cox, Ms. Lateka Alexander, and Ms. Mariea’ Drain. The contributions of our alumni to the interview and screening process were invaluable, and their input further solidified the selection of Mr. Stitt as the next head coach of Langston University Men’s Basketball.

The Langston University Department of Athletics will hold a press conference to welcome Coach Stitt on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Langston University – Oklahoma City Campus located at 6700 N Martin Luther King Avenue in Oklahoma City.

Elaine Powell graphic

ELAINE POWELL, FORMER WNBA PLAYER TO LEAD LU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM AS NEW HEAD COACH

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

OKLAHOMA CITY – Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University (LU), announced today the appointment of former WNBA player Elaine Powell as the new head coach for the women’s basketball team.

“We are excited about Coach Powell joining the Langston University Athletics Department as she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team. She has inherited a program with a longstanding history of excellence and we know from her track record, she will ensure that our legacy is preserved,” said Dr. Smith.

Coach Powell joins LU Athletics having previously served as an assistant coach for women’s basketball programs at Alabama A&M, Ohio University and Grambling State University. She spent nearly a decade playing in the WNBA, where she earned numerous awards and honors. Under former coach and Detroit Pistons player Bill Laimbeer, she was a three-time WNBA champion with the Detroit Shock. Prior to her professional basketball career, she was a student-athlete at Louisiana State University (LSU) where she was a Kodak All-American and finished her career as LSU’s 11th all-time leading scorer with 1,163 points. She was the first player in LSU history to be drafted into the WNBA.

“Elaine Powell is a proven leader whose dedication and commitment to excellence has shown in her work while coaching at numerous NCAA Division 1 programs for more than 8 years. Prior to her collegiate coaching career, she was a student athlete at LSU, so she comes from a championship pedigree, which is what we strive for here at Langston University. She has served those institutions admirably, investing a great deal in the student athletes. We look forward to her bringing that same enthusiasm, devotion and student centric approach to our program,” said Donnita Drain Rogers, Athletic Director for Langston University.

Coach Powell succeeds Cheryl Miller, who had a record of 49-12 and two NAIA Tournament appearances during her two-year stint.

The Lady Lions finished the 2014-15 season with a 29-4 record, and won the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Championship over Our Lady of the Lake. The Lady Lions finished the 2015-16 season with a final record of 20-8 and received a third straight bid to the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship tournament in Independence, Missouri. Langston received three selections to the Red River All-Conference team; and two students were named to the NAIA Women’s Basketball All-America honorable mention team for their efforts.

“Cheryl Miller has been a tremendous asset to the University’s sports program and we appreciate all of her efforts to strengthen our women’s basketball team. She was a role model both on and off of the court to the players and entire University community. We wish her well in her future endeavors,” said Dr. Smith.

Langston University is a public historically black college enrolling a close-knit community of under 4,000 students. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County just 10 miles east of Guthrie and 42 miles from Oklahoma City. Langston offers over 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. To learn more, please visit the Langston University website at http://www.langston.edu.

Cheryl Miller

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY’S WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH, CHERYL MILLER, NAMED AMONG 30 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN COLLEGE SPORTS

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University is proud to announce the head coach of the women’s basketball team, Cheryl Miller, was included among the 30 most influential women in college sports. In February, the Sports Management Degree Guide ranked Miller No. 10 among other legendary coaches including Pat Summitt, Tara VanDerveer, and Muffet McGraw. The ranking was created to recognize prominent female athletes who helped pave the way for women to participate and excel in intercollegiate sports.

Cheryl Miller joined the Langston Lady Lions in 2014 after a celebrated athletic career. As a four-time All-American, she was recruited as a forward to the University of Southern California. Miller scored a history-making 3,018 career points and claimed 1,534 rebounds. She led the Trojans to an impressive 112-20 record and was named MVP in two NCAA championships. Cheryl Miller won the Naismith Award, Broderick Award, and the 1984 Olympic gold medal. She also served as a sideline reporter for Thursday night NBA coverage on TNT.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer has coached the Langston women’s basketball squad to victory. In her first year, the Lady Lions defeated Our Lady of the Lake for the 2015 Red River Athletic Conference tournament title. This year’s team ended the season with a winning 20-8 record. “Langston University is honored to have such a distinguished coach,” said Langston University President, Dr. Kent J. Smith Jr. “Cheryl Miller has excelled in training our women’s basketball team for success on and off the court. She brings intelligence, discipline, experience, and enthusiasm to our sidelines.”

