The Heritage Sports Radio Network (www.HSRN.com) has announced the establishment of the Conaway Cup Award, an annual award given to the HBCU national football champion in Division I and Division II. The inaugural award begins with champions from the 2011 season.Heritage Sports Radio Network
The award is named in honor of HSRN’s former Director of Communications and sideline reporter LeCounte Conaway who passed away November 21, 2011 following the network’s broadcast of the Florida Classic.
“For the dedication that he had to HBCU sports there is no person more worthy to have an award named on his behalf than LeCounte Conaway,” says HSRN CEO Omarr Bashir. “We hope that the Conaway Cup will add to and preserve the legacy of HBCU sports for generations to come in the spirit of LeCounte”.
Conaway was a vanguard of HBCU Sports publicity. As a sports information director at Maryland-Eastern Shore, Virginia State, Hampton, Shaw University, and Delaware State, Conaway’s tireless efforts brought major league attention to HBCU Sports. While at Hampton he and the late Norfolk State sports information director John Holley conceived the “Battle Of The Bay” which vaulted the annual Hampton versus Norfolk State football game into a premiere sports event in the Tidewater (VA) area.
Conaway’s impact was also present on the conference level. He was a key figure in helping to publicize the CIAA Basketball Tournament through a tour of duty in the conference which also helped its growth into becoming the second largest conference tournament in America.
He advanced the brand of HBCU Sports by combining modern technology, passion, and an unprecedented work ethic. His dream was to place HBCU Sports on a national platform and it was the skills he developed in media relations that helped him excel as Director of Communications for HSRN. He worked tirelessly to keep an HBCU FCS and Division II poll consistently managed for HSRN and his innovation led to a fan poll which has been a signature element on the network’s website since its inception.
The inaugural Conaway Cup recipients have ties to the nation’s oldest HBCU conference. The Division II national champions from Winston Salem State returned to the CIAA in 2011 and were within a game of playing for the NCAA Championship. Led by HSRN Coach Of The Year Connell Maynor, the Rams finished the season with a 13-1 record and a 21-14 loss to Wayne State in the national semifinals.
Norfolk State, a former CIAA member before moving to Division I, won their first MEAC football championship last season. The Spartans finished the season with a 9-3 record and a first round loss to Old Dominion in their first ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
The teams will be honored at halftime of basketball games on campus with a formal presentation to be broadcast live on HSRN.