Livingstone holds pep rally
The atmosphere was electric inside Varick Auditorium Monday morning as students, staff, faculty and administrators held a spirited pep rally to celebrate the history-making success of the Livingstone College men’s basketball team.
The Blue Bears placed second in the CIAA Basketball Tournament last week in Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, finishing the season with an impressive 22-6 mark. Livingstone entered the tournament as CIAA southern division title champs — a first in school history.
The Blue Bears are also hoping for another first — an invitation to play in the NCAA Division II playoffs for a chance to win a national title.
Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. got the party started by dancing on stage to music played by the college’s pep band, known throughout the conference for its mega band sound. After a few moves, Jenkins was joined on stage by Athletic Director Andre Springs and Blue Bears mascot Brutus.
Others stood and danced at their seats as the band performed.
During the pep rally, Jenkins called Head Men’s Basketball Coach James Stinson, Jr. to the stage for a much-deserved standing ovation. Stinson was named CIAA Coach of the Year last week for the second time in three years. Assistant coaches Anthony Holliday, Tony Lee, Buck Joyner and Wayne Brown, team managers and the Blue Bear cheerleaders were also called to the stage.
To introduce the players, Jenkins let Sylvester Kyles Jr. do the honors. Kyles is the announcer for home Blue Bear basketball games.
Jenkins wanted to have a pep rally to show appreciation to the team for a job well done. Although the Blue Bears fell short of capturing the CIAA title, losing to Bowie State 85-74, they still had a banner year. To emphasize that, Jenkins produced a brief PowerPoint presentation demonstrating all of the “firsts” the team accomplished this season.
It began by saying the Blue Bears were predicted to finish fifth out of six teams in the southern division; however, they finished first.
And it went from there.
• First time in history to defeat archrival Johnson C. Smith University on The Golden Bulls’ home turf.
• Ditto for the Virginia Union Panthers.
• First time in history to go 12-4 in the conference.
• First time in 21 years to sweep the Winston-Salem State University Rams.
• First time the southern division title was decided in Trent Gym.
• Three players named to the All CIAA Tournament team — more than any other squad. They are senior forward Ethan Anderson, junior guard Mark Thomas and junior guard Jody Hill.
Blue Bears alumni, students, staff, faculty and administrators are proud of their team. And they’re hoping later this week to get word that Livingstone will be allowed to compete for the Division II national championship.
“Now that would be an accomplishment to end all accomplishments,” Jenkins said.