HBCU Sports Roundup

By Tony McClean
Updated: August 5, 2008

HBCU BandNEW HAVEN, Ct. — Today, we’ll focus on men’s and women’s basketball, football, and other sports.


NikiReid Geckeler has been named head women’s basketball coach at Howard, Director of Athletics Dwight Datcher announced last Friday.

“Niki has a terrific professional reputation and a proven track record of winning at the collegiate level,” Datcher said. “I’m excited to have her on board.”

Reid Geckeler comes to Howard after 10 years at Georgetown University, where she served as an assistant coach, recruiting coordinator and academic advisor with the women’s basketball team. During her tenure, the Hoyas reached the Big East Championship game in 2005 and made three WNIT appearances. Additionally, she had eight players who earned All-BIG EAST All-Academic honors.

“I’m excited about joining the Howard family,” expressed Reid Geckler. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I’m honored to be part of such a historic university with a storied program.”

During the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons,Reid Geckeler served as the associate head coach at Fordham. Two players, Mobolaji Akiode and Monica Mack, were named Atlantic-10 Most Improved Player during her tenure.

In addition to her coaching accolades, Reid Geckeler was also a standout student-athlete at Georgetown. She was a four-year starter at point guard and upon graduating in 1993 with a degree in psychology, she left the Hoya women’s basketball program as the school’s leader in assists and three-point field goal percentage.


Members of the Claflin University and Delaware State University men’s basketball teams will travel to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in August to participate in the inaugural Trinidad and Tobago Hoops Classic.

The four-team, two-game format tournament with an All-Star game will be played at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus. The two teams will be pitted against two local All-Star teams.

As Claflin’s record was the best among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the 2007/2008 season (24-2) we wish to invite you to participate,” wrote Brian Manning, president of the National Basketball Federation of Trinidad and Tobago. “Obviously with your support, the tournament will provide our basketball fraternity with the necessary international blend for this inaugural event.”

The tournament is designed to provide its participants with an unforgettable experience of top quality basketball and high energy entertainment featuring top local artists and dancers in a carnival-like atmosphere, with live television coverage throughout the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. A welcome reception, closing ceremony, site seeing tours and beach outing are among the activities planned for the basketball team.

“We are going there to win,” Claflin Coach Ron Woodard said. “This is a great opportunity for international exposure for our guys and to get revved up for the upcoming season. We are honored to be chosen to participate in the inaugural Trinidad and Tobago Hoops Classic. That means a lot and says a lot about the caliber of our basketball program.”

“This trip will give our guys a chance to prepare for the upcoming season,” said Del State head coach Greg Jackson. “The additional time will be beneficial to our team. The opportunity to travel to another country, experience its culture and play basketball is immeasurable. I think this will be a tremendous experience for our players, coaches and support staff.”

Trinidad and Tobago boasts oil industries, Carnival –described as the greatest street parade in the world, the only musical invention in the 20th century — the steel pan, beautiful beaches and wildlife adventure. The tournament’s goal is to expose some of the best local and regional talent against top NCAA college programs from the United States.

“We believe that the tournament is a great catalyst for developing the game in Trinidad and Tobago,” Manning said.


For the second consecutive season and 29th time in the past 30 years, the Southwestern Athletic Conference led the nation in football attendance.

Since the beginning of the Football Championship Subdivision (previously known as Division 1-AA) in 1978, the SWAC has consistently led the nation in attendance. Only in the 2005 season, when Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita caused damage to the Gulf Coast region of the United States forcing games to be cancelled, did the SWAC not lead the nation in attendance.

In 2007, an average of 15,614 attended SWAC home games, a slight increase from 2006. All totaled, 811,938 fans attended SWAC home games in 2007.

The SWAC had five teams in the top 26 in the nation in average home attendance led by Southern University.

The home of the “Jaguar Nation” finished sixth overall in the country with an average of 18,913 for their five home games at A.W. Mumford Stadium.


Former Elizabeth City State women’s basketball standout Celeste Trahan has signed to play professionally for the Saarlouis Royals of the German DBBL Women’s Basketball League starting play this August.

Trahan will depart for Germany from her native California on August 10th. The Royals compete in a Division-1 league which can send teams to compete for the EuroCup. For the past two seasons the Royals have finished as the runners-up for the league championship. Their season is slated for tip-off on August 27th.

This past May she graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Education. Later that month the CIAA named her the 2008 CIAA Female Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Celeste finished a storied career at ECSU as the school’s all-time leader in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. Amongst CIAA career leaders she finished fourth in scoring, second in rebounding and 15th in steals.

The 2008 Daktronics Division II National Player of the Year, Trahan permanently etched her name the record books during the 2007-08 season becoming the first woman in NCAA Division II history to record 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds in a career.

A two-time CIAA Player of the Year (2007, 2008) , she was also tabbed at the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and was the first basketball player in ECSU history (male or female) to be named All-CIAA four straight years. Her jersey (No. 00) was retired by the University on February 16, 2008, the first female and fourth person overall to receive that honor.

During her career she averaged a double-double of 19.7 points and 14.1 rebounds per game, led NCAA Division II in rebounding three of four years and amassed 84 double doubles in 109 career games. Her junior season led ECSU to their only post season berth in (2006-07).


The Prairie View A&M University Athletics Department has been named a NCAA 2007-08 Diversity in Athletics Award winner in the category of Value and Attitudinal Diversity.

“We’re excited to be recognized by the NCAA in the area of Diversity. Prairie View A&M University in general has worked hard to create an enviornment that is inclusive and diverse and our athletics program is no different,” said PVAMU’s athletics director Fred Washington.

“We’re always delighted to be recognized for our efforts but it is even more rewarding when we receive one that reflects our efforts to support our student-athletes. This accolade is just one more indicator that we have our priorities in the right place.”

Overall Prairie View A&M was one of two member institutions of Southwestern Athletic Conference selected to receive such honors. An Official Certificate of Recognition was sent to the department by Chris Ruckdaschel who currently serves as the NCAA’s Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

NOTE: For a complete listing of 2007-08 Division I Diversity Award Winners, go to the NCAA website at http://www.ncaa.org/wps/ncaa?ContentID=5002 .