In his 34-year career, Hall of Famer John Chaney amassed 741 career wins and became the only African-American college basketball coach to patrol the sidelines for more than 1,000 games. In 24 years as the head coach at Philadelphia’s Temple University, he took a program that hadn’t played in an NCAA tournament game in nearly 30 years to one that made the Big Dance 17 times, reaching the Elite Eight five times. In 1988, Chaney and his Owls entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in the country.
Jack “Cy” McClairen
Jack “Cy” McClairen carved out a special place in sports history at Bethune-Cookman; he was the first B-CU football player to be drafted into the NFL.
In 1953, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted McClairen. Immediately following a two-year stint in the United States Army, he began playing tight end for the Steelers in 1955, staying with the team until 1960. In 1957, he was named to the Pro Bowl.
Rev. Canon Nelson W. Pinder
Google the name of the Rev. Canon Nelson W. Pinder, and you’ll find that he’s often described as the “street priest” or the “hoodlum’s priest”. You’ll also see other descriptions—like community leader, devoted family man and, most of all, God-fearing servant.
What you’re less likely to see is that Pinder is an unabashed and rabid Bethune-Cookman football fan—and he isn’t afraid to let the world know. “I’m a BC-U alumnus and have been a football booster for many years, so I am a diehard Wildcats fan,” says Pinder, who in 2010 celebrated 50 years as priest at Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando.
Representing: Coppin State
Charlotte Bobcats fans know Michael Jordan—and they very likely know Stephanie Ready. Entering her ninth season with the NBA club, Ready might be as familiar a face at Bobcats games as their Hall of Fame owner, providing in-depth courtside coverage as well as hosting the pre-game show. In addition to her sidelines work and at the desk, Ready supplies feature and human interest pieces on players, coaches and front office personnel for pregame, halftime and postgame shows.
A four-year starter on the women’s basketball team at Coppin State, Ready was a two-sport standout for the Lady Eagles, lettering in basketball and volleyball. By the time she ended her basketball playing career, she was among the school’s all-time top 10 performers in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Representing: Alabama State
A three-time all-conference pick for the SWAC during his college career, Eddie Robinson was a big-time linebacker at Alabama State. After graduating in 1992, he hit the big time in a larger arena, becoming a second-round draft pick of the Houston Oilers. He played 11 years in the NFL, with the Oilers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. Robinson also appeared in Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.
Representing: Howard University
As a wide receiver turned defensive back, Steve Wilson’s collegiate and professional football life has had many twists and turns—similar to the position he’d end up playing in the NFL for a decade.
“Howard University was a big part of my life,” said Wilson, who enrolled at Howard in 1975 as marketing major. “I played my high school football in Durham, North Carolina. I didn’t know about Howard University at the time. They weren’t a football power. When I got there people were talking about the long list of graduates who had done great things in all walks of life. I said, ‘Wow, this is where I’m going?’ ”