Livingstone celebrates past with HOF banquet
By Laurie D. Willis
SALISBURY ó As a triple jumper and long jumper, Yolanda Meade Byrd was a star member of Livingstone Collegeís track and field team in the early í90s ń until a knee injury sidelined her.
And Rufus Mosley Jr. was among the smallest offensive linemen Livingstone Collegeís football squad ever had when he played for the Blue Bears during the early 80s.
But on Thursday night, Byrd, Mosley and 11 other former Livingstone College athletes were inducted into Livingstone College’s 2011 Hall of Fame class during the collegeís 10th Annual Hall of Fame Banquet. The ceremony was held at The Event Center on Webb Road.
Aside from being a milestone year for the Hall of Fame, this yearís induction ceremony featured something new: Inductees were given black blazers with a Columbia Blue and White Hall of Fame seal. The blazers were the idea of Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr., a tradition that will continue.
ěBeing inducted into the athletic hall of fame is a special honor,î Jenkins said before the ceremony. ěProviding our inductees with blazers bearing the Livingstone College seal is just one way to show them how proud we are of them and how much we appreciate the many contributions they have made to Livingstone College.î
Thursdayís inductees bring to 121 the total number of members of The Livingstone College Hall of Fame.
Byrd, who earned a masterís degree in social work mental health from UNC-Chapel Hill in less than a year after graduating from Livingstone and a Ph.D. in human services in September from Capella University, talked fondly about her days at Livingstone College during a video clip shown before her induction.
She spoke about the love former track coach Clifton Huff showed the team members and the way he taught them things they needed to know off and on the field. ěI had no money, knew nothing about college and was a first-generation college student when I got here,î she said. ěI feel like Coach Huff really made a commitment, not as an investment in my ability to run track but as an investment in me to excel academically.î
After she took the podium, Byrd asked Huff to stand.
ěI would like to thank the leadership and the athletic department for bestowing an honor such as this on me,î she began as she took the podium. ěThank you, Coach Huff, for recruiting me and teaching me about life on and off the field.î
Byrd ended her remarks by thanking her children Samaya, 14, and Myles, 10, ěfor making mommy a better person.î
Mosley was named to the All-CIAA Team in 1985. During his videotaped clip he said he was honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
ěI appreciate the Hall of Fame committee electing me,î he said. ěBeing elected into the Hall of Fame is nothing that I strived for, but it was expected with the guys I came to school with, my offensive linemen, and sometimes I feel a little bit guilty because I think we should go in as a unit, but I know itís an individual honor.î
Mosley, who graduated in 1985 with a degree in political science, originally planned to go to South Carolina State University but wound up at Livingstone. For eight consecutive years he was on the Deanís List at Livingstone. His son, Rufus Mosley III, is a senior on the Blue Bears football squad.
ěIíd like to thank my head coach whoís not here tonight and also the class of 1985, a very, very special class at Livingstone College,î Mosley said while accepting his award Thursday. ěCoach Rose brought in about 100 guys in 1981 and we stayed all four years.î
Besides Byrd and Mosley, other 2011 Hall of Fame inductees were: Corey Brooks (meritorious service); Charles Randolph Cox; Jerry Hamilton (honorary inductee); Wanzo F. Hendrix (honorary inductee); Shadrick L. Henry; Quincy Karl Morgan; Davonyalle L. Tedford; Denice Brown Ferguson; April Davis Hamilton; Rakeesha Jones; and Yolanda Morgan.
Ferguson, Hamilton, Jones and Morgan were on the first women’s Livingstone College track and field team to compete for a national championship, finishing eighth in the four by 100 relay in 1998 and fifth in 1999.
Cox, a legendary football coach and youth sports advocate, was awarded posthumously Thursday night. His wife, Jacqueline, accepted his jacket, which was framed.
ěFirst of all, let me say to the committee and to Mr. Smith, who really spearheaded my being here tonight, itís just nice to look out here and have you remember Charlie because he remembered you every year,î she said.
She encouraged those in the audience to remember that ěan HBCU makes a familyî and said her husband, like many African-Americans, was the first in his family to go to college.
ěHe was supposed to go to the coal mines of Virginia, but he found his way out of the mines,î she said. ěYou can adjust to anything. Any part of you, and anything that you do, know that an HBCU is love, and he loved Livingstone College.î
During the two and half hour ceremony, many inductees thanked Blanche Ford, who has worked at Livingstone College for more than three decades and is an administrative assistant in the athletics department.
Henry thanked his parents for supporting him throughout his college career. He shared a humorous yet touching story about calling his mother, Bernetha Henry, after a humiliating 73-0 loss to say he wanted to return home to South Carolina.
ěBoy, let me tell you something. I didnít send you to that school for football. I sent you to get those books. Now get (into) those books,í î Henry recalled his mother saying. ěLivingstone College made me who I am today, and thereís not enough that I can do to say thank you to Livingstone College.î
Quincy Karl Morgan, a 1998 Livingstone graduate, earned numerous awards during his years on the Blue Bears football squad, including CIAA Player of the Week seven times.
ěFirst Iíd like to thank God, because without him none of this would be possible,î he said. ěIíd like to thank Dr. Jenkins and the athletic department and Mrs. Ford.î
Jenkins ended the ceremony by congratulating the inductees and thanking them for “making Livingstone proud.” He was also surprised when Interim Athletic Director Tim Orr surprised he and his wife, Dr. Faleese Moore Jenkins, with blazers like the ones given to the athletes.
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