Langston University is a small, public historically black college enrolling a close-knit community of under 4,000 students. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County just 10 miles east of Guthrie and 42 miles from Oklahoma City. Langston offers over 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Student-athletes compete for the Lions in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division. Along with basketball, Langston’s varsity sports include cross-country, football, cheerleading, softball, volleyball, and track and field.

Read more about the respected collegiate and WNBA career of Coach Cheryl Miller at the following link: http://www.langston.edu/news/langston-university-names-hall-famer-cheryl-miller-head-women-99s-coach.

Sports Management Degree Guide offers free, online resources for undergraduate and graduate students interested in studying sports business. The website helps guide readers to building successful careers in the in-demand athletics industry. Students can find mini courses, info graphics, articles, blogs, and FAQs to answer questions about obtaining a quality education in sports management. Read the full article titled “30 Most Influential Women in College Sports” at: http://www.sports-management-degrees.com/30-most-influential-women-in-college-sports/.

QUINTON MORGAN

LANGSTON ALUMNUS, QUINTON MORGAN, NAMED NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH FOR THE LANGSTON LIONS

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Former Langston University (LU) football player and alumnus, Quinton Morgan, was recently named the permanent head football coach for the Langston Lions football team effective immediately.

In October, he took on the role of interim head coach for the remaining five games of the season and his leadership strongly impacted on the team’s performance. Under his leadership, the team experienced success with no losses (5-0), averaging 43.6 points per game, and outscored their opponents 218 to 65. Although Langston finished No. 2 in conference, they completed the season with a better overall record of 7-3. “Hard work is the company of success,” coach Morgan said.

He is a proven leader in athletics and has served on the LU coaching staff for more than 10 years. In 2011, he assumed the role as interim head coach for the LU softball team. It was under his direction, the team secured a record of 31 wins and advanced to the Red River Athletic Conference postseason tournament for the first time. His leadership steered the women to one of the best seasons in LU softball history.

Upon his appointment as head football coach, he outlined his goals and a strategic plan for recruitment and player management initiatives for the football program.

“He is committed to improving the academic and athletic performance of his players, increasing the athletic program’s graduation rates, and plans to increase visibility in high schools to help boost recruitment and retention numbers,” said Donnita Drain Rogers, LU Athletic Director.

“The Langston Lions plan to come back strong next season, and after watching coach Morgan perform from the sideline, this is truly possible,” said Rogers.

Prior to coaching, he earned a bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation in 2005 and a master’s degree in urban education in 2010 from Langston University.

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including five masters degrees and one doctoral program. To learn more about Langston University, go to http://www.langston.edu or visit the newly updated http://www.langstonsports.com.

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES 2015 HOMECOMING GRAND MARSHAL

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By Koshia Silver, Director of Public Relations

LANGSTON, Okla. —Langston University homecoming, the EvoLUtion will start off with Cheryl Miller as the grand marshal. Homecoming is Oct. 12-17, 2015, with Miller leading the annual parade and kicking off festivities on Saturday.

“We are excited to have one of Langston University’s newest members, Coach Cheryl Miller serve as our homecoming grand marshal,” said Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University.

“Cheryl has been a great addition to our campus and has shown she has the true spirit of a lion. Cheryl leads our girls not only on the court, but instills the quality of leadership and provides the mentorship they need to thrive.”

Coach Cheryl Miller was appointed as Langston University head women’s basketball coach in April 2014. Miller was a three-time national player of the year at the University of Southern California, leading the Women of Troy to national championships in both 1983 and ’84 and playing on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. She went on to coach in the WNBA for four seasons before beginning a career as a national sports broadcaster.

The NCAA named Miller one of the top five collegiate basketball players in NCAA history. Miller was USC’s head women’s coach for two years in the mid ’90s, and then coached the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA from 1997 to 2000. Miller led LU’s women’s basketball team through a great 2014-15 season, finishing with a 28-4 record.

Homecoming is an anticipated tradition at Langston University. Events are scheduled each day during the week of homecoming, such as the annual Gospel Fest, President’s Scholarship Gala, Greek Step Show, and the coronation of Mr. and Miss Langston University. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17, while the football game begins at 2 p.m. against Southwestern Assemblies of God.

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Langston offers over 38 degree programs, including five masters degrees and one doctoral program. For more information on Langston University homecoming and to purchase tickets, visit www.langston.edu/homecoming.

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