MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama State head coach Donald Hill-Eley will host the inaugural HBCU Coaches Symposium beginning August 10 at the Houston J. Markham Football Complex, featuring hall of fame coaches from HBCU football past.
“The HBCU Symposium is a situation where we get to bring in some legends from the HBCU ranks,” Eley said. “These are guys that have won HBCU national championships and undefeated seasons. To have all those guys in town at one time around our practice, our program and our city is an honor. I am looking forward to sitting around and talking about who beat who, and get some good ol’ wisdom from the group.”
The group will arrive in Montgomery Friday, August 10 to meet the team before watching practice Saturday, August 11. During that time, fans will have a chance to interact with their favorite coach in attendance, before the group will tour Montgomery and have a “Night of Jazz” at Brins Wings beginning at 7:30 pm.
Among those who will be in attendance will be a pair of former Hornet coaches including Houston Markham and Marion Casem. Markham, whose name is on the building at the football complex posted a 65-50-5 record during his tenure at Alabama State as head coach of the Hornets. He led the Hornets to the Southwestern Athletic Conference title in 1991. Markham’s 1991 team went 11-0-1, finishing the season with a 36-13 win over North Carolina A&T in the Alamo Heritage Bowl and winning the Black College Football National Championship. He is a member of the halls of fame at three SWAC schools (Alcorn, ASU and Jackson). Meanwhile, Casem served as the head coach at Alabama State in 1963-64, followed by a stint at Alcorn State (1966-1986) before retiring to become the athletic director at Southern. He was named the Pittsburgh Courier National Black Coach of the Year seven times, SWAC Coach of the Year seven times, and was named to the SWAC Hall of Fame (1992) and Alcorn State Hall of Fame (1993). He was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Jerome Harper, who served at Fayetteville State as the head coach from 1992-96; meanwhile Pete Richardson embarked into a steadfast 30 plus year coaching career in the late 1970s, starting out in the high school football ranks in Dayton, Ohio, before moving up to Division II (NCAA) football in 1979 as he joined the coaching staff at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1988 Richardson became the head coach of the Winston-Salem State University Rams. He served from 1988 to 1992, where he compiled a win-loss record of 41-14-1, winning three Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) conference championships (1988, 1990, 1991) and led the Rams to two appearances in the Division II football playoffs in 1990 and 1991. During his career, he was named the Black Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year once, was a five-time SWAC Coach of the Year, Atlanta’s 100% Wrong Club’s Coach of the Year five times, Washington D.C.’s Pigskin Club’s Coach of the Year three times, the Kodak Region IV Coach of the Year once and the Sheridan Broadcasting Network’s Coach of the Year twice.
Bill Hayes and Joe Taylor will also be in attendance this weekend in Montgomery. Hayes retired as the athletic director at Winston-Salem State University in 2014. Hayes served as the head football coach at Winston-Salem State from 1976 to 1987 and at North Carolina, A&T State University from 1988 to 2003, compiling a career college football record of 195–104–2. In 27 seasons as a head coach. Taylor, who coached Eley as a quarterback before giving him his first coaching job, had his last coaching job was as the head football coach at Florida A&M University from 2008 to November 2012. Before that, he was the head football coach at Hampton University from 1992 to 2007 where he compiled a 136–49–1 record (.734) and won four black college football national championships (1995, 2004, 2005 and 2006) and eight conference titles. He was also the head coach at Virginia Union University from 1984 to 1991 where he won one conference title on his way to an overall record of 60–19–3 (.750). At his retirement in the 2012 football season, Taylor ranked tied for 33rd in all-time coaching victories and tied for 3rd in all-time wins at HBCU programs, in both cases tied with Ace Mumford.
Waverly Tillar, Willie Jeffries, and Willard Bailey will also join the group this weekend at the Houston Markham Football Complex. Tillar spent 13 seasons at Elizabeth City State, compiling a 69-68 record, finishing in 2015. During his time his team captured a CIAA Eastern Division title, the Vikings also reached the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2006 and 2011 and Tillar was a two-time CIAA Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008 and guided the Vikings to back-to-back CIAA Northern Division crowns in 2011 and 2012. Jeffries served as the head football coach at South Carolina State University for 19 seasons in two stints, five seasons at Wichita State University, and five seasons at Howard University. Jeffries was the first African American head coach of an NCAA Division I-A football program at a predominantly white college when he coached Wichita State. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010. Meanwhile, Bailey was a head football coach for a total of 40 seasons. He served as head coach at Virginia Union University (1971–1983 and 1995–2003), Norfolk State (1984–1992), Saint Paul’s College, Virginia (2005–2010) and Virginia University of Lynchburg (2011–2013). Bailey has compiled a record of 238 wins, 168 losses, and 7 ties. As a coach in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Bailey has won seven conference championships, six with Virginia Union and one with Norfolk State. His Virginia Union Panther football teams made 5 straight appearances in the Division II football playoffs in 1979,1980,1981,1982, and 1983, while his Norfolk State Spartan football team made one appearance in the Division II football playoffs in 1984.
W.C. Gorden served as the head coach at Jackson State University from 1976 to 1991, compiling a record of 119–48–5. Gorden joined the Jackson State football staff as an assistant coach in 1966. He was named interim head coaching during the 1976 season after the firing of Robert Hill. His appointment as head coach was made permanent following the 1976 season. Gorden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2008 and will be one of the coaches in attendance. The final head coach in attendance will be former Alcorn State coach Cordell Jones, who coached both Steve McNair and Donald Driver for the Braves.
The event will move venues each year around HBCU football, next year visiting South Carolina State